The wireless auction that is selling off a swath of highly coveted airwaves started this morning with a flurry of activity — more than $2.4 billion in bids during the opening round.
But this is not like a bankruptcy auction, where people show up on the steps of a building and raise their hands to place a bid. Rather the whole thing takes place online — in secret.
Click here and then click on “View Auction Results” and you can see the clock countdown on the time left during a given round. You can even see what bids have been placed, but the entire process is anonymous.
A Reuters story reports that the $2.4 billion bid so far represents the highest received for five separate blocks of spectrum. The federal government should be able to raise at least $10 billion from the sale.
Bidders will be kept secret until the auction is completed.
It’s worth noting in particular that the “D” Block received a $472 million bid. That is the section of airwaves that must be shared with public safety and has a number of likely expensive requirements. Some wondered whether there would be any demand for that swath after Frontline Wireless — which lobbied on behalf of such requirements — failed to qualify for the auction.