3.5 GHz Band for 5G Grows by 23%
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. Combining the two bands means the 3.5 GHz band in the US will now span a contiguous 530 MHz, a 23% improvement over what had previously been approved for commercial use. This "mid-band" spectrum is seen as ideal for 5G, allowing a good balance of broad coverage and high speeds. The FCC will now determine the rules and auction dates for this "new" spectrum. The DoD currently uses this radio spectrum for radar operations that support missile defense, countermortar capabilities, weapons control, electronic warfare, air defense, and air traffic control. Thanks to spectrum-sharing solution, the DoD will be able to continue using the band even as commercial operators start using it for 5G service in the lower 48 states.
Oct 5, 2021
The FCC today started Auction 110, the third in a series of auctions to sell licenses for valuable C-band (mid-band) radio frequencies that offer a good mix of data speeds and coverage when deployed for 5G networks. All three major US wireless carriers have registered and qualified to bid in the auction.
Aug 25, 2020
The FCC today announced the conclusion of auction 105, which sold the rights to 70 MHz of new licensed spectrum near 3.5 GHz for 5G service. 20,625 licenses for specific frequencies and geographic areas were sold for over $4.6 billion in total.
Sep 2, 2020
The FCC today published the winners of the recent Auction 105 for part of the 3.5 GHz band. Verizon shelled out $1.9 billion for 557 licenses covering 157 counties, likely covering major cities.
Jan 7, 2022
The FCC's Auction 110 has concluded, with up to 33 bidders paying a total of $22.5 billion for 4,041 licenses out of 4,060 offered. All of the top three national wireless carriers participated in the auction.
Jan 2, 2022
Verizon and AT&T this morning refused a request by federal transportation officials to delay this week's planned launch of 5G service in the critical new C Band. [Update: By evening, the two companies agreed to a two-week delay.] The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) insists that the service could potentially interfere with radio altimeters that planes use to measure distance to the ground in poor weather.