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FCC Launches Large-scale 5G Spectrum Auction

Date:Jan 06, 2020

On December 10, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new round of millimeter-wave spectrum auctions. The auction range includes the 37GHz higher frequency band (37.6GHz ~ 38.6GHz), 39GHz (38.6GHz ~ 40GHz), and 47GHz (47.2GHz ~ 48.2GHz), a total of 3400MHz spectrum, 141,000 licenses.


FCC Chairman AjitPai said that auctioning the 37GHz and 39GHz higher frequency bands provided an important opportunity for 5G deployments because it represented the largest continuously available spectrum in the millimeter wave band. The four major U.S. carriers AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as satellite TV provider DishNetwork, have all applied to participate in the auction, but most of them bid through affiliates with different names. The auction is expected to end in early 2020. Earlier this year, the FCC held auctions of the 28GHz and 24GHz spectrum. In 2020, the FCC will also conduct two mid-band spectrum auctions, including a 3.5GHz spectrum auction scheduled for June and a 3.7GHz ~ 4.2GHz spectrum auction in the second half of the year.


On December 11, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to pass the C-band spectrum auction bill. The FCC plans to auction the 280MHz spectrum from 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz by the end of 2020, while retaining more than 200MHz spectrum for broadcasting. The auction is expected to generate more than $ 60 billion in revenue, at least 50% of which goes to the Ministry of Finance, and 10% is used for construction of rural areas with poor infrastructure.