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FCC Spectrum Auction Data

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Introduction

The FCC used comparative hearings to allocate spectrum licenses prior to 1982 and used lotteries starting in 1982. The Commission was given auction authority in 1993 and held its first auction in 1994. Comparative hearings allowed regulators to decide which applicant would put the spectrum to its best use. Unfortunately, as described by Milgrom in his 2004 book, Putting Auction Theory to Work(p.3), "The process was hardly objective: it involved lawyers and lobbyists arguing that their plans and clients were most deserving of a valuable but free government license." Lotteries sped up the process, but introduced their own problems. Milgrom (2004, p.3) states: "Lottery winners were free to resell their licenses, encouraging thousands of new applicants to apply for licenses and randomly rewarding many with prizes worth many millions of dollars. Lottery winners were often simple speculators .... Economic resources were wasted on a grand scale, both in processing hundreds of thousands of applications and in the consequent need for real wireless operators to negotiate and buy licenses from these speculators. The lotteries of small licenses contributed to the geographic fragmentation of the cellular industry, delaying the introduction of nationwide mobile telephone services in the United States." Auctions were identified as the mechanism best able to assign the licenses to the highest valuing users and to return a part of the value to the taxpayer. The basic simultaneous multiple round auction format that was adopted in 1994 remains the mainstay of FCC auctions today, although it has evolved over time.

Auction Data

FCC auctions are administered by the Auctions Division of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and all data is publicly available at http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/, but has been organized here to provide consistency across auctions and improve accessibility. All Excel files are in Excel 2007 (xlsx) format and all Access files are in Access 2007 (accdb) format. Click here to download the compatibility pack to allow Office 2003 users to view and use Excel 2007 files.

Related Information

FCC Auction Designs

Simultaneous Multiple-Round (SMR) Auctions

In a simultaneous multiple-round (SMR) auction, all licenses are available for bidding throughout the entire auction, thus the term "simultaneous." Unlike most auctions in which bidding is continuous, SMR auctions have discrete, successive rounds, with the length of each round announced in advance. After each round closes, round results are processed and made public. Only then do bidders learn about the bids placed by other bidders. The period between auction rounds also allows bidders to take stock of, and perhaps adjust, their bidding strategies. In an SMR auction, there is no preset number of rounds. Bidding continues, round after round, until a round occurs in which all bidder activity ceases. That round becomes the closing round of the auction.

Package Bidding

The Commission's SMR auction design can be modified to allow combinatorial or "package" bidding. With package bidding, bidders may place bids on groups of licenses as well as on individual licenses. This approach allows bidders to better express the value of any synergies (benefits from combining complementary items) that may exist among licenses and to avoid the risk of winning only part of a desired set.

Annotated Bibliography of
FCC Auction Related
Economics Papers
 (pdf)

Auction Data Key (pdf)

FCC_Auction01

Nationwide Narrowband (PCS)| 7/25/1994 - 7/29/1994 | 6 bidders won 10 licenses| Gross bids: $650,306,674|
FCC_Auction01-Data
FCC_Auction01-Access
FCC_Auction01-Excel

FCC_Auction02

Interactive Video and Data Services (IVDS) | 7/28/1994 - 7/29/1994 | 178 bidders won 594 licenses | Gross bids: $248,743,000 |
FCC_Auction02-Excel
FCC_Auction02-Access
FCC_Auction02-Data

FCC_Auction03

Regional Narrowband (PCS) | 10/26/1994 - 11/8/1994 | 9 bidders won 30 licenses| Gross bids: $488,772,800|
FCC_Auction03-Access
FCC_Auction03-Excel
FCC_Auction03-Data

FCC_Auction04

Broadband PCS A and B Block | 12/5/1994 - 3/13/1995 | 18 bidders won 99 licenses| Gross bids: $7,019,403,797|
FCC_Auction04-Data
FCC_Auction04-Excel
FCC_Auction04-Access

FCC_Auction05

Broadband PCS C Block | 12/18/1995 - 5/6/1996 | 89 bidders won 493 licenses| Gross bids: $13,428,945,122|
FCC_Auction05-Data
FCC_Auction05-Excel
FCC_Auction05-Access

