Satellite Operators Agree to Accelerated Timeline for New 5G Band
Five satellite operators have agreed to the FCC's "accelerated" plan to reallocate 300 MHz of valuable mid-band spectrum so it can be used for enhanced 5G service as soon as late 2021. Without acceleration, the plan might not have been complete until 2025. The so-called C Band consists of 500 MHz around 3.7 GHz, a frequency ideal for 5G. The band is currently used for communication with satellites in space, but it is used inefficiently. By moving the satellite operators into just the upper 200 MHz of the band, 280 MHz can be freed for new 5G service on the ground. The FCC will auction licenses of the new spectrum to wireless carriers starting in December of this year, and carriers will be able to use some of the licenses starting one year later. In a second phase of the accelerated plan, the full 280 MHz will be available for use by the end of 2023.
Feb 6, 2020
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has released details of the FCC's proposal to re-arrange the C band, making available 280 MHz of additional radio spectrum for 5G in the US. The C band is a 500 MHz segment of spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, which is currently used by fixed satellite companies to beam content to video and audio broadcasters, cable systems, etc.
Aug 10, 2020
The US Department of Defense has decided to allow commercial 5G services to operate in the 3450-3550 MHz frequency band in the lower 48 states. That 100 MHz swath of spectrum is immediately adjacent to the 3.5 GHz (3550-3980 MHz, specifically) band that the FCC is already preparing to auction off for new 5G service.
Nov 19, 2019
FCC Chair Ajit Pai this week announced a decision on how to auction new radio spectrum for 5G that will be reclaimed from satellite operators. The FCC will conduct a public auction of spectrum licenses, as it has done with most bands used for mobile services to date.
Feb 24, 2021
The FCC today announced the winners of Auction 107 for radio frequency licenses in the coveted "C-Band". Verizon spent $45.5 billion, well over half the $81.1 billion total spent in the whole auction.