Verizon and Straight Path paid $614 mn penalty over 5G spectrum issue

Verizon 5G network by EricssonStraight Path Communications and Verizon have paid a civil penalty of over $614 million to the U.S. Treasury as part of the misuse of 5G spectrum.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that the largest civil penalty ever paid to the U.S. Treasury was in connection with a January 2017 settlement between Straight Path and the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau — prior to the sale and transfer of its 5G licenses to Verizon.

A FCC investigation found that Straight Path failed to use the spectrum, and thus violated the Commission’s buildout and discontinuance rules in connection with approximately 1,000 licenses in certain millimeter wave spectrum bands. FCC has identified these high frequency bands for use in 5G.

Straight Path was forced to sell its licenses and remit 20 percent of the overall proceeds of the transaction to the U.S. Treasury as part of the settlement. Verizon purchased the license from Straight Path on May 11, 2017, and FCC approved the transfer on January 18, 2018, FCC said.

Reuters reported that Verizon outbid AT&T, which made a bid to buy Straight Path in April 2017 valued at $1.6 billion.