Bidding continues in the FCC auction for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). After twelve rounds by mid-day Thursday, gross proceeds were $775,285,151.
70 MHz of spectrum is up for grabs in Auction 105. The units are broken into PALs, which are comprised of unpaired 10 MHz blocks. Up to four PAL channels can be combined by potential license holders within any county area at any time. Just over 270 bidders are taking part in this auction, the most yet for an FCC auction. Big players are competing with smaller players who do not always get the opportunity to participate in these events, Inside Towers reported.
“The CBRS auction is not about how much the spectrum is worth,” explained Blair Levin of New Street. “It’s about whether there are new disruptive business models for niche services.”
The CBRS band is split into three tiers of users, with General Authorized Access (GAA) on the bottom rung, PALs in the middle, and federal incumbents at the top. The GAA tier is already in use by Verizon, which has deployed 3.5 GHz on that spectrum. The telecom is among a growing number of companies looking to exploit opportunities on CBRS frequencies.
“The extent to which incumbents can use shared spectrum to reduce their cost structure, cable can use CBRS to provide their own wireless services, and new providers who control specific areas, such as universities and office park owners, can use the spectrum to offer niche services,” noted New Street. While interest in Auction 105 was strong, analysts like New Street predict that the upcoming C-Band auction in December could see interest in the $52 billion range.