700 MHz Auction – Is this all a big joke?

First of all, Wired has provided an excellent primer on the 700MHz auction, check out “FAQ: Inside the High-Stakes 700-MHz Spectrum Auction“. And if you like further info, you can also check out the FCC info on “Auction Designs” and “How is an Auction Conducted?

Now, I think we can all thank the Nobel Economist Ronald Coase for all the current fun and excitement for the spectrum auction.

In Thomas W. Hazlett‘s (George Mason University) January 2001 paper, “The Wireless Craze, The Unlimited Bandwidth Myth, The Spectrum Auction Faux Pas, and the Punchline to Ronald Coase’s “Big Joke”: An Essay on Airwave Allocation Policy“, he wrote,

In 1959 the Federal Communications Commission invited economist Ronald Coase to testify about his proposal for market allocation of radio spectrum rights. The FCC’s first question: “Is this all a big joke?

Note: Thomas W. Hazlett (recieved his Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA (1984) and served as Chief Economist of the FCC (1991-92)).

Almost fifty years after Coase testified in front of the FCC and with the billions of dollars governments from around the world “made” from auctioning frequency spectrum, I think no one will ask “Is this all a big joke?” like the FCC did then. (big smile)

Now, even I haven’t read the above 210-page economics research paper in full (ok, I am curious but not “210-page” curious (smile)), I suspect it will give interested readers some basic understanding of US airway allocation policy.

Here are a few news article reporting on the 700MHz Auction,

  1. Top bids $2.78 bln as U.S. wireless auction opens – Reuters UK
  2. FCC’s Airwaves Auction Draws $2.78 Billion in Bids – Washington Post (via Bloomberg)
  3. 700MHz Auction Update: High Bids Total $3.2 Billion – PC World

P.S. This is no easy topic but I am interested in auction strategies. And it will be fun to read your insights (please share) or some of the winners’ strategies afterwards.


Jan 29, 2008 Update: BusinessWeek – “FCC’s Auction: Not Going According to Plan?

Feb 9, 2008 Update: BusinessWeek – “Auction 73: Winding Down?

InformationWeek – “FCC Shifts 700 MHz Auction Rules To Speed Up Bidding


One Response to 700 MHz Auction – Is this all a big joke?

  1. […] In my opinion Ronald Coase is one of the great minds of our time and his “The Federal Communications Commission” has helped governments around the world “make” billions from Frequency Spectrum Auctions. (including the last round of auction by the FCC in U.S.) […]

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