More Mid-band Spectrum on the Table for FCC Meeting

Cell towers and radios for 5G

A continued increase in demand and an auction that surpassed expectations this summer is paving the way for another auction offering mid-band spectrum. The FCC is holding an open meeting on September 30th and will look to move forward with opening up more mid-band spectrum for auction.

This isn’t the first time the FCC has floated the idea. With so many companies looking to take advantage of mid-band spectrum, the U.S. government is continuing to work with balancing the need for spectrum in the private sector and its use by government entities. This is of particular importance due to its applications by the Department of Defense. Now that there seems to be an avenue that will support the use of the spectrum by all parties, the White House is urging the FCC to create the necessary rules so that an auction may be held in 2021. 

The commercial use of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band is what we will see on the table this fall. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, “We are moving forward quickly, in coordination with the Executive Branch, to ensure that this mid-band spectrum is available for commercial 5G deployment. This is another major step forward in advancing American leadership in 5G and producing benefits for America’s wireless consumers.” The meeting will also work to fulfill changes that came about December of 2019 by removing non-federal users from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band.

Overall, the FCC is looking to position 530 MHz of mid-band spectrum to fulfill demand as 5G networks and capabilities expand. The billions it raised from the CBRS auction this summer is setting the stage for a strong finish this December as the FCC prepares for its C-band auction. The auction will present bidders with the opportunity to purchase rights to 280 MHz in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

Noticeable shifts have been seen this year with how 5G can be used and who is participating. While AT&T was a no-show at this summer’s auction, John Deere and others raised eyebrows as bidