Verizon, AT&T Outbid Others In Latest FCC C-Band Auction

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the winners of its 3.7GHz C-Band auction, which yielded more than $81 billion in gross winning bids by 21 bidders for 5,684 licenses. The licenses will be used to provide wireless spectrum to that will power 5G cellular networks.

“It is essential to America’s economic recovery that we deliver on the promise of next-generation wireless services for everyone, everywhere,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in the press release. “This auction reflects a shift in our nation’s approach to 5G toward mid-band spectrum that can support fast, reliable, and ubiquitous service that is competitive with our global peers. Now we have to work fast to put this spectrum to use in service of the American people. Special thanks go to our great FCC auctions team, and their colleagues in the Wireless Telecommunications and International Bureaus, among others, for this success.”

The FCC noted the five highest bidders and the five bidders winning the largest number of licenses. Cellco Partnership (Verizon) had a total of gross winning bids of more than $45 billion and AT&T had more than $23 billion in gross winning bids, each winning 3,511 and 1,621 licenses, respectively. Meanwhile, T-Mobile bid more than $9 billion for 142 licenses, United States Cellular Corporation bid more than $1.28 billion for 254 licenses. The fifth highest bidder was NewLevel II, which bid more than $1.27 billion and Canopy Spectrum had the fifth highest number of licenses won at 84 licenses. The public notice further detailed the auction results and post-auction procedures. The FCC also summarized the bidders and issued a bidder payment report.

The auction distributed 280MHz worth of spectrum in the C-Band between 3.7GHz and 3.98GHz. The mid-band spectrum will help carriers boost network capacity and cover larger geographic areas in an effort to deploy more 5G. This is one of many auctions that the Commission has held to increase licenses for 5G and other broadband deployments. The auction comes more than a year after the FCC first stated that it would auction the C-Band and that the barnd would be divided into various purposes.