FCC Concludes First Mid-Band 5G Auction

On Tuesday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it successfully concluded the first mid-band auction for Priority Access Licenses in the 3550 – 3650 MHz band to be used to deploy 5G technology. The FCC noted that the auction “made available the greatest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction.” In addition to helping with 5G deployment, the auctioned spectrum is said to facilitate the Internet of Things and other services. The FCC originally announced that it would auction these Priority Access Licenses in July.

“This is a banner day for American leadership in 5G and for American consumers. The 3.5 GHz auction has concluded, and I can say unequivocally: It was a resounding success,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “The strong demand for licenses was the direct result of this Commission’s reforms to the rules for the 3.5 GHz band—reforms that would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work of my colleague, Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. This auction has been a key part of our 5G FAST Plan and our ongoing push to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G. I look forward to this important spectrum being put to use quickly to provide service to the American people. And I look forward to the Commission making available 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-band auction beginning on December 8.”

The FCC stated that gross proceeds from the auction totaled $4,585,663,345 and bidders won 20,625 out of 22,631 or the equivalent of more than 91.1 percent of available licenses. The FCC stated that it will provide detailed auction results and other deadlines a few days after Tuesday’s announcement.

The FCC is set to auction more mid-band spectrum in December. Both of these auctions are part of a larger concerted effort by the FCC to make more spectrum available for 5G usage quickly and to reduce the digital divide.