mmWave auction bidding continues today

After five rounds of bidding, the Federal Communications Commission’s auction of millimeter wave spectrum for 5G service has raised more than $62.2 million. Two more rounds of bidding are scheduled for today, after bidding in Auction 101 was temporarily suspended on Thursday afternoon due to severe weather  in the Washington, D.C. area.

Auction 101 includes just over 3,000 county-based licenses in two 425-megahertz blocks of spectrum at 27.5 – 27.925 GHz and 27.925 – 28.350 GHz. Bidding began on Wednesday with forty qualified bidders.

More than 2,100 of the licenses have received bids, with the FCC still holding 951 licenses.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that this spectrum “will be critical in deploying 5G services and applications.

“Between the auctions this year and next, the FCC will push almost 5 gigahertz of spectrum into the commercial marketplace over the course of the next 15 months,” Pai went on. “To put that in perspective, that is more spectrum than is currently used for terrestrial mobile broadband by all wireless service providers combined. We will continue to pursue an aggressive spectrum strategy, a key component—along with wireless infrastructure deployment and regulatory modernization—of the FCC’s plan to Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology.”

Commissioner Brendan Carr called the auction “another solid step forward in winning the global race to 5G, while Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that the mmWave auction puts the U.S. “back in the running for next-generation wireless leadership. Rosenworcel also called for the development of an auction 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.”

Auction 101 bidding will continue early next week but will be halted for the Thanksgiving holiday and then resume on Nov. 26.

In related news, two senators introduced a bill on government spectrum valuation that would require U.S. federal agencies to put a market-based valuation on their spectrum holdings.

Commissioner O’Rielly praised the bill, saying that it “will fix a budgetary anomaly and promote overall spectrum efficiency by incentivizing each agency to release unneeded spectrum. It’s an idea whose time has come and has generated diverse support,” including from Rosenworcel.

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