Satellite service provider coalition the C-Band Alliance (CBA) offered a cash incentive to the US government, its latest move to quell opposition to a proposed private auction of mid-band spectrum.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the CBA stated the offer could “provide billions of dollars to the US Treasury”, while also covering satellite operators’ transition costs and ensuring mid-band spectrum considered critical for 5G is swiftly released to mobile operators.

The group originally proposed a private sale of 180MHz of spectrum in the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz band (C-Band), but upped this to 280MHZ in late October in a bid to overcome objections from politicians seeking a public auction.

In addition to offering to pay some of the cash raised to the government, CBA also pledged to conduct the auction in Q1 2020. It outlined a formula for contributions ranging from 30 per cent to 75 per cent of net proceeds from the sale.

Analysts at New Street Research previously estimated a public C-Band auction could raise as much as $50 billion, given mid-band spectrum is both critical to operators’ 5G plans and a limited resource in the US.

CBA added it is working with members of Congress to develop a proposal to use some of the money earmarked for the Treasury to fund construction of an open access 5G network for rural broadband, to be deployed by a third party within five years of the sale.

The FCC is expected to take action on the C-Band issue before the end of 2019.