The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restarted its 3.7GHz 5G auction yesterday (4 January), following the festive break. Bidding shows no sign of slowing down, however, and reached USD76.5 billion at the end of round 50. The auction commenced on 8 December and bids stood at USD69.8 billion before the process was paused.
On 12 November the FCC confirmed that a total of 57 bidders were qualified to participate in the process, including the likes of AT&T Spectrum Frontiers, Cellco Partnership (Verizon Wireless), Cox Communications, US Cellular, Cellular South (C Spire) and T-Mobile US. The full list is dominated by smaller, regional providers.
In total, 5,684 licences are being auctioned, divided into 14 sub-blocks in each of the 406 Partial Economic Areas (PEAs). The A-block incorporates five 20MHz blocks in the 3.7GHz-3.8GHz range; the B-block includes five 20MHz blocks between 3.8GHz-3.9GHz; and the C-block comprises four 20MHz sub-blocks between 3900MHz-3980MHz; spectrum in the 3980MHz-4000MHz range will be maintained as a guard band and is not available for auction. The FCC says that the sale represents its largest mid-band 5G spectrum auction to date.