FCC_Auction06

Multipoint/Multichannel Distribution Services | 11/13/1995 - 3/28/1996 | 67 bidders won 493 licenses| Gross bids: $239,729,992|
FCC_Auction06-Access
FCC_Auction06-Excel
FCC_Auction06-Data

FCC_Auction07

900 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service | 12/5/1995 - 4/15/1996 | 80 bidders won 1020 licenses| Gross bids: $212,215,788|
FCC_Auction07-Excel
FCC_Auction07-Access
FCC_Auction07-Data

FCC_Auction08

Direct Broadcast Satellite 110 Degrees (DBS) | 1/24/1996 - 1/25/1996 | 1 bidder won 1 license| Gross bids: $682,500,000|
FCC_Auction08-Access
FCC_Auction08-Excel
FCC_Auction08-Data

FCC_Auction09

Direct Broadcast Satellite 148 Degrees (DBS) | 1/25/1996 - 1/26/1996 | 1 bidder won 1 license| Gross bids: $52,295,000|
FCC_Auction09-Excel
FCC_Auction09-Access
FCC_Auction09-Data

FCC_Auction10

Broadband PCS C Block Reauction | 7/3/1996 - 7/16/1996 | 7 bidders won 18 licenses| Gross bids: $697,213,950|
FCC_Auction10-Data
FCC_Auction10-Excel
FCC_Auction10-Access

FCC_Auction11

Broadband PCS D, E, & F Block | 8/26/1996 - 1/14/1997 | 125 bidders won 1472 licenses| Gross bids: $2,715,885,604|
FCC_Auction11-Data
FCC_Auction11-Excel
FCC_Auction11-Access

FCC_Auction12

Cellular Unserved | 1/13/1997 - 1/21/1997 | 10 bidders won 14 licenses| Gross bids: $1,842,533|
FCC_Auction12-Excel
FCC_Auction12-Data
FCC_Auction12-Access

FCC_Auction14

Wireless Communications Service (WCS) | 4/15/1997 - 4/25/1997 | 17 bidders won 126 licenses| Gross bids: $14,892,613|
FCC_Auction14-Access
FCC_Auction14-Data
FCC_Auction14-Excel

FCC_Auction15

Digital Audio Radio Service | 4/1/1997 - 4/2/1997 | 2 bidders won 2 licenses| Gross bids: $173,234,888|
FCC_Auction15-Data
FCC_Auction15-Excel
FCC_Auction15-Access

FCC_Auction16

800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service (SMR) | 10/28/1997 - 12/8/1997 | 14 bidders won 5243 licenses| Gross bids: $98,609,975|
FCC_Auction16-Data
FCC_Auction16-Access
FCC_Auction16-Excel

FCC_Auction17

Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS) | 2/18/1998 - 3/25/1998 | 104 bidders won 864 licenses| Gross bids: $834,177,095|
FCC_Auction17-Access
FCC_Auction17-Data
FCC_Auction17-Excel

FCC_Auction18

220 MHz | 9/15/1998 - 10/22/1998 | 44 bidders won 693 licenses| Gross bids: $26,119,598|
FCC_Auction18-Access
FCC_Auction18-Excel
FCC_Auction18-Data

FCC_Auction21

Location and Monitoring Services (LMS) | 2/23/1999 - 3/5/1999 | 4 bidders won 289 licenses| Gross bids: $5,289,677|
FCC_Auction21-Data
FCC_Auction21-Access
FCC_Auction21-Excel

FCC_Auction22

C, D, E, and F Block Broadband PCS | 3/23/1999 - 4/15/1999 | 57 bidders won 302 licenses| Gross bids: $532,970,215|
FCC_Auction22-Access
FCC_Auction22-Excel
FCC_Auction22-Data

FCC_Auction23

Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS) Re-Auction | 4/27/1999 - 5/12/1999 | 40 bidders won 161 licenses| Gross bids: $65,244,000|
FCC_Auction23-Data
FCC_Auction23-Excel
FCC_Auction23-Access

FCC_Auction24

220 MHz | 6/8/1999 - 6/30/1999 | 16 bidders won 222 licenses| Gross bids: $2,537,100|
FCC_Auction24-Excel
FCC_Auction24-Access
FCC_Auction24-Data

