Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

FCC to Release Bidder Interests and Identities for Auction No. 66

On July 28, the FCC issued a public notice in which its Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) identifies 168 applicants found to be qualified to bid in the upcoming auction of Advanced Wireless Services licenses in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands (“AWS-1”) (Auction No. 66). Bidding in Auction No. 66 is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 9, 2006.
In addition, the public notice contains bidding instructions and other important information regarding Auction No. 66. The auction will be conducted using the information disclosure procedures typically used during past FCC auctions.

The Commission determined in the Auction No. 66 Procedures Public Notice that it would use an estimate of the level of competition in the auction to determine the information disclosure procedures that would apply to Auction No. 66. In particular, the Commission concluded that if this measure of likely competition, or modified eligibility ratio, is equal to or greater than three, the likely level of competition should be sufficient to make anti-competitive outcomes difficult to sustain and therefore the benefits of publicly revealing information on bidder interests and bidder identities likely would outweigh the potential harms. Because the modified eligibility ratio for Auction No. 66 is equal to at least three, this auction will be conducted with the typical disclosure of information from this point forward, e.g., revealing bidder license selection before the auction, as well as all bids and bidder identities at the end of each round during the auction.

In response to this announcement, representatives of rural carriers said they were pleased that the FCC plans to release the typical information surrounding the Aug. 9 auction, saying it will make it easier for providers to participate. “We're excited that there's not going to be blind bidding,” said Caressa Bennet, general counsel of the Rural Telecommunications Group. Her Washington-based Bennet & Bennet PLLC law firm is representing some “designated entities” in the auction. “It helps with our strategy somewhat,” Ms. Bennet added.

For more information contact:

Olev Jaakson at ojaakson@dbmlawgroup.com.