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Auction 78

AWS-1 and Broadband PCS

DateAuction 78 began on
 and closed on
(See Auction 78 Procedures Public Notice DA 08-1090)
35 AWS-1 Licenses:
Block A: 22 Cellular Market Area (CMA) licenses
Block B: 4 Economic Area (EA) licenses
Block C: 3 EA licenses
Block D: 2 Regional Economic Area Grouping (REAG) licenses
Block E: 1 REAG license
Block F: 3 REAG licenses
20 Broadband PCS Licenses:
Block C1: 5 Basic Trading Area (BTA) licenses
Block C3: 2 BTA licenses
Block C4: 3 BTA licenses
Block C5: 2 BTA licenses
Block D: 1 BTA license
Block E: 4 BTA licenses (including 2 partial BTAs)
Block F: 3 BTA licenses
55 licenses total
Frequency Bands (and Bandwidth)
AWS-1 Licenses:
Block A: 1710-1720 / 2110-2120 MHz (20 MHz)
Block B: 1720-1730 / 2120-2130 MHz (20 MHz)
Block C: 1730-1735 / 2130-2135 MHz (10 MHz)
Block D: 1735-1740 / 2135-2140 MHz (10 MHz)
Block E: 1740-1745 / 2140-2145 MHz (10 MHz)
Block F: 1745-1755 / 2145-2155 MHz (20 MHz)
Broadband PCS Licenses:
Block C1: 1902.5-1910 / 1982.5-1990 MHz (15 MHz)
Block C3: 1895-1900 / 1975-1980 MHz (10 MHz)
Block C4: 1900-1905 / 1980-1985 MHz (10 MHz)
Block C5: 1905-1910 / 1985-1990 MHz (10 MHz)
Block D: 1865-1870 / 1945-1950 MHz (10 MHz)
Block E: 1885-1890 / 1965-1970 MHz (10 MHz or less)
Block F: 1890-1895 / 1970-1975 MHz (10 MHz)
Winning Bidders16
Qualified Bidders23
Licenses Won53
Licenses Held By FCC2
Net Bids$21,276,850
Gross Bids$23,565,000
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 Window Opens
6/10/2008; 12:00 noon ET
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Deadline
6/19/2008; prior to 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
7/17/2008; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

The spectrum associated with the licenses to be auctioned has been either previously licensed and returned to the Commission as a result of license cancellation or termination or offered previously in other auctions but remained unsold. The tables and information provided in this section provide a general description of the licenses available in this auction. For a complete list and description of the licenses available in Auction 78, see Attachments A and B of the Auction 78 Procedures Public Notice (DA 08-1090), released May 16, 2008.
AWS-1 Licenses: A total of 35 licenses will be offered in the Advanced Wireless Services 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands (AWS-1). These licenses consist of six Regional Economic Area Grouping (REAG) licenses, seven Economic Area (EA) licenses, and 22 Cellular Market Area (CMA) licenses, as shown in the table below. These are licenses for which there were no winning bids in Auction 66.

Block Frequencies (MHz) Bandwidth Geographic Area Type No. of Licenses
A1710-1720 / 2110-212020 MHzCMA22
B1720-1730 / 2120-213020 MHzEA4
C1730-1735 / 2130-213510 MHzEA3
D1735-1740 / 2135-214010 MHzREAG2
E1740-1745 / 2140-214510 MHzREAG1
F1745-1755 / 2145-215520 MHzREAG3

Broadband PCS Licenses: A total of 20 broadband PCS licenses will be offered in the C, D, E and F frequency blocks in full or partial BTA markets. Because of the history of licenses for broadband PCS spectrum, some licenses available in Auction 78 cover less bandwidth and fewer frequencies than noted in the table below. In some cases, licenses are available for only part of a market. Attachments A and B of the Auction 78 Procedures Public Notice (DA 08-1090), released May 16, 2008, provide more details about the broadband PCS licenses that will be offered in this auction. In addition, certain C block licenses are subject to an eligibility restriction making them available only to “entrepreneurs” in “closed” bidding. See section on “Eligibility for Closed Bidding” below.

Block Eligibility Status Frequency Bands (MHz) Bandwidth Geographic Area Type No. of Licenses
C1 Open 1902.5-1910 / 1982.5-1990 15 MHz BTA1
C1Closed1902.5-1910 / 1982.5-199015 MHz BTA 4
C3Closed1895-1900 / 1975-1980 10 MHz BTA 2
C4Closed 1900-1905 / 1980-198510 MHz BTA 3
C5Open 1905-1910 / 1985-199010 MHz BTA 2
D n/a 1865-1870 / 1945-195010 MHz BTA 1
En/a1885-1890 / 1965-1970 10 MHz (or less) BTA4
F Open 1890-1895 / 1970-1975 10 MHz BTA 3

Five of the broadband PCS licenses available in Auction 78 are for spectrum that became available when previous licenses for that spectrum automatically terminated for failure to meet the construction requirements. These licenses – which includes the four C1 block licenses that are available in closed bidding and the E block license within BTA460 – cannot be acquired by the former licensee. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.203.