FCC_Auction25

Closed Broadcast | 9/28/1999 - 10/8/1999 | 91 bidders won 115 licenses| Gross bids: $68,781,900|
FCC_Auction25-Data
FCC_Auction25-Excel
FCC_Auction25-Access

FCC_Auction26

929 and 931 MHz Paging Service | 2/24/2000 - 3/2/2000 | 78 bidders won 985 licenses| Gross bids: $4,927,200|
FCC_Auction26-Data
FCC_Auction26-Excel
FCC_Auction26-Access

FCC_Auction27

Broadcast Auction | 10/6/1999 - 10/8/1999 | 1 bidder won 1 license| Gross bids: $265,000|
FCC_Auction27-Access
FCC_Auction27-Data
FCC_Auction27-Excel

FCC_Auction28

Broadcast Auction | 3/21/2000 - 3/24/2000 | 2 bidders won 2 licenses| Gross bids: $1,210,000|
FCC_Auction28-Data
FCC_Auction28-Access
FCC_Auction28-Excel

FCC_Auction30

39 GHz | 4/12/2000 - 5/8/2000 | 29 bidders won 2173 licenses| Gross bids: $467,214,200|
FCC_Auction30-Excel
FCC_Auction30-Access
FCC_Auction30-Data

FCC_Auction32

New AM Broadcast Stations | 12/10/2002 - 12/12/2002 | 3 bidders won 3 licenses| Gross bids: $1,533,500|
FCC_Auction32-Excel
FCC_Auction32-Data
FCC_Auction32-Access

FCC_Auction33

Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands| 9/6/2000 - 9/21/2000 | 9 bidders won 96 licenses| Gross bids: $545,885,000|
FCC_Auction33-Data
FCC_Auction33-Access
FCC_Auction33-Excel

FCC_Auction34

800 MHz SMR General Category Service | 8/16/2000 - 9/1/2000 | 14 bidders won 1030 licenses| Gross bids: $337,494,900|
FCC_Auction34-Data
FCC_Auction34-Access
FCC_Auction34-Excel

FCC_Auction35

C and F Block Broadbnd PCS | 12/12/2000 - 1/26/2001 | 35 bidders won 422 licenses| Gross bids: $17,597,015,000|
FCC_Auction35-Data
FCC_Auction35-Excel
FCC_Auction35-Access

FCC_Auction36

800 MHz SMR Lower 80 Channels Service | 11/1/2000 - 12/5/2000 | 22 bidders won 2800 licenses| Gross bids: $29,499,300|
FCC_Auction36-Data
FCC_Auction36-Access
FCC_Auction36-Excel

FCC_Auction37

FM Broadcast | 11/3/2004 - 11/23/2004 | 110 bidders won 258 licenses| Gross bids: $178,001,500|
FCC_Auction37-Excel
FCC_Auction37-Access
FCC_Auction37-Data

FCC_Auction38

Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands | 2/13/2001 - 2/21/2001 | 3 bidders won 8 licenses| Gross bids: $24,052,000|
FCC_Auction38-Excel
FCC_Auction38-Access
FCC_Auction38-Data

FCC_Auction39

VHF Public Coast and Location and Monitoring Services | 6/6/2001 - 6/13/2001 | 7 bidders won 217 licenses| Gross bids: $1,707,100|
FCC_Auction39-Data
FCC_Auction39-Access
FCC_Auction39-Excel

FCC_Auction40

Paging| 10/30/2001 - 12/5/2001 | 182 bidders won 5323 licenses| Gross bids: $17,789,450|
FCC_Auction40-Access
FCC_Auction40-Data
FCC_Auction40-Excel

FCC_Auction41

Narrowband PCS| 10/3/2001 - 10/16/2001 | 5 bidders won 317 licenses| Gross bids: $11,013,915|
FCC_Auction41-Excel
FCC_Auction41-Data
FCC_Auction41-Access

FCC_Auction42

Multiple Address Systems Spectrum | 11/14/2001 - 11/27/2001 | 13 bidders won 878 licenses| Gross bids: $1,503,700|
FCC_Auction42-Data
FCC_Auction42-Excel
FCC_Auction42-Access

