The FCC has granted the majority, in terms of money bid, of the licenses for advanced wireless spectrum it auctioned off in the fall.
The spectrum was reclaimed from government use for new applications including voice and video.
The FCC granted 550 licenses, which is only a little over half of the 1,087 it auctioned, but that is the vast bulk of the pricier licenses and represents $12.2 billion of the $13.7 billion bid.
The AWS (advanced wireless services) auction had to raise at least $2.06 billion to cover the cost of relocating current occupants.
Top bidders were T-Mobile License LLC; Cellco Partnership (Verizon Wireless); SpectrumCo; MetroPCS AWS; and Cingular AWS.
“Although we cannot envision our lives without access to the Internet," said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin of the auction's completion back in September, "I believe we are only beginning to imagine the way mobile broadband networks will impact our lives - - changing the business and entertainment possibilities available to consumers."
Forty-five licenses were not sold, but the FCC can roll them into a future auction.
One advanced wireless auction already on the books will be the one for reclaimed TV spectrum as broadcasters translate to digital TV. That will be prime real estate since its propagation characteristics make it less prone to disruption from buildings and other obstacles.
The government has projected taking in some $6 billion from that auction, but if this is any indication, that figure will be closer to the higher end of some private prognostications, which put it closer to $20 billion.