Sunday, January 16, 2022

Winning bidders in FCC's midband 5G spectrum auction

AT&T was the top winner in the FCC's "Andromeda" auction of flexible-use licenses in the 3.45 GHz band. Gross proceeds for the auction exceeded $22.5 billion. The list of winning bidders was published on Friday.

Auction 110 makes available 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for commercial use across the contiguous United States.  The spectrum licenses are divided into ten 10-megahertz blocks licensed by geographic areas known as Partial Economic Areas (PEAs).  License winners will operate within a cooperative sharing framework that will enable commercial use by an array of service providers, while also ensuring coexistence with federal incumbents where and when they require continued access to the band.  

“Today’s 3.45 GHz auction results demonstrate that the Commission’s pivot to mid-band spectrum for 5G was the right move,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “I am pleased to see that this auction also is creating opportunities for a wider variety of competitors, including small businesses and rural service providers.  This is a direct result of the Commission’s efforts to structure this auction with diversity and competition front of mind.  Enabling commercial use of this spectrum is important to America’s continuing economic recovery and 5G leadership, and I look forward to the continued collaboration between the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies to find innovative ways to make spectrum available for next generation commercial and government services.”  

Additional notes:

  • Thirteen of the twenty-three companies with winning bids in Auction 110 qualified as small businesses or as entities serving rural communities.  
  • Compared to the prior 5G auction, this auction saw a substantial increase in the number of winning bidders per market: over one-third of the top 100 markets have at least four winning bidders, compared with 10% of the top 100 markets for Auction 107. 
  • Notably, the 3.45 GHz auction closed as one of highest grossing auctions in the FCC’s history. 
  • Collectively, the 3.45 GHz band and the neighboring 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands represent 530 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G, the next generation of wireless services.  Wider 5G deployment means that more people in more places will be more connected.