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FCC announces next 5G mid-band spectrum auction to start on July 29

The Federal Communications Commission announced that July 29, 2022, will be the start of bidding in the auction of 2.5 GHz band licenses for 5G wireless services. This ascending clock format auction (Auction 108) will offer approximately 8,000 new flexible-use, county-based overlay licenses. These licenses are in areas with unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum—mostly rural parts of the country—following disposition of applications filed in the Rural Tribal Priority Window, which has to date resulted in the grant of 335 licenses to serve Tribal communities.

“We are readying the launch of the next 5G mid-band spectrum auction, following close on the heels of the recent, successful 3.45 GHz auction,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “The 2.5 GHz band auction can help deliver on the promise of 5G services and ensure that it reaches as many people as possible. The 2.5 GHz band spectrum provides an opportunity to fill in some of the critical 5G gaps in rural America. I look forward to the launch of this important auction.”

In a Public Notice released today, the FCC adopted application and bidding procedures for an auction of new flexible-use geographic overlay licenses in the 2.5 GHz band (2496-2690 MHz). This action follows substantial public comment on various process proposals under consideration and the Commission’s adoption of its 2.5 GHz Band Report and Order. In establishing procedures for this first-of-its-kind overlay auction, this proceeding addressed numerous complex issues from smoothly wrapping up the first-of-its-kind Tribal priority window to questions involving the license inventory, given the unique history. widespread existing deployments in the band, and extensive secondary market arrangements.

Additionally, in conjunction with the auction procedures Public Notice, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Economics and Analytics today announced the launch of an innovative mapping tool that can be used to help assess whether and to what extent there is unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum available in any county nationwide.

Overlay licenses must protect the operations of incumbent licensees within the auctioned areas, including any licensees that receive their licenses through applications filed in the Rural Tribal Priority Window, which closed in September 2020. The Commission continues to process pending Tribal applications, which could result in removing a relatively small number of additional licenses from the inventory before the opening of the Auction 108 short-form application filing window.

CT Bureau

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