The FCC secured commitments from fixed satellite companies to move into the upper portion of the C-band, which will free up the mid-band spectrum for 5G wireless services.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has kicked off its latest 5G spectrum auction, making available 280 megahertz of prime mid-band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz banda portion of the C-band. This is the FCCs largest mid-band 5G spectrum auction to date.
FCC Chairman Pai proposed and instituted a plan to repurpose the C-band quickly. As a result, this mid-band spectrum will be available to deliver next-generation connectivity to American consumers and businesses years ahead of schedule. The FCC successfully secured commitments from fixed satellite companies to move quickly out of the 3.7-3.98 GHz band and into the upper portion of the C-band, which will free up this crucial mid-band spectrum for 5G wireless services.
The first round of the clock phase of the auction started yesterday at 10 am ET. This auction will offer 5,684 new flexible-use overlay licenses based on Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) for spectrum in the 3.73.98 GHz band. This spectrum holds the potential to be a prime spectrum for 5G services given its combination of geographic coverage and capacity, and the FCCs auction procedures will ensure the assignment to auction winners of contiguous spectrum blocks allowing wide channel bandwidths that support 5G deployment.
Satellite operators currently using the C-Band have agreed to repack their operations out of the bands lower 300 megahertz (3.7-4.0 GHz) into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz). The first phase of this transitionthe clearing of 120 megahertz of spectrum from 3.7-3.82 GHz in 46 of the nations top 50 PEAswill conclude by December 5, 2021. The second phase clearing the lower 120 megahertz of spectrum in the remaining PEAs, plus an additional 180 megahertz from 3.82-4.0 GHz nationwidewill conclude by December 5, 2023.
Commenting on the auction, Pai said: This is a big day for American consumers and US leadership in 5G. By freeing up this wide swath of critical mid-band spectrum, the FCC is paving the way for Americans to receive fast 5G wireless services. Together with the recent success of our 3.5 GHz band auction, our work to auction the 2.5 GHz and 3.45 GHz bands in 2021, and the other ground-breaking spectrum auctions weve held since 2017, our 5G FAST Plan is in full swing. American consumers and businesses will benefit from this FCCs efforts for years to come.