Permissible Operations

AWS-1 Licenses: Advanced Wireless Services (“AWS”) is the collective term used for new and innovative fixed and mobile terrestrial wireless applications using bandwidth that is sufficient for the provision of a variety of applications including those using voice and data (such as internet browsing, message services, and full-motion video) content. Licensees may use the AWS-1 spectrum for any use permitted by the United States Table of Frequency Allocations contained in Part 2 of the Commission’s rules (i.e., fixed or mobile services). See 47 C.F.R. § 27.2.
Broadband PCS Licenses: Broadband PCS licensees may provide any mobile communications service on their assigned spectrum, consistent with technical requirements set forth in the Commission’s rules. For example, broadband PCS spectrum may be used for a variety of mobile and/or portable radio services, using such devices as small, lightweight, multifunction portable phones, portable fax machines, and advanced devices with two-way data capabilities. Fixed services may be provided on a co-primary basis with mobile operations. Broadcasting as defined in the Communications Act is prohibited. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.3..

License Period and Construction Requirements

AWS-1 Licenses: Authorizations issued on or before December 31, 2009, shall have a term of fifteen years from the date of initial issuance; licenses issued after December 31, 2009, will have a term of ten years from the date of initial issuance or renewal. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.13(g).
AWS licensees must make a showing of “substantial service” in their license areas within the prescribed license term. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(a). “Substantial” service is defined as service that is sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of mediocre service which just might minimally warrant renewal. Any licensee that fails to meet this requirement will forfeit its license and the licensee will be ineligible to regain it.
Broadband PCS Licenses: Licenses will be issued for a ten-year term from the initial license grant date. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.15. Licensees have a renewal expectancy based on the provision of substantial service and substantial compliance with applicable Commission rules, policies, and the Communications Act. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.16.
Broadband PCS licensees must serve at least one-quarter of the population in their licensed area or make a showing of “substantial service” in their licensed area within five years of the original license date. These construction requirements refer to licenses consisting of 10 MHz and 15 MHz blocks. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.203.

Eligibility for Closed Bidding

Certain broadband PCS C block licenses will only be available to “entrepreneurs” in “closed” bidding. In determining if an entity qualifies as an “entrepreneur,” the Commission considers both the total assets and gross revenues of the applicant, its affiliates, its controlling interests, the affiliates of its controlling interests, and the entities with which it has an attributable material relationship. The applicant and its attributable interests must have combined total assets of less than $500 million and must have had combined gross revenues of less than $125 million in each of the last two years. See 47 C.F.R. § 24.709(a).

Small Business Bidding Credits

Qualifying applicants in Auction 78 are eligible for a small or very small business bidding credit for all 35 AWS-1 licenses and six broadband PCS licenses – the three C block licenses available in open bidding and the three F block licenses. 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 applicant, its affiliates, its controlling interests, the affiliates of its controlling interest, and any entities with which the applicant has an attributable material interest, as defined by the Commission’s rules:
See 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(f)(2). Bidding credits are not cumulative. Qualifying applicants receive either the 15 percent or the 25 percent bidding credit on their winning bids, but not both.
As noted above, bidding credits for applicants that qualify as small or very small businesses will be available for all AWS-1 licenses, the broadband PCS C block licenses that are available in open bidding, and all broadband PCS F block licenses. Bidding credits are not available for broadband C block licenses subject to closed bidding or for broadband PCS D and E block licenses. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 24.712, 24.717.

Tribal Land Bidding Credit

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 wireline penetration rate equal to or below 85 percent may be eligible to receive a tribal land bidding credit. A tribal land bidding credit is in addition to, and separate from, any other bidding credit for which a winning bidder may qualify. A winning bidder need not qualify for a small business bidding credit to be eligible for a tribal land bidding credit. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2107 and 1.2110(f).


AWS-1 Licenses: The AWS-1 bands are now being used for a variety of government and non-government services. The 1710-1755 MHz band is currently a government band, which is in the process of transitioning to a commercial band. The incumbents in the 2110-2150 MHz band are private services (including state and local governmental public safety services) and common carrier fixed microwave services. The 2150-2155 MHz band contains incumbents in the Broadband Radio Service. The Auction 78 Procedures Public Notice and the Auction 66 Procedures Public Notice (the last auction of AWS-1 licenses) provide more details concerning incumbency issues for the AWS-1 bands.
Broadband PCS Licenses: While most of the private and common carrier fixed microwave services (“FMS”) formerly operating in the 1850-1990 MHz band (and other bands) have been relocated to available frequencies in higher bands or to other media, some FMS licensees may still be operating in the band. Any remaining FMS entities operating in the 1850-1990 MHz band, however, are secondary to PCS operations. FMS licensees, absent an agreement with the applicable PCS entities or an extension pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 101.79(b), must turn in their authorizations six months following written notice from a PCS entity that such entity intends to turn on a system within the interference range of the incumbent FMS licensee. Further, broadband PCS licensees are no longer responsible for costs associated with relocating an incumbent FMS operation.

Licensing Rules

AWS-1 Licenses: 47 C.F.R. Parts 1, 27, and 101
Broadband PCS Licenses: 47 C.F.R. Parts 1 and 24

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