FCC Delays 2014 Mobile Airwave Auction After U.S. Closing

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission rescheduled an auction of airwaves for high-speed mobile data to Jan. 22 from Jan. 14, the agency said.

The commission cited the 16-day partial closing of the U.S. government that ended last week in its e-mailed notice today about the sale of airwaves known as the H Block.

Sprint Corp. had pressed the agency for an auction in January, and the commission accepted that idea over a proposal to wait so the auction coincides with other sales later in 2014.

The auctions can leave winning companies flush with frequencies to feed smartphones and losers barraged with complaints of slow apps and Web pages.

The H Block comprises 10 megahertz of spectrum, a fraction of President Barack Obama’s target of 500 megahertz for commercial mobile data. Congress has told the FCC to auction an additional 55 megahertz next year, for a total of 65 megahertz. The FCC estimated that the largest auction planned, of airwaves relinquished by TV stations, would free up 120 megahertz.

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