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Auction 65

800 MHz Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service

DateAuction 65 began on
 and closed on
Round 144. (See PN DA 06-1197)
Nationwide commercial licenses offered in three alternative band configurations. Licenses in only one of the three band plans will be awarded.
Spectrum (Paired)
See table below.
1-3 MHz per license. See Public Notice DA 06-299 for more information.
Winning Bidders2
Qualified Bidders9
Licenses Won2
Net Bids$38,339,000
Gross Bids$38,339,000

Key Dates

Pre-Auction Seminar
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Window Opens
3/14/2006; 12:00 noon ET
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Deadline
3/24/2006; 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
4/17/2006; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

Spectrum (Paired)

Band PlanLicenseFrequency Band (MHz)
1A849.0-850.5 / 894.0-895.5
849.0-850.5 / 894.0-895.5
After Clearing:
849.5-851.0 / 894.5-896.0
2C849.0-850.5 / 894.0-895.5
D850.5-851.0 / 895.5-896.0
3E849.0-849.5 / 894.0-894.5
F849.5-851.0 / 894.5-896.0

Permissible Operations

A new licensee may provide any type of air-ground service (i.e., voice telephony, broadband Internet, data, etc.) to aircraft of any type, and serve any or all aviation markets (commercial, government, and general). A licensee must provide service to aircraft. A new licensee may not provide ancillary land mobile or fixed services in the 800 MHz air-ground spectrum.

Eligibility Restriction

In order to promote competition in the 800 MHz air-ground band, the Commission has prohibited any party from obtaining a controlling interest, either at auction or by a post-auction transaction, in new licenses for more than three megahertz of spectrum (either shared or exclusive) in the band. No single party, therefore, may win in auction more than one license in any of the available band configurations.

License Period and Construction Requirements

Bidding Credits

Bidding credits were available to small businesses and very small businesses and consortia thereof (as defined in 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2110(c)(6)). A bidding credit represents the amount by which a bidder’s winning bid is 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; a qualifying applicant receives the 15 percent or 25 percent bidding credit on its winning bid, but not both.

Spectrum Sharing Plan

If Band Plan 1, which is comprised of two overlapping 3 MHz licenses, is implemented, the new licensees will be required to jointly file a spectrum sharing and site selection plan with the Bureau within six months of the initial grant of their spectrum licenses, and they will be required to notify the Bureau of any changes to the plan. The Bureau will issue a public notice prior to the commencement of Auction No. 65 in which it will specify the filing requirements for such a plan. This approach will provide parties with overlapping spectrum licenses flexibility to configure their systems without having to adhere to minimum spacing requirements or site locations predetermined by the Commission.

International Coordination

To promote interoperable communications and to manage interference, some of the ground station locations in North America and channel block assignments of the 800 MHz air-ground band have been predetermined consistent with bilateral agreements with Mexico and with Canada. These agreements, which provide for coordinated use of the 800 MHz air-ground frequencies over North American airspace, are based on a narrow bandwidth channel scheme, and therefore may need to be renegotiated to provide for more flexible use of this spectrum based on the band plan configuration that is implemented as a result of the auction.

Incumbent Licensee

In the Air-Ground Order, the Commission granted Verizon Airfone -- the only incumbent service provider in the 800 MHz air-ground band — a nonrenewable license to operate in the band for five years. This license will expire in May 2010. Verizon Airfone must transition its incumbent narrowband operations from four to one megahertz of spectrum in the band within two years of the initial grant date of a new license in the band. The Commission has directed the Bureau to adopt reporting requirements so that Airfone’s transition of its base stations and its subscribers’ aircraft to operations in one megahertz of the 800 MHz air-ground band may be monitored. Accordingly, the Bureau issued a public notice enumerating such requirements on February 6, 2006. Airfone must file its initial transition status report with the Commission six months from the date of the grant of any new license in the band and at each of the three six-month intervals thereafter. For more details, see Public Notice DA 06-294 released February 6, 2006.

Licensing Rules

47 C.F.R. Part 22, Subpart G.

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