The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made public that it is pursuing its plans to hold two 5G auctions on licenses in the 28GHz and 24 GHz bands in addition to an incentive auction for combined allocations in the 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands
FCC chairman Ajit Pai, had declared in February that he is planning to hold the first 5G auction for licenses of spectrum in the 28 GHz band in November, followed by an auction of spectrum in the 24 GHz band - both used to create the next generation of 5G wireless networks.
Recently, the FCC implemented new rules concerning the sale of licenses for high-band spectrum that will take place on November 14. It is of a great interest to carriers since they tend to spend billions of dollars to buy spectrum and to develop and test 5G networks, which are expected to cut data delivery times to less than one-thousandth of a second from one one-hundredth of a second in 4G networks.
The new rules require from bidders to apply and bid on the two auctions independently, as the processes will have completely different bidding formats and follow separate rules.
During the first sale, the regulator will offer two 455MHz blocks per county in the 28GHz band, following the traditional multi-round bidding format for specific blocks.
The second sale will be divided into two phases: first, sale of licenses for seven 100MHz blocks in the 24GHz band will adopt a "clock phase" format where operators bid on, and are then allocated, generic blocks. A second phase will then be held to decide the specifics of each allotted license.
The FCC pointed out that it would ban misuse of frequencies for "certain communications" and will impose credit caps of $25 million for small businesses and $10 million for rural service providers.
Regarding the third auction, a similar auction clearing broadcast spectrum for wireless services raised $19.6 billion in February 2017. However, it was below expectations because the FCC initially claimed to collect $86.4 billion. Lack of interest eventually led to a drastic reduction of the amount of spectrum offered.
In addition to announcing the new rules, the FCC also revealed a series of measures to accelerate access to physical infrastructure in order to install network equipment. The measures include amending laws concerning moving existing kit on poles before installing new equipment, and other measures to assess local and federal planning laws which could hamper deployments.