Soon after the AWS spectrum auction exited stage one, more than $12 billion had been bid, and two high profile groups — the satellite consortion, Wireless DBS, and the cable group Dolan Family Holdings — had already left the building. In the second stage of the auctions, we shall soon know who will emerge winners and how much they are willing to spend in this closely-watched wireless spectrum auction.
There are only two stages in the AWS auction and the second stage is marked by the fact that bidders need to bid actively on at least 95% of current bids in each round starting with Round 31 — stage one bidders had to be active on 80%. The rule is meant to keep the auction progessing in a reasonable amount of time, and stop companies from holding off on bidding until the last minute.
Stage two is a good indicator that the bidding is winding down, though doesn’t indicate exactly when the auction will be over. The big licenses seem to have been pretty much decided, while various bidders are still moving on smaller licenses. The top overall bidders have remained the same for awhile, with T-Mobile at $3.74 billion, Verizon Wireless at $2.80 billion, and SpectrumCo at $1.57 billion.
There are 136 eligible bidders as of Round 32, down from 168 at the beginning. OK, so its getting slow for us too. Maybe it’ll end this week?