Wireless companies bid nearly $45 billion for airwaves in the Federal Communications Commission’s largest ever auction of wireless spectrum.
It took 341 rounds of bidding, but the auction finally concluded Thursday morning at a record-setting sum.
“It has been a huge success,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters. “We can now look forward to the 2016 incentive auction. Wireless carriers have demonstrated the importance of new spectrum.”
The question now is which companies won airwave licenses in the auction and how much they paid for them. Only the FCC knows the answer, and it usually takes the agency a while to formally announce the auction results.
The auction launched in November and bidding rose so quickly that it surprised many wireless industry observers. The FCC’s reserve price of $10.6 billion was quickly surpassed; the final sum is more than double the previous record of $19.1 billion set in 2008.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile US all qualified to bid in the auction, with Sprint opting to sit out. The auction’s wildcard has been Dish Network, whose bidding strategy has been the subject of much speculation.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.