FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced this week that the Commission will initiate draft procedures for an auction of 70 MHz of mid-band spectrum, within the 3.5 GHz band, which will begin on June 25, 2020.
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In a blog post, which outlined the agenda for the FCC’s September meeting, Pai announced that this auction would be “another step forward” in its work to promote American leadership within the 5G industry, and it’s a move that will be greeted by the likes of AT&T and Verizon.
Making more spectrum available
“Making more spectrum available for the commercial marketplace is a central plank of the Commission’s 5G FAST strategy,” explained FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. “We’ve already completed two spectrum auctions this year and will begin a third on December 10. And at our September meeting, we will vote to seek comment on draft procedures for an auction of 70 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to begin on June 25, 2020.”
The 3.5 GHz band has been earmarked as “prime spectrum” for 5G services. The 3.5 GHz range is an important addition to the middle group, offering a mix of capacity, and according to the GSM Association: “It is especially useful for 5G deployment because the band has the potential to provide a large amount of contiguous spectrum that will support channels with wide bandwidth, ideal for 5G deployment.”
The FCC's 3.5GHz auction in June of next year will be the first time that the Commission has released a significant amount of mid-band spectrum in a commercial auction.