FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has announced the latest step in making mid-band spectrum available for next generation wireless services, including 5G. In a Public Notice, the FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau established the application and bidding procedures for Auction 110, the auction of spectrum in the 3.45 GHz band. Bidding is scheduled to start on October 5th, 2021.
“This is a critical step toward delivering on the promise of 5G,” said Rosenworcel. “This auction will bring us closer to 5G service that is fast, secure, resilient, and most importantly, available across the country. I want to thank the great FCC staff for their work on this as well as our partners in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Defense.”
Auction 110 will offer up to 4,060 new flexible-use licences in the 3.45 to 3.55 GHz band divided into ten 10-megahertz blocks licensed by geographic areas known as Partial Economic Areas (PEAs). In the first phase of the auction, the clock phase, bidders will bid on generic blocks in each geographic area. In the second phase, the assignment phase, they will bid on frequency-specific licence assignments.
The notice announces upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts as well as the availability of bidding credit discounts for eligible small businesses, rural service providers, and for the deployment of facilities and services to qualified federally recognised tribal lands. As required by law, auction proceeds must cover the expected sharing and relocation costs for federal users in the band. The Public Notice sets a reserve price of approximately $14.7 billion (€12bn). By releasing the Public Notice and setting a bidding start date of October 5th, the FCC is fulfilling Congress’s directive in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, to begin auctioning these airwaves by December 31st, 2021.