FCC_Auction43

Multi-Radio Service | 1/10/2002 - 1/17/2002 | 3 bidders won 27 licenses| Gross bids: $1,593,200|
FCC_Auction43-Excel
FCC_Auction43-Access
FCC_Auction43-Data

FCC_Auction44

Lower 700 MHz Band | 8/27/2002 - 9/18/2002 | 102 bidders won 484 licenses| Gross bids: $116,118,800|
FCC_Auction44-Access
FCC_Auction44-Excel
FCC_Auction44-Data

FCC_Auction45

Cellular RSA | 5/29/2002 - 6/4/2002 | 3 bidders won 3 licenses| Gross bids: $15,871,000|
FCC_Auction45-Excel
FCC_Auction45-Data
FCC_Auction45-Access

FCC_Auction46

1670-1675 MHz Band Nationwide License | 4/30/2003 - 4/30/2003 | 1 bidder won 1 license| Gross bids: $12,628,000|
FCC_Auction46-Data
FCC_Auction46-Excel
FCC_Auction46-Access

FCC_Auction48

Lower and Upper Paging Bands | 5/13/2003 - 5/28/2003 | 96 bidders won 2832 licenses| Gross bids: $3,200,110|
FCC_Auction48-Data
FCC_Auction48-Access
FCC_Auction48-Excel

FCC_Auction49

Lower 700 MHz Band | 5/28/2003 - 6/13/2003 | 35 bidders won 251 licenses| Gross bids: $62,983,100|
FCC_Auction49-Access
FCC_Auction49-Excel
FCC_Auction49-Data

FCC_Auction50

Narrowband PCS | 9/24/2003 - 9/29/2003 | 4 bidders won 48 licenses| Gross bids: $571,610|
FCC_Auction50-Excel
FCC_Auction50-Data
FCC_Auction50-Access

FCC_Auction51

Regional Narrowband PCS | 9/24/2003 - 9/25/2003 | 1 bidder won 5 licenses| Gross bids: $179,000|
FCC_Auction51-Data
FCC_Auction51-Excel
FCC_Auction51-Access

FCC_Auction52

Direct Broadcast Satellite Service | 7/14/2004 - 7/14/2004 | 2 bidders won 3 licenses| Gross bids: $12,200,000|
FCC_Auction52-Excel
FCC_Auction52-Data
FCC_Auction52-Access

FCC_Auction53

Multichannel Video Distribution & Data Service (MVDDS) | 1/14/2004 - 1/27/2004 | 10 bidders won 192 licenses| Gross bids: $136,936,200|
FCC_Auction53-Access
FCC_Auction53-Excel
FCC_Auction53-Data

FCC_Auction54

Closed Broadcast | 7/23/2003 - 7/29/2003 | 2 bidders won 4 licenses| Gross bids: $7,039,000|
FCC_Auction54-Data
FCC_Auction54-Access
FCC_Auction54-Excel

FCC_Auction55

900 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service | 2/11/2004 - 2/25/2004 | 5 bidders won 55 licenses| Gross bids: $4,866,000|
FCC_Auction55-Data
FCC_Auction55-Access
FCC_Auction55-Excel

FCC_Auction56

24 GHz Service | 7/28/2004 - 7/28/2004 | 3 bidders won 7 licenses| Gross bids: $306,000|
FCC_Auction56-Access
FCC_Auction56-Excel
FCC_Auction56-Data

FCC_Auction57

Automated Maritime Telecommunications System | 9/15/2004 - 9/15/2004 | 4 bidders won 10 licenses| Gross bids: $1,527,100|
FCC_Auction57-Data
FCC_Auction57-Access
FCC_Auction57-Excel

FCC_Auction58

Broadband PCS | 1/26/2005 - 2/15/2005 | 24 bidders won 217 licenses| Gross bids: $2,253,802,000|
FCC_Auction58-Data
FCC_Auction58-Access
FCC_Auction58-Excel

FCC_Auction59

Multiple Address Systems Spectrum | 4/26/2005 - 5/18/2005 | 26 bidders won 2220 licenses| Gross bids: $5,275,000|
FCC_Auction59-Access
FCC_Auction59-Data
FCC_Auction59-Excel

