Bidding in the critical Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction for 3.5GHz spectrum – also known as Auction 105 – has now ended. With the FCC raising $4.6bn in gross proceeds, and selling 96.5% of the available Priority Access Licenses (PALs).
Making more spectrum available for the commercial marketplace is, according to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, “a central plank of the Commission’s 5G FAST strategy”.
The FCC auction for 3.5GHz spectrum offered 22,631 Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band, with seven PALs being offered in each county-based license area.
“The FCC successfully closed out the bidding in the 3.5 GHz/CBRS spectrum auction, raising almost $4.486 billion in gross proceeds,” said Rick Engelman from Wiley Rein LLP, which has been monitoring the auction. “This was an important auction providing 70 megahertz of desirable mid-band spectrum that drew a very large number of qualified bidders (271). It appears that this level of participation ensured healthy competition in many markets, with the largest markets generally having more than 25 rounds of competitive bidding and 20 markets with 40 or more rounds of competitive bidding.”
Prime 5G spectrum
The 3.5 GHz band has been earmarked as prime spectrum for 5G services in the US, because it offers a sweet spot between capacity and speed, with the potential to provide a big chunk of contiguous spectrum that will support channels with wide bandwidth.
And although there is no official statement from the FCC (that should come next week), and we don’t yet know which companies and organisations were successful in the auction, we do have the results for the 25 largest counties by population (see the table below).
|County Name||State||Population||Blocks sold||Bidding rounds||Price per block|
|New York||NY||1,585,873||7||36||$ 9,939,000|
Despite demand being high in most counties, the Commission did not sell any blocks in ten areas in Alaska (Aleutians East, Aleutians West, Bristol Bay, Dillingham, Haines, Kusilvak, Petersburg, Prince of Wales-Hyder, Skagway, and Wrangell), two counties in American Samoa (Rose Island and Swains Island), and in the Northern Marianas Islands.