Wireless industry groups CTIA and the Competitive Carriers Association last week urged the Federal Communications Commission to auction off more millimeter wave spectrum this year to help accelerate the move to 5G networks.
The FCC last month voted to begin developing processes for auctioning spectrum in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands starting in November. CTIA officials praised those efforts but noted that adding spectrum in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands to the auction of 24 GHz spectrum would get more spectrum into carriers’ hands without substantial delays.
“Not only have these bands been the focus of standards and technology development, but the commission already has adopted technical and licensing rules for these bands, making them ripe for auction as soon as possible,” CTIA officials wrote.
The group also said the second auction should begin accepting applications after the close of bids in the first — which would help prevent the industry from “running afoul of the commission’s anti-collusion rules” — and said the FCC should publish a calendar outlining its plans for future spectrum auctions.
“With myriad economic and social benefits at stake, taking action this year is critical to ensuring that the U.S. crosses the 5G finish line ahead of its global competitors,” the filing continued.
CCA, which represents smaller carriers, echoed those sentiments and said FCC should “auction all remaining and available mmW bands together.”
The group said most spectrum in the 28 GHz band is already accounted for — just 2 percent remains available in the nation’s top 50 markets, officials wrote — and suggested delaying auctions in those bands would hinder future deployments, “effectively giving dominant carriers a head start in 5G deployment.”
“Given the extensive upfront capital needed to participate in any auction, potential bidders may be unwilling or unable to participate in a series of mmW auctions, thereby reducing participation and auction revenue,” CCA added in its filing.