On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“OEA/WTB”) released a Public Notice (“Notice”) announcing that the Auction 103 Assignment Phase will begin February 18, 2020, among other important auction information and deadlines.

Bidders that won at least one generic block of spectrum in one Partial Economic Area (“PEA”) in the clock phase of the auction are eligible – but not required – to participate in the assignment phase, in which they can place bids for specific frequency blocks. The Commission has released helpful information for eligible bidders, including (1) the Auction 103 Assignment Phase Bidding System User Guide, which describes the online system and provides bidding instructions; (2) an online tutorial for bidding in the assignment phase that provides background information on the structure and payments of the assignment phase; (3) a file formats document that provides certain information for each assignment phase bidding system data file; and (4) sample data files. This information is available under the “Education” tab on the Auction 103 website. Additional details on the upcoming assignment phase are below:

Assignment Phase Bidding System Availability and Data – Feb 11-Feb 12

  • Between 10:00 am ET on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 and 12:00 pm ET on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, eligible bidders will be able to log into the assignment phase bidding system to download their assignment phase bidding options (based on their clock phase winnings), view the sequence and timing for the assignment rounds for all PEAs, and identify the assignment rounds in which they will be eligible to participate. A personalized link to access this information will be sent by overnight delivery to each bidder.
  • Grouping of PEAs for Bidding – Bidders will be able to view whether any PEAs have been grouped for purposes of bidding in the assignment phase. PEAs will be grouped in the same round if (i) the same bidders won the same number of blocks in each of the PEAs in the group, and (ii) all of the PEAs in the group are in the same Regional Economic Area Grouping (“REAG”).
  • Bidding Options – Bidders can download their bidding options from the bidding system, which provides information about the bidding options available for all available assignment rounds based on clock phase winnings. Each bidder’s bidding options for a PEA will be all the contiguous license assignment options consistent with the bidder’s clock phase winnings.
  • Detailed Schedule of Rounds – The full schedule of assignment rounds will be viewable in the system. Beginning February 18, 2020, the top-20 PEAs will be assigned first – one PEA per round – in order from PEA001 to PEA020. Once the top 20 have been assigned, the remaining PEAs will be assigned, with parallel bidding taking place for a PEA, or grouping of PEAs, in as many as six REAGs during the same assignment bidding round.
  • Access to the actual assignment phase data will be suspended during the mock auction, but will become available again at 1:00 pm ET on Friday, February 14, 2020.

Mock Auction Scheduled for Feb 13

  • At 1:00 pm ET on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, each winning bidder will have access to the bidding system to access its assigned mock auction data.
  • At 10:00 am ET on Thursday, February 13, 2020, the Commission will conduct a mock auction for the assignment phase. Each of the six 40-minute rounds will commence on the hour starting at 10:00 am and ending by 4:40 pm.
  • Commission auction staff will be available during the assignment phase, including the mock auction, to answer questions. The Commission strongly recommends that all clock phase winning bidders participate in the mock auction.

Anti-Collusion Reminder: The Notice reminds applicants that the anti-collusion rule is still in effect, and will apply until the down payment deadline. As a reminder, an applicant may not disclose its status as a winning or non-winning bidder or any other non-public bidding information covered by the prohibition until after the close of Auction 103.

Please Contact Us if you have any questions.