The US mobile industry applauded a move by the Trump administration and Department of Defence (DoD) to free up more key mid-band spectrum for 5G with the auction of an additional 100MHz.

Under a plan revealed yesterday (10 August), the DoD will make airwaves between 3.45GHz and 3.55GHz currently employed for radar operations available for shared use with commercial operators.

In a statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai hailed the move as a “key milestone in securing US leadership in 5G”. Combined with previously announced auctions of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band (3.55GHz to 3.65GHz) and C-Band (3.7GHz to 4.2GHz), he noted the country is now “on track to have a 530MHz swathe of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45GHz to 3.98GHz”.

DoD chief information officer Dana Deasy stated the spectrum will be auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) once service rules for the band are established. He added the band is expected to use a sharing scheme similar to that previously employed to coordinate federal and non-federal usage in the AWS-3 band.

While neither official offered a timeline for the auction, Pai tweeted he intended to move “quickly”.

The announcement drew praise from industry associations 5G Americas; CTIA, which has long called for additional mid-band airwaves for 5G; and WISPA, which said it will provide “more of the fuel providers and the industry need”.