FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has revealed that the Commission is to open up the 2.5 GHz band for 5G. In a blog post, Pai explained that this was the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz, but that much of this public resource had been unused for decades, partly because the technology that policymakers conceived many years ago for this band hadn’t materialised as some thought, and partly because arcane rules hampered providers from putting the spectrum to its highest-valued use.
“At long last, we’re going to put more of this critical mid-band spectrum to work for the American people. On July 10, the Commission will vote on an order that will modernise an outdated regulatory regime for the 2.5 GHz band, a regime developed in the days when educational TV was the only use envisioned for this spectrum. The new framework will not only give incumbent users more flexibility in how they use the spectrum, but also provide opportunities for Tribal Nations and others to obtain access to unused 2.5 GHz spectrum. Making this valuable mid-band spectrum available for new mobile services will allow for more efficient and effective use of these airwaves and will advance US leadership in 5G. My colleagues have expressed a strong interest in bringing mid-band spectrum to market, and this order represents a prime opportunity to do just that,” he declared.
“Consistent with our longstanding walking-and-chewing-gum approach, we’ll also focus on unleashing high-band spectrum for 5G at our July meeting,” he added. “Two months ago, I joined the President at the White House to announce that the Commission will hold an auction of the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands on December 10, 2019. This auction will be the largest in American history, releasing 3,400 megahertz of spectrum into the commercial marketplace. On July 10, the Commission will vote to finalise the procedures, terms, and conditions for this auction. Among the many key details outlined in this Public Notice, this will be an incentive auction. In addition, each of the bands available will be licensed on an unpaired basis in 100-megahertz channel blocks, and the winning bidder may provide any services permitted under a fixed or mobile allocation.”