Senior officials warned the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) won’t tolerate operators sitting on valuable mmWave spectrum as an auction opened, noting the agency plans to more rigorously enforce licence requirements.
The comments came a day before the start of bidding in the FCC’s 28GHz auction today (14 November). In a call with journalists, the FCC said it had set strict performance requirements for the licences to encourage the swift rollout of 5G services and will take dim view on any attempt to seek a waiver of the requirements ahead of construction deadlines.
They added the bar for waivers has been set high, with companies required to prove they face extraordinary circumstances before such requests are granted. A similarly stern stance will be adopted for licences in the 24GHz band, which are due to be auctioned following the 28GHz procedure.
FCC officials said the agency is also looking to prevent other abuses in the mmWave auctions, highlighting the implementation of monetary caps on the discounts typically received by small and rural operators. This is meant to discourage companies from attempting to take advantage of the discount programme by bidding through smaller entities; something Dish Network was accused of doing in an AWS-3 auction in 2015.
Lay of the land
A total of 3,072 licences offered in 425MHz blocks are up for grabs in the 28GHz auction, covering around half of the counties in the US. Verizon is the primary incumbent in the band, though AT&T and T-Mobile US also hold a smaller number of 28GHz licences.
The officials said there is no set end date to the 28GHz auction, noting it will close when there is no more bidding activity on any of the available licences.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back