The Federal Communications Commission this week voted to begin the process of conducting spectrum auctions later this year.
The measure approved unanimously by the commission Tuesday calls for public comments on procedures for two separate auctions. The first, in the 28 GHz band, will begin on Nov. 14, with a second, in the 24 GHz band, starting immediately after the first auction concludes.
“It may not be flashy, but this is a vital step toward promoting U.S. innovation in 5G wireless services, the Internet of Things, and many technological firsts in these previously-underused, high-band frequencies,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
The auctions would collectively offer 1.55 GHz of spectrum across about 6,000 geographic licenses. Two 425 MHz blocks in the 28 GHz band would be offered on a county basis, while seven 100 MHz blocks in the 24 GHz band would be allocated by Partial Economic Area.
The proposal also suggests that the two auctions have separate application and bidding processes, and asks for comment on whether they should include additional conditions, such as a “prohibition on certain communications.”
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel lauded the FCC’s first auction directed at 5G networks, but suggested that the agency make its plans for future high- and mid-band spectrum auctions more transparent as the global race to 5G intensifies.
“Let’s publish a calendar that states clearly to the entire wireless ecosystem — from existing providers to new spectrum interests to manufacturers and consumers — just when and how the FCC will auction new airwaves to support 5G services,” Rosenworcel said. “That is what leadership entails.”