The FCC on Tuesday announced the conclusion of its second high-band 5G spectrum auction, with all but five of nearly 3,000 offered licenses in the 24 GHz band securing winning bids.
The assignment phase of the 24 GHz auction wrapped up this week, following the earlier conclusion of clock-phase bidding on April 17. In total the latest millimeter wave spectrum auction, also known as Auction 102, garnered $2,024,268,941 in gross bids for 2,904 licensees.
The 24 GHz auction saw bids climb for spectrum licenses in the unencumbered band, with major metro areas in play, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There were 38 qualified bidders at the start of Auction 102, including the nation’s four largest carriers, as well as U.S. Cellular, Dish Network, Starry and Windstream.
In late January, the FCC completed its first mmWave spectrum auction, Auction 101, raising about $702 million for 2,965 licenses in the 28 GHz band. Together, the two auctions brought in gross proceeds of more than $2.7 billion, with 55 qualified bidders participating.
“American leadership in 5G means deploying more airwaves for the next generation of wireless connectivity,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. “The successful conclusion of our nation’s first two high-band flexible, mobile-use spectrum auctions is a critical step. By making more spectrum available, we’ll ensure that American consumers reap the substantial benefits that 5G innovation will bring and we’ll extend U.S. leadership in 5G.”
Winners of the 28 GHz auction have not yet been disclosed, with the agency waiting for the recent 24 GHz auction to conclude. The FCC said it will release a public notice in a few days detailing results of both Auctions 101 and 102.
With the first two high-band 5G auctions complete, attention now turns to the next planned spectrum auction. Auction 103 is slated to kick off Dec. 10, offering licenses in the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. It will be the largest spectrum auction in the U.S. to date, with 3,400 megahertz up for grabs, according to the FCC.