The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday commenced its first-ever high-band 5G spectrum auction.
Bidding began on Wednesday on spectrum in the 28 GHz band and was be followed by bidding for spectrum in the 24 GHz band. The FCC is making 1.55 gigahertz of spectrum available through these two auctions. These auctions will be followed by a 2019 auction of three more millimeter-wave spectrum bands—37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz.
"These airwaves will be critical in deploying 5G services and applications. And we’re not stopping there. 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," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
"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. The 5G FAST plan is critical to boosting economic growth, job creation, and America’s global competitiveness, and we’ll continue to execute on this important national priority," he added.
5G networks are expected to be at least 100 times faster than current 4G networks and cut latency, or delays, to less than one-thousandth of a second from one-hundredth of a second in 4G. While millimeter-wave spectrum offers faster speeds, it cannot cover big geographic areas and will require significant new small cell infrastructure deployments.
AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc are working to acquire spectrum and are developing and testing 5G networks. The first 5G-compatible commercial cell phones are expected to go on sale next year.