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FCC Raises Over $22 Billion in Latest Mid-Band 5G Auction

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Jan 7, 2022, 2:34 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome
updated Jan 12, 2022, 5:26 PM

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. The FCC is expected to announce a full list of winners very soon. This auction is for the 3.45 GHz band, which spans 3.45 – 3.55 GHz. These mid-band frequencies sit slightly below the C Band that is being deployed by AT&T and Verizon for mid-band 5G this month. Band 77 — already supported by most 5G phones launched in 2021 — covers both C Band and this new band from Auction 110. The 100-Mhz-wide band is divided into ten equal blocks of 10 MHz each. Companies are allowed to combine blocks, but no one company was allowed to buy more than four in any given area. There are a number of incumbent (existing) users of these frequencies, primarily the Department of Defense. Of the $22.5 billion raised, $14 billion will go toward relocating those users to other frequencies. But some incumbent users will remain, having priority access to the frequencies upon request. Nonetheless, this valuable spectrum is ideal for 5G and is expected to help expand carriers' mid-band 5G networks.

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