FCC ends first 5G spectrum auction raising just $702 mn

Federal Communications Commission announced the end of part of one of the 5G spectrum auction in the 28 GHz band with winning bidders offering a total of $702 million for the 5G license.
5G connection forecast by GSMA
FCC, which kicked off the nation’s first 5G spectrum auction in November, has sold almost 3,000 licenses to broadcast in the 28 GHz band.

The US telecom regulator hasn’t yet disclosed the winning bidders and said 107 licenses received no acceptable bids. The FCC has made 1.55 gigahertz of spectrum available for the auctions in the 24 GHz spectrum band.

The agency qualified 40 potential bidders, including entities representing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile – for selling the 28 GHz band.

Smaller companies or even individuals may have purchased some of the 5G licenses covering more rural areas.

The poor response to the 28 GHz spectrum band was in line with the expectation of the US telecom operators.

For comparison, the US government had raised a total of $20 billion during the 600 MHz spectrum auction in 2017.

The 5G spectrum auction in the 28 GHz frequency band did not receive much response from telecoms because Verizon already owns about half the licenses in the 28 GHz band, including in many prime urban locations.

In addition, FCC will conduct several more auctions this year to sell licenses in other 5G bands. Telecom industry is expecting that there will be demand for 5G spectrum in other bands that will be sold later this year.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “Our 24 GHz auction will begin soon, and we will then hold an auction of three more spectrum bands later this year.”

FCC plans to sell licenses in at least three more bands for 5G in millimeter-wave spectrum bands: 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 49 GHz — later this year.

Nearly 25 percent of all subscriptions will be 5G in North America in 2022, representing the highest market penetration in the world, according to the most recent Ericsson Mobility Report.

Telecom vendors such as Nokia and Ericsson will be looking forward for deals in the  28 GHz spectrum.

US Cellular in October 2017 completed testing of various 5G use cases at 28GHz in in rural and suburban areas in Madison, Wisconsin in association with Ericsson. US Cellular achieved peak throughput speed of 8.5 Gbps in real-world conditions and peak speeds of 4 Gbps during virtual reality tests.

Both Huawei and ZTE, two leading telecom equipment makers from China, will not be selling their 5G network to mobile operators in US due to US government policy that blocked them on national security reasons.

Baburajan K