PolicyTracker Spectrum Database: Country-specific notes

Spectrum auctions are conducted slightly differently in each country. This entry explains some of these regional differences and how we collected data for more unusual spectrum auctions and awards.
| Richard Haas


Spectrum auctions in India are often conducted on a regional basis. The country is usually split up into 22 regions with licenses available in each of these regions. These regions include states but also metro areas. This regional nature affects how we collect information about licenses for the database. The following points should be considered:

  • Usually, the exact frequency range sold slightly differs for each region. This is why entries for Indian spectrum auctions often say “Varies by region”. The exact region for each auction can be found on the regulator’s website here (Select the desired auction and then open the document that details the “Provisional Result and Frequency Assignment”).
  • The spectrum bandwidth also varies by region. In some regions, an operator may have won 10 MHz of a certain band while in another, the same operator may have won 20 MHz. In more recent auctions we have calculated the average amount of spectrum held in all regions where the bidder has purchased the same frequency band.
  • Sometimes a winning bidder will buy licenses for the same spectrum band in multiple regions. We may group together these licenses across regions. We then use census data to calculate how large of an area the licences cover combined to arrive at a “Population coverage” figure.
  • We may only include licenses for regions that cover more than 1% of the population.


United States

Recent spectrum auctions in the United States are conducted on a regional basis rather than a nationwide basis. An overview of the different regions used by the FCC can be found here. Some auctions use county-level licences, while others use Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) which are larger in size. The following points should be considered:

  • For auctions conducted on a county basis or a PEA basis, we may combine all county licenses from each bidder in each spectrum band.
    • For instance, in the 2022 2.6 GHz auction, the mobile operator AT&T purchased thousands of county spectrum licences in the 3460 – 3470 MHz band.
    • Instead of listing all of these, we have opted to combine the operator’s licenses in this exact frequency range. This also means we combine the “Population coverage” figures of this license. AT&T’s combined licenses in this exact band cover 24% of the US population.
    • For the adjacent 3470 – 3480 MHz band, we have created a new entry that combines AT&T’s combined spectrum holdings in this exact frequency range. In this region, the operator licenses cover 60% of the US population.
  • We may only include bidders that have purchased licenses which cover more than 1% of the population.