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Auction 48

Lower and Upper Paging Bands

DateAuction 48 began on
 and closed on
Round 56. (See PN DA 03-1836)
Licenses8,874 lower bands paging licenses that were unsold from a previous auction or were defaulted on by a winning bidder in a previous auction will be offered in each of the 175 Economic Areas (EAs).
1,328 upper bands paging licenses that were unsold from a previous auction or were defaulted on by a winning bidder in a previous auction will be offered in all but three of the 51 Major Economic Areas (MEAs).
Spectrum10,202 total licenses
35 MHz Lower Band (unpaired): 2,093 licenses
43 MHz Lower Band (unpaired): 2,767 licenses
152 and 158 MHz Lower Bands (unpaired): 363 licenses
152 and 158 MHz Lower Bands (paired): 1,712 licenses
454 and 459 MHz Lower Bands (paired): 1,939 licenses
929 MHz Upper Band: 283 licenses
931 MHz Upper Band: 1,045 licenses
Bandwidth35 MHz licenses: 20 kHz per license
43 MHz licenses: 20 kHz per license
152 and 158 MHz unpaired licenses: 20 kHz per license
152 and 158 MHz paired licenses: 40 kHz per license*
454 and 459 MHz licenses: 40 kHz per license*
929 MHz licenses: 20 kHz per license
931 MHz licenses: 20 kHz per license
* These licenses are paired channels of 20 kHz each.
Winning Bidders96 bidders won 2832 licenses
Bidding Days11
Qualified Bidders104
Licenses Won2832
Net Revenues
Net Bids$2,445,608.00
Gross Bids$3,200,110.00
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
3/21/2003; 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
4/14/2003; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

Auction No. 48 offered 8,874 lower band licenses (35 MHz, 43 MHz, 152 and 158 MHz, and 454 and 459 MHz) licenses, as well as 1,328 upper bands (929 MHz, 931 MHz) licenses that remained unsold from a previous auction or were defaulted on by a winning bidder in a previous auction. The lower bands licenses were offered in each of the 175 geographic areas known as Economic Areas (EAs) and the upper band licenses were offered in all but three of the 51 geographic areas known as Major Economic Areas (MEAs).

Permissible Operations

The frequency bands are allocated for paging services. Licensees may use the spectrum to provide: (1) one-way messaging; (2) two-way messaging; and (3) fixed wireless services. Provision of these services is subject to the technical limitations set forth for the service in Part 22 (Part 90 for 929 MHz exclusive channels).
Paging systems are traditionally one-way signaling systems. Paging services, grouped by output, include; tone, tone/voice, numeric, and alphanumeric. Present systems are of two basic types; a wide-area general-use type providing subscription service to the public, and, an in-building, private, paging system, limited to a commercial building or the general area of a manufacturing plant. Currently, neither of these paging systems can initiate an answer without calling through a landline telephone. However, in 1996, the Commission adopted the First Report and Order in the flexible spectrum use proceeding, in which several CMRS bands were allocated to the fixed service on a co-primary basis. (Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Permit Flexible Service Offerings in the Commercial Mobile Radio Services, WT Docket No. 96-6, First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 11 FCC Rcd 8965 (1996).) The Commission concluded that the public interest would be served by giving CMRS licensees, including paging licensees, maximum flexibility to offer all types of fixed, mobile, and hybrid services.

License Period and Construction Requirements

CMRS licenses are issued for a ten-year term from the initial license grant date. A licensee of a geographic area would be required to provide coverage to one-third of the population in its area within three years of the license grant, and to two-thirds of the population within its area within five years of the license grant. In the alternative, the licensee may provide substantial service to the geographic license area within five years of license grant. See CMRS Third Report and Order.(Implementation of Sections 3(n) and 332 of the Communications Act, Regulatory Treatment of Mobile Services, Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate Future Development of SMR Systems in the 800 MHz Frequency Band, Amendment of Parts 2 and 90 of the Commission's Rules to Provide for the Use of 200 Channels Outside the Designated Filing Areas in the 896-901 MHz and 935-940 MHz Band Allotted to the Specialized Mobile Radio Pool, GN Docket No. 93-252, PR Docket No. 93-144, PR Docket No. 89-553, Third Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 7988, 8157, n.712 (1994).).

Bidding Credits

Bidding credits are available to small businesses or consortia thereof, (as defined in 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(c) and 22.217(a)). 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 annual gross revenues for the preceding three years of the bidder, its affiliates, its controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests Bidding credits are not cumulative; qualifying applicants receive either the 25 percent or the 35 percent bidding credit, but not both.

Tribal Land Credits

A winning bidder that intends to use its license(s) to deploy facilities and provide services to federally-recognized tribal lands that are unserved by any telecommunications carrier or that have a telephone service penetration rate equal to or below 70 percent is eligible to receive a tribal land bidding credit as set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 1.2107 and 1.2110(f). A tribal land bidding credit is in addition to, and separate from, any other bidding credit for which a winning bidder may qualify.
Unlike other bidding credits that are requested prior to the auction, a winning bidder applies for the tribal land bidding credit after winning the auction when it files its long-form application (FCC Form 601). In order for a winning bidder to be awarded a tribal land bidding credit, it must provide specific certifications regarding the servicing of tribal lands and is subject to specific performance criteria as set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(f).
Additional information on the tribal land bidding credit, including how the amount of the credit is calculated, can be found on the Commission's web site by going to Tribal Land Bidding Credits.


Incumbent (non-geographic) paging licensees operating under their existing authorizations are entitled to full protection from co-channel interference. Geographic area licensees are likewise afforded co-channel interference protection from incumbent licensees. Adjacent geographic area licensees are obligated to resolve possible interference concerns of adjacent geographic area licensees by negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement with the neighboring geographic licensee.

Licensing Rules

  1. Upper Bands licensed by Major Economic Areas (MEAs)
  2. Lower Bands licensed by Economic Areas (EAs)
  3. Lower paging licensees must obtain Canadian authorization to operate stations north of Line A or east of Line C
  4. No spectrum or channel aggregation cap
  5. Partitioning and/or disaggregation permitted

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