US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai (pictured) unveiled plans to supplement the agency’s forthcoming 28GHz and 24GHz auctions with a third mmWave spectrum sale in the second half of 2019.
In a blog post, Pai said the proposed proceeding would be a joint auction of three different bands: 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz.
He noted several steps would be required to tee up the auction, starting with a notice of proposed rulemaking to “clean up the 39GHz band and move incumbents into rationalised license holdings”. The chairman added the measure, which will be up for a vote at the FCC’s August meeting, will also include a proposal to create 100MHz license blocks for all three bands “so they can more easily be auctioned together”.
The move comes as the FCC finalises its rules for the 28GHz and 24GHz auctions, scheduled to begin in November, and in response to industry pleas for a joint auction of mmWave spectrum as operators scramble to secure airwaves necessary for 5G launches.
T-Mobile US and the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents regional US operators, pressed the FCC to include 28GHz, 24GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands in a single proceeding. They argued such a move would draw more participation, yield higher proceeds and give smaller operators a better shot at getting a slice of the spectrum.