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Auction 16

800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service (SMR)

DateAuction 16 began on
 and closed on
Round 235 (See PN DA 97-2583)
Licenses525 licenses. 3 licenses in each of 175 Economic Areas (EAs)
SpectrumBlock A: 401-420 Channel Numbers 861.0-861.5 MHz paired with 816.0-816.5 MHz
Block B: 421-480 Channel Numbers 861.5-863.0 MHz paired with 816.5-818.0 MHz
Block C: 481-600 Channel Numbers 863.0-866.0 MHz paired with 818.0-821.0 MHz
BandwidthBlock A - 1.0 MHz in 175 EAs
Block B - 3.0 MHz in 175 EAs
Block C - 6.0 MHz in 175 EAs
Winning Bidders14 bidders won 524 licenses
Bidding Days27
Qualified Bidders62
Licenses Won524
Licenses Held By FCC1
Net Revenues
Net Bids$96,232,060.00
Gross Bids$98,609,975.00
General information and associated licensing parameters are provided below. Public Notices provide specific information regarding this auction. This fact sheet includes:

Key Dates

Pre-Auction Seminar
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Deadline
9/29/1997; 5:30 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
10/14/1997; 6:00 pm ET
Orders for Remote Bidding Software
10/15/1997; 5:30 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

A total of 525 licenses in the upper 200 channels of the 800 MHz SMR service were offered in this auction. Three licenses (Frequency Blocks "A" with a bandwidth of 1 MHz, "B" with a bandwidth of 3 MHz, and "C" with a bandwidth of 6 MHz), in each of the 175 Economic Areas (EA’s). The 800 MHz SMR systems operate on two 25 kHz channels paired. Due to the different sizes of the channel bandwidths allocated for 800 MHz and 900 MHz systems, the radio equipment used for 800 MHz SMRs is not compatible with the equipment used for 900 MHz SMRs

Permissible Operations

The Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service was first established by the Commission in 1979 to provide land mobile communications on a commercial (i.e., for profit) basis. A traditional SMR system consists of one or more base station transmitters, one or more antennas, and end user radio equipment that usually consists of a mobile radio unit either provided by the end user or obtained from the SMR operator for a fee. SMR end users may operate in either an "interconnected" mode or a "dispatch" mode. Interconnected mode interconnects mobile radio units with the public switched telephone network (PSTN). An end user may thus transmit a message with its mobile radio unit to the SMR base station. The call will then be routed to the local PSTN. This allows the mobile radio unit to function as a mobile telephone. Dispatch mode allows two-way, over the air, voice communications between two or more mobile units (e.g., between a car and a truck) or between mobile units and fixed units (e.g., between the end user's office and a truck). Typical SMR customers using dispatch communications include construction companies with several trucks at different jobs or on the road, with a dispatch operation in a central office.
SMR systems consist of two distinct types: conventional and trunked systems. A conventional system allows an end user the use of only one channel. If someone else is already using that end user's assigned channel, the end user must wait until the channel is available. In contrast, a trunked system combines channels and contains microprocessing capabilities that automatically search for an open channel. This search capability allows more users to be served at any one time. A majority of the current SMR systems are trunked systems.
Although SMRs are primarily used for voice communications, systems are also being developed for data and facsimile services. Additionally, the development of a digital, rather than analog, SMR marketplace is allowing new acknowledgment paging and inventory tracking, credit card authorization, automatic vehicle location, fleet management, inventory tracking, remote database access, and voicemail. The growth of SMRs has been significant due to these new developments. For example, at the end of 1994, approximately 1.8 million vehicles and portable units were served by SMR systems.

License Period and Construction Requirements

Licenses are issued for a term not to exceed ten years. Additionally, licensees generally are afforded a renewal expectancy only for those stations put into service after August 10, 1996.
The build-out requirements are as follows:

Bidding Credits

A bidding credit acts as a discount on the winning bid amount that a bidder actually has to pay for the license. The size of the bidding credit depends on the annual gross revenues of the bidder and its affiliates, as averaged over the preceding three years as defined in 47 C.F.R. § Section 27.210: These bidding credits are not cumulative.


EA licensees must provide protection to incumbents by locating stations at least 70 miles (113 km) from incumbent's facilities or by complying with the short-spacing rule. See 47 C.F.R. 90.621. Incumbents may modify or add sites so long as they do not exceed existing 22 dBu signal strength contour. See 47 C.F.R. 90.693. Incumbent 800 SMR systems are entitled to co-channel protection by EA licensees, as well as adjacent channel interference protection. Incumbent systems, however, are not allowed to expand beyond existing service areas unless they obtain the EA license for the relevant channels.

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