US 5G mid-band auction raises $4.5 billion
The allocation of sort after mid-band spectrum will allow operators to scale up their 5G operations in the US
The US’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the successful conclusion of the country’s first 5G mid-band spectrum auction.
In total, operators snapped up 70 MHz of spectrum in the much coveted 3,550-3,650 MHz band, raising a total of $4.585 billion. Operators won 20,625 out of a possible 22,631 licences.
“This is a banner day for American leadership in 5G and for American consumers. The 3.5 GHz auction has concluded, and I can say unequivocally: It was a resounding success,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
“The strong demand for licenses was the direct result of this Commission’s reforms to the rules for the 3.5 GHz band—reforms that would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work of my colleague, Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. This auction has been a key part of our 5G FAST Plan and our ongoing push to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G. I look forward to this important spectrum being put to use quickly to provide service to the American people. And I look forward to the Commission making available 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-band auction beginning on December 8.”
While operators in Europe and Asia launched their 5G services using mid-band spectrum, operators in the US have had to launch their 5G networks using a mixture of low band and mmWave spectrum, as they waited for mid-band spectrum to be made available. The FCC has presided over a campaign to rapidly free up spectrum in the mid-bands, offering significant financial rewards to satellite operators who agreed to have their existing spectrum reallocated.
Combining faster speeds than low band spectrum with better propagation rates than mmWave spectrum, the mid-band waves will allow US operators to dramatically ramp up their 5G network coverage across the country.