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Auction 38

Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands

DateAuction 38 began on
 and closed on
Round 38. (See PN DA 01-478)
8 Major Economic Area licenses
Refer to the Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands Major Economic Areas (MEA) Map (pdf)
Block A: 746-747/776-777 MHz bands
Block B: 762-764/792-794 MHz bands
Block A: 2 MHz (paired 1 MHz blocks)
Block B: 4 MHz (paired 2 MHz blocks)
See also Upper 700 MHz Band Plans (pdf)
Winning Bidders3 bidders won 8 licenses
Bidding Days6
Qualified Bidders5
Licenses Won8
Net Revenues
Net Bids$20,961,500.00
Gross Bids$24,052,000.00
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
1/12/2001; 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
1/26/2001; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

Only Guard Band Managers were permitted to participate in this auction. The Guard Band Manager is a new class of commercial licensee engaged solely in the business of leasing spectrum to third parties on a for-profit basis. The Guard Band Manager may subdivide its spectrum in any manner it chooses and make it available to system operators, or directly to end users for fixed or mobile communications. The Guard Band Manager is required to adhere to strict frequency coordination and interference rules, and control use of the spectrum so as to facilitate protection for public safety.
A total of 8 unsold licenses from Auction #33 were offered in the following Major Economic Areas (MEAs):
Market No.Market NameBlockBandwidth
MEA012Pittsburgh, PAA2 MHz
MEA014Columbus, OHB4 MHz
MEA028Little Rock, ARB4 MHz
MEA034 Omaha, NEB4 MHz
MEA037 Oklahoma City, OKB4 MHz
MEA048 Hawaii B 4 MHz
MEA049 Guam and the Northern Mariana IslandsB4 MHz
MEA051American SamoaB4 MHz
One MEA license consisted of 2 megahertz (1 MHz paired blocks) and seven MEA licenses consisted of 4 megahertz (2 MHz paired blocks).

Permissible Operations

By Congressional direction, the Commission reallocated thirty-six megahertz of spectrum for commercial use including fixed, mobile, and broadcasting services. Six of the thirty- six megahertz were identified as Guard Bands to provide protection to public safety users. Guard band equipment must meet ACCP OOBE criteria and guard band users must comply with frequency coordination procedures. Entities that employ cellular system architecture are prohibited from operating in this bands.

License Period

In light of continued use of this spectrum by broadcasters until 2006 or later, licenses are issued for a total of approximately 14 years. The expiration date is eight years beyond the initial deadline for incumbent broadcasters to relocate to other portions of the spectrum; that is, until 1/1/15. However, if a licensee commences new broadcast-type operations on or before 1/1/06, the licensee is required to seek renewal of its license at the end of the eight-year term following commencement of such broadcast operations. All licensees meeting the substantial service requirement (see First Report and Order, WT99-168, ¶70, released 1/7/2000) will be deemed to have met renewal expectancy regardless of which construction option the licensee chose..

Performance Requirements

Under the amended performance requirement, a licensee must provide "substantial service" to its service area no later than January 1, 2015 (See 27.14(a) of the Commission's Rules). A Guard Band Manager may satisfy the substantial service requirement by leasing the predominant amount of its licensed spectrum in at least 50 percent of the geographic area covered by its license or by providing coverage to 50 percent of the population of its service area at the license-renewal mark.
Guard Band Managers are also required to file an annual report providing the Commission with basic information such as the total number of users, the number of users that are affiliates, amount of spectrum being used by each, nature of use, term of user agreements, etc. Guard Band Managers must file these reports on-line at Manager Reports.

Bidding Credits

Bidding credits are available to small and very small businesses (or consortia of small or very small businesses) as set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 27.502. A bidding credit represents the amount by which a bidder's winning bids are discounted. The size of the bidding credit depends on the average gross revenues for the preceding three years of the bidder and its controlling interests and affiliates: Bidding credits are not cumulative. A qualifying applicant receives either the 15 percent or 25 percent bidding credit, but not both.

Tribal Land Bidding Credit

To encourage the growth of wireless services in federally recognized tribal lands the Commission has implemented a tribal land bidding credit.
For additional information on the tribal land bidding credit, including how to determine the amount of credit available, see Public Notice DA 00-2219, released September 28, 2000, entitled Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Announces Availability of Bidding Credits For Providing Wireless Services To Qualifying Tribal Lands.


The 700 MHz spectrum is presently encumbered by approximately 100 existing television stations, and it may remain so, to some extent, until 2006 or later. No part of the country is totally unencumbered in this band, and in some metropolitan areas, very little of this band is presently available. New geographic area licensees operating on this spectrum must comply with the co-channel and adjacent channel protection provisions of Section 90.545 of the Commission's Rules. See 47 C.F.R. § 90.545.

Licensing Rules

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