The US Federal Communications Commission pressed on with plans to hold three 5G auctions, as it finalised rules for the sale of licences in the 28GHz and 24GHz bands, and proposed an incentive auction to clear three further frequencies.
On November 14 the auction for licences for the 28GHz band will begin, with the sale of blocks in the 24GHz band offered immediately after the completion of the first sale.
As widely expected, operators must apply and bid on the two auctions independently, as the processes will have completely different bidding formats and follow separate rules.
In the first sale the regulator will offer two 455MHz blocks per county in the 28GHz band, which will follow its standard multiround bidding format for specific blocks.
Sale of licences for seven 100MHz blocks in the 24GHz band will employ a “clock phase” format where operators bid on, and are then allocated, generic blocks: a second phase will then be held to decide the specifics of each allotted licence.
The FCC added it would prohibit the use of the frequencies for “certain communications” and will impose credit caps of $25 million for small businesses and $10 million for rural service providers.
In another of its swathe of announcements made yesterday (2 August), it outlined proposals for a third 5G auction for combined allocations in the 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands. The intention for this was previously raised by FCC chair Ajit Pai in a blog post last month.
Ahead of the cross-band assignment, the FCC plans to modify the band for use in 100MHz channel and hold an incentive auction. The process would see organisations already using the airwaves offered payments to clear the band: usually this takes the form of a cut of the proceeds when the airwaves are sold.
A similar auction clearing broadcast spectrum for wireless services raised $19.6 billion in February 2017, however the sum received was a long way short of the $86.4 billion the FCC initially claimed it could achieve. Tepid interest eventually led to the amount of spectrum offered being drastically reduced.
The FCC also unveiled a series of measures it said would speed access to physical infrastructure to install network equipment.
Changes include amending laws around moving existing kit on poles ahead of new equipment being installed, and other measures to assess local and federal planning laws which could hamper deployments.