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Incentive Auction to Begin May 31

There are 104 companies and organizations that are eligible to bid

WASHINGTON�Now that TV broadcasters have agreed to clear 126MHz of spectrum in the 600 MHz band, the Incentive Auction will start on May 31.

“The 126 MHz initial clearing target ensures that wireless carriers and other forward auction bidders have their chance to compete for the maximum amount of low-band ‘beachfront’ spectrum,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler�said�in a statement.

�The massive amount of paired spectrum available in the 600MHz auction means that it could dwarf even the hugely valuable AWS-3 spectrum, which earned $45 billion in 2015,� according toLight Reading.

There are 104 companies and organizations that are eligible to bid in the auction. These include the major U.S. operators, except Sprint Corp, which is instead pushing its own 2.5GHz spectrum as a 5G low-band option for the US. “We view our 2.5GHz spectrum as the low-band spectrum of 5GHz,” CEO Marcello Claure said on the operator’s second-quarter earnings call earlier this week.

Once the auction has ended, the real work begins. TV broadcasters will be given three months after the close of the auction to file construction permits for new facilities or modifications and 36 months, with various internal deadlines.

The FCC has proposed a rolling, regional approach to the repack, in part so that the limited number of tower crews can be most efficiently deployed.