FCC's 600MHz spectrum auction begins August 16th; total bidding must exceed $86.4 billion
The bogey was originally expected to total $30 billion. If the forward auctions, which start on August 16th, don't generate at least $86.4 billion in winning bids, the FCC will hold a new reverse auction with the television broadcasters for a lower amount of spectrum. The 600MHz spectrum is considered to be low-frequency, which explains the heavy demand by carriers. Low-frequency spectrum produces signals that travel farther and penetrate buildings better.
AT&T and T-Mobile have reportedly budgeted $10 billion and $8 billion for the auction, respectively. But that was well before the reverse auction was held. The bottom line is that even outfits like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile can't afford to bid for spectrum at what looks to be very inflated prices. If additional auctions are required, the entire process could drag well into 2017.