FCC efforts to open up access to more millimeter wave spectrum for 5G services continues, with the agency today adopting rules for next year’s auction of mmWave licenses in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands.
There are 3,400 megahertz of high-band spectrum available in total between the three bands.
Three main components of the FCC’s newly adopted rules include:
- Modifying the band plans from 200 megahertz blocks to 100 megahertz blocks to be licensed based on Partial Economic Areas, which will allow a simultaneous auction
- An incentive auction mechanism offers contiguous blocks of spectrum, while maintaining spectrum usage rights for existing licensees
- A pre-auction process that allows incumbent licensees to rationalize their holdings
An auction for mmWave licenses in the 28 GHz band is currently underway, with one for 24 GHz licenses to immediately follow. The 28 GHz auction, or Auction 101, began Nov. 14 and as of mid-day Dec. 12 had raised just under $682 million.
AT&T and Verizon are utilizing mmWave spectrum in their respective 5G rollouts. Verizon launched its fixed wireless 5G home broadband service in four cities Oct. 1 and its 5G mobile service is expected to go live in early 2019. AT&T has promised to launch mobile 5G service in 12 markets by the end of the year and expand to seven additional cities in the first half of 2019.