The FCC is making plans to auction spectrum licenses in the H Block as early as January 14, 2014, with bidding to stop by February 23.
In a statement Monday, the FCC officially opened up the matter for public comment, with comments due by August 5 and comment replies due by August 16. No comments have been posted yet on the docket (13-178) for the auction.
In a statement, Commissioner Ajit Pai said it had been five years since the FCC held a major spectrum auction and he advocated pushing the for the auction to proceed in late 2013 or early 2014 at the latest.
“The sooner we get the currently fallow H Block spectrum into the commercial marketplace, the sooner it can be used to deliver bandwidth-intensive mobile services and applications, and the sooner the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will receive its initial infusion of funds from auction revenues,” Pai said in the statement.
The spectrum up for grabs is two paired five megahertz blocks in the 1900 PCS, with the 1915-1920 set aside for uplink and the 1995-2000 set aside for downlink.
Both Dish Network and Sprint have expressed interest in bidding on the available H Block licenses.
The H Block emerged as a point of contention while Dish lobbied for approval to use its AWS spectrum for a terrestrial LTE network. Sprint argued for the FCC to shift Dish’s AWS band up 5 MHz from 2000-2020 MHz to 2005-2025 MHz to diffuse any interference with the H Block.