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Verizon, Dish Top Winners in FCC's First 3.5 GHz Auction

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Sep 2, 2020, 12:38 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome
updated Sep 2, 2020, 12:47 PM

Updated: Fixed minor typo.

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. Dish Network (bidding as "Wetterhorn Wireless") shelled out $913 million for 5,492 licenses covering 3,128 counties. Several cable companies also participated, but for fewer and/or less-valuable licenses. In this part of the 3.5 GHz band, each license covers 10 MHz of bandwidth in one county. The FCC auctioned off a maximum of seven licenses in any given county, with each company allowed to own a maximum of four licenses per county. Verizon appears to have approached that maximum in the counties it bid for, gaining 40 MHz of spectrum in a slight majority of its 157 counties, and 30 MHz in all or most of the rest. Dish won spectrum covering many more counties, but likely in more rural areas since it paid less for those licenses. Dish appears to have averaged closer to two licenses (20 MHz) per county. Dish currently operates the Boost brand using the T-Mobile network, but is preparing to build its own 5G SA network over the coming years. Auction 105 is the first of three FCC auctions for different parts of the 3.5 GHz band. This auction covers 3550-3650 MHz. The next 3.5 GHz auction starts in December.

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