After more than five weeks, the FCC’s wireless spectrum auction is winding down: During bidding round 140 this morning, companies bid on just 17 of 1,089 licenses — mostly small pieces across the country, and one bigger piece covering Phoenix. The auction could wrap up this week. Friday, the FCC sped up bidding to eight rounds per day.
Most important: The auction has, by most accounts, been a success. It’s raised more than $19.5 billion for the government, and the largest swath of airspace — the “C-block,” will have to support any compatible device and software app — a modest win for consumers.
The two big questions: Who won the big pieces of spectrum that make up the C-block — Google (GOOG), a wireless giant like Verizon (VZ) or AT&T (T), or multiple bidders? RCR Wireless News says it could take the FCC 10 days after the auction ends to announce the winners.
And what will the FCC do with the “D-block” — a chunk of spectrum whose winner would have to build out a complex network to share with emergency personnel — which hasn’t seen a bid since the first round.