FCC_Auction60

Lower 700 MHz Band | 7/20/2005 - 7/26/2005 | 3 bidders won 5 licenses| Gross bids: $460,700|
FCC_Auction60-Excel
FCC_Auction60-Access
FCC_Auction60-Data

FCC_Auction61

Automated Maritime Telecommunications System | 8/3/2005 - 8/17/2005| 4 bidders won 10 licenses| Gross bids: $10,881,000|
FCC_Auction61-Data
FCC_Auction61-Excel
FCC_Auction61-Access

FCC_Auction62

FM Broadcast | 1/12/2006 - 1/31/2006 | 96 bidders won 163 licenses| Gross bids: $70,122,000|
FCC_Auction62-Excel
FCC_Auction62-Data
FCC_Auction62-Access

FCC_Auction63

Multichannel Video Distribution & Data Service (MVDDS) | 12/7/2005 - 12/7/2005| 3 bidders won 22 licenses| Gross bids: $204,000|
FCC_Auction63-Access
FCC_Auction63-Excel
FCC_Auction63-Data

FCC_Auction64

Full Power Television Station Construction Permits | 3/15/2006 - 3/20/2006 | 8 bidders won 10 licenses| Gross bids: $26,717,000|
FCC_Auction64-Data
FCC_Auction64-Access
FCC_Auction64-Excel

FCC_Auction65

800 MHz Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service| 5/10/2006 - 6/2/2006 | 2 bidders won 2 licenses| Gross bids: $38,339,000|
FCC_Auction65-Excel
FCC_Auction65-Data
FCC_Auction65-Access

FCC_Auction66

Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) | 8/9/2006 - 9/18/2006 | 104 bidders won 1087 licenses| Gross bids: $13,879,110,200|
FCC_Auction66-Access
FCC_Auction66-Data
FCC_Auction66-Excel

FCC_Auction68

FM Broadcast | 1/10/2007 - 1/17/2007 | 9 bidders won 9 licenses| Gross bids: $3,663,000|
FCC_Auction68-Excel
FCC_Auction68-Data
FCC_Auction68-Access

FCC_Auction69

1.4 GHz Bands| 2/7/2007 - 3/8/2007| 2 bidders won 64 licenses| Gross bids: $123,599,000|
FCC_Auction69-Excel
FCC_Auction69-Access
FCC_Auction69-Data

FCC_Auction70

FM Broadcast | 3/7/2007 - 3/26/2007 | 60 bidders won 111 licenses| Gross bids: $24,488,400|
FCC_Auction70-Data
FCC_Auction70-Access
FCC_Auction70-Excel

FCC_Auction71

Broadband PCS | 5/16/2007 - 5/21/2007 | 12 bidders won 33 licenses| Gross bids: $14,562,000|
FCC_Auction71-Access
FCC_Auction71-Data
FCC_Auction71-Excel

FCC_Auction72

220 MHz | 6/20/2007 - 6/26/2007 | 5 bidders won 76 licenses| Gross bids: $275,370|
FCC_Auction72-Access
FCC_Auction72-Data
FCC_Auction72-Excel

FCC_Auction73

700 MHz | 1/24/2008 - 3/18/2008| 101 bidders won 1090 licenses| Gross bids: $19,120,378,000|
FCC_Auction73-Excel
FCC_Auction73-Access
FCC_Auction73-Data

FCC_Auction80

Blanco Texas Broadcast | 7/12/2000 - 7/14/2000 | 1 bidder won 1 license| Gross bids: $18,798,000|
FCC_Auction80-Access
FCC_Auction80-Data
FCC_Auction80-Excel

FCC_Auction81

Low Power Television (LPTV) | 9/14/2005 - 9/26/2005 | 39 bidders won 90 licenses| Gross bids: $997,100|
FCC_Auction81-Access
FCC_Auction81-Data
FCC_Auction81-Excel

FCC_Auction82

New Analog Television Stations | 2/5/2002 - 2/13/2002 | 3 bidders won 4 licenses| Gross bids: $6,134,000|
FCC_Auction82-Data
FCC_Auction82-Excel
FCC_Auction82-Access