Verizon and AT&T spend $3bn in 5G mmWave spectrum auction

(Image credit: Future)

A key US 5G spectrum auction officially closed 5th March, and the winners have now been revealed. The auction consisted of 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz spectrum bands. The total sales reached $7.558 billion, nearly tripling the combined total raised by two prior mmWave auctions, which generated $2 billion for 24GHz spectrum and $700 million for 28GHz.

Verizon and AT&T emerged the winners of the huge auction, spending $3 billion in total, to secure thousands of new mmWave licenses. 

14,142 licenses claimed 

Officials revealed that 28 participants claimed a total of 14,142 licenses in the latest auction. This huge number is largely due to the fact that 3,400MHz of spectrum was on offer, the largest amount ever sold at one time in US history.

Verizon and AT&T added to their already expansive mmWave portfolio. Verizon shelled out an impressive $1.624 billion for 4,940 licenses; and AT&T was only just behind, spending $1.185 billion on 3,267 licenses.

T-Mobile wasn’t afraid to put down some significant money either, spending $872.7 million on 2,384 licenses. Sprint also took part, snagging 2,651 licenses for $202.5 million, meaning the two companies will form a formidable force if the proposed merger goes ahead. 

This huge auction will now give operators the opportunity to roll-out more 5G deployments using mmWave spectrum across more locations. 

FCC chairman Ajit Pai called the auction a “tremendous success,” adding that “we look forward to building on this positive result”, referring to the upcoming mid-band spectrum sales scheduled for June and December.

We will begin to see much broader 5G coverage in the US once the mid-band sales have been completed.

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(Image credit: Future)
Fiona Leake

Fiona discovered her love for investing and making money from a young age. Since then this interest has grown and now she loves writing about investing and business, and follows the 5G market closely. She is also a technology enthusiast, and so they tend to be her favourite investments.