The Federal Communications Commission intends to hold another auction of high-band spectrum next year, Chairman Ajit Pai announced Wednesday.
Pai wrote in a blog post — following his remarks at a regulatory symposium in Switzerland — that a single auction in the second half of 2019 would make spectrum available in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands.
“With so many wanting so much spectrum for 5G, we’re moving as quickly as possible to make these bands available for commercial use,” Pai wrote.
The commission, he added, also expects to finalize plans for its first high-band auctions — to be held in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands later this year — at its August meeting.
Industry groups had praised the agency’s moves to make high-band spectrum available this year but urged commissioners to add more bands to the 24 GHz auction. Officials from CTIA and the Competitive Carriers Association argued that the FCC had already enacted technical and licensing rules for the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands.
“By making this spectrum available, the FCC is taking important steps toward ensuring America’s 5G global competitiveness, spurring our economy and creating jobs,” CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement Thursday.
Pai also wrote that he hopes to take up the establishment of 100 MHz license blocks in those bands, as well as shift incumbent users in the 39 GHz band into “rationalized license holdings” at the August meeting.
“This will help make the 39 GHz band as attractive as possible for new bidders, while consolidating incumbent spectrum licenses into more usable blocks,” he wrote.
Next month’s agenda will also include “one-touch-make-ready” rules — which enable utility poles to more easily accommodate new telecom equipment — and a proposal to implement needed changes to spectrum auction deposit rules.