Stories

Bidding ends in major airwaves sale

Wireless carriers and other buyers are done bidding for airwaves in an unprecedented FCC auction. In total, the agency will transfer 70 megahertz of wireless spectrum with bids capping out at $19.6 billion.

Key context: The end of bidding is a victory for the untested design of the auction, which could be replicated in other countries. The FCC, however, initially tried to clear more spectrum.

Why it matters: Demand for spectrum has grown with the quick rise of smartphones in daily life, so this isn't the last battle over who gets to control the airwaves.