FCC reveals winners of 5G spectrum auction in 3.45 GHz band

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revealed winners of its 5G spectrum auction in the 3.45 GHz band.
Verizon 5G network by EricssonThirteen of the twenty-three companies with winning bids in Auction 110 qualified as small businesses or as entities serving rural communities.

Compared to the prior 5G auction, this auction saw a substantial increase in the number of winning bidders per market: over one-third of the top 100 markets have at least four winning bidders, compared with 10 percent of the top 100 markets for Auction 107.

“3.45 GHz auction results demonstrate that the Commission’s pivot to mid-band spectrum for 5G was the right move,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “Enabling commercial use of this spectrum is important to America’s continuing economic recovery and 5G leadership.”

The five bidders with the largest total gross winning bid amounts from both the clock and assignments phases were as follows:

Bidder Total Gross Winning Bids
AT&T Auction Holdings $9,079,177,491
Weminuche $7,327,989,290
T-Mobile License $2,898,418,995
Three Forty-Five Spectrum $1,379,489,483
United States Cellular $579,646,526

The five bidders winning the largest number of licenses were as follows:

Bidder Number of Licenses Won
AT&T Auction Holdings 1,624
Weminuche 1,232
United States Cellular 380
Cherry Wireless 319
T-Mobile License 199

Auction 110 saw winning bidders in the clock phase for 4,041 of the 4,060 available generic blocks in the 3.45–3.55 GHz band. Gross proceeds for the auction exceeded $22.5 billion.  This surpasses that law’s requirement that Auction 110 cover at least 110 percent of the expected sharing and relocation costs for federal users currently operating in the band—in this case $14,775,354,330, based on a January 14, 2021, estimate from NTIA.

The 3.45 GHz auction closed as one of highest grossing auctions in the FCC’s history.

FCC said the 3.45 GHz band and the neighboring 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands represent 530 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G, the next generation of wireless services.