The FCC’s millimeter wave spectrum auction has netted nearly $70 million as of Friday afternoon, following six rounds of bidding.
On Friday, round five of Auction 101 raised $7.42 million, while bidding in round six raised $7.36 million, bringing the total to about $69.57 million. Bidding was temporarily halted Thursday due to severe weather, but resumed Friday morning with one more round scheduled for early this evening.
More than 2,100 of the 3,072 county-based licenses available have received bids, with the FCC still holding 943 licenses. Forty qualified bidders are participating in the auction, which started Wednesday, for the 28 GHz band licenses being offered in two 425 MHz blocks.
Bidding will resume Monday, with the schedule increasing to four rounds per day. There will be a break starting next Wednesday through Friday over the Thanksgiving holiday. Auction 101 will start back up again Monday, Nov. 26.
In a statement released at the start of the FCC’s first high-band 5G spectrum auction, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that the auction shows the U.S. continues to be the global leader in 5G.
“These airwaves will be critical in deploying 5G services and applications. And we’re not stopping there. Between the auctions this year and next, the FCC will push almost 5 gigahertz of spectrum into the commercial marketplace over the course of the next 15 months,” Pai said. “To put that in perspective, that is more spectrum than is currently used for terrestrial mobile broadband by all wireless service providers combined.”
Auction 102 for licenses in the 24 GHz band will follow Auction 101, and a separate auction for mmWave spectrum bands 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz is planned for 2019.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel praised the start of the 5G spectrum auction, saying it put the U.S. “back in the running” for leadership in next-gen wireless technology. However, she also called for action to set future auction dates.
“If we want to lead, we need a pipeline of both millimeter wave and mid-band spectrum for 5G. That means making transparent our plans for every subsequent auction. We can do this with something simple: a calendar,” Rosenworcel said. “Let’s publish a calendar that states clearly to the entire wireless ecosystem—from existing providers to new spectrum interests to manufacturers and consumers—just when and how the FCC will auction new airwaves to support 5G services.”