A US sale of C-Band spectrum (3.7GHz to 4.2GHz) closed its first phase with a staggering $80.9 billion in bids after 97 rounds, shattering the country’s previous auction record.

In a statement, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai said the early results “represent a strong endorsement by the private sector of the service rules and transition plan put in place by the FCC to quickly make the C-Band a critical part of 5G rollout in the United States”.

He noted bids were placed for all 5,684 available licences, adding proceeds from the initial phase of the sale crushed a previous high of $44.9 billion set by the agency’s AWS-3 auction, which closed in January 2015.

The auction now enters an assignment phase during which winning bidders will compete for specific frequencies. Winners will be announced upon completion of this phase.

In a LinkedIn post, mobile network provider BitPath’s COO Sasha Javid noted the assignment phase typically takes about a month, and reiterated earlier warnings from analysts the auction’s high tally “could result in slower buildout, high prices for consumers, less stock buybacks and missed targets for debt reduction”.