Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has indicated that participants in the government’s planned 600MHz ‘Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction’ could utilise the frequencies to support the country’s push towards the 5G standard. The process is scheduled to take place in 2016, marking the first opportunity since January 2008’s 700MHz auction for US wireless carriers to buy low-frequency airwaves.
In a blog post, Wheeler commented: ‘I foresee lower-frequency bands playing a role in 5G. For example, the timing of the incentive auction makes the 600MHz band a prime candidate for deployment of a wide-area 5G coverage layer. In much the same way that 700MHz paved the way for America’s world-leading deployment of 4G, so could 600MHz accelerate US deployment of 5G … We are in the early stages on the path towards 5G. I encourage stakeholders in the mobile broadband industry, incumbent fixed service providers, satellite providers and others to take a fresh look at how things are done, to be open to the extraordinary possibilities this next generation technology may present’.