FCC will start final 24GHz 5G bidding May 3, aims to top $2 billion
The FCC’s seemingly interminable 5G spectrum auctioning process has dragged on for months, as carriers have bid for region-specific licenses to transmit on 28GHz or 24GHz millimeter wave frequencies. Having already locked in $1.988 billion in 24GHz spectrum bids, the agency announced that it will begin the auction’s “assignment phase” on May 3, upping the government’s proceeds as prior “clock phase” winners fight over the specific 24GHz frequency blocks they prefer.
After 91 rounds of initial bidding spread across just over a month, the FCC has allocated 99.8% of available 24GHz licenses — 2,904 of 2,909. As compared with its 28GHz predecessor, which wrapped in late January, the second auction generated nearly three times the revenue despite receiving roughly half as many bids.
The FCC’s auction process was designed to give rural service providers and small businesses the opportunity to bid aggressively against larger carriers, including 15-25% discounts for qualified small bidders. But top U.S. carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon unsurprisingly registered for the auction, as did cable companies Cox and Frontier.
At the end of this auction, multiple U.S. carriers will hold 10-year licenses to transmit 5G signals on some of the highest-bandwidth frequencies yet offered in the United States, enabling further expansion of millimeter wave “small cells” throughout the country. Winning 24GHz and 28GHz bidders won’t be publicly identified until after the 24GHz auction concludes.
The FCC has said that it will auction additional blocks of 37GHz, 39GHz, and 47GHz millimeter wave spectrum starting December 10, 2019. However, those even higher frequencies likely wouldn’t come into wide use until 2020 — apart from AT&T, which already holds some 39GHz spectrum licenses.
While this series of auctions will even more firmly establish the United States’ lead in high-frequency 5G spectrum allocation, it leaves an equally if not more important concern unresolved: the country’s modest availability of mid-frequency 5G spectrum. Some industry groups have called for the FCC to commence “sub-6GHz” auctions of 3.5-3.7GHz and 3.7-4.2GHz spectrum, enabling second-generation U.S. 5G devices to operate on the same mid-band frequencies as first-generation 5G devices planned for sale in parts of Asia and Europe.
via VentureBeat https://venturebeat.com
April 18, 2019 at 09:10AM