FCC's Latest 5G Spectrum Auction Gets Underway

The FCC launched its latest advanced wireless spectrum auction (auction 103) Tuesday (Dec. 10) and after two, two-hour rounds, the auction has drawn over $715 million in bids from a pool of 35 qualified bidders

The highest profile bidders for the millimeter-wave spectrum, are Windstream (actually the debtors in possession), T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular Corp. 

Related: FCC Waivers Auction 103 Communications Prohibition for T-Mobile, Sprint 

The FCC will boost the number of rounds to three starting Wednesday (Dec. 11) and shorten them to an hour apiece. 

The FCC is auctioning 3,400 megaherts of flexible use spectrum (over 14,000 licenses) in the upper microwave band (37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz), the most spectrum the FCC has ever auctioned at one time. It can be used for both fixed and mobile uses and is being auctioned in 100 MHz blocks in partial economic areas (PEAs). 

Not surprisingly, the markets drawing the most interest, and money, was top market, New York, with licenses covering a population of over 25 million and number two, L.A., covering over 19 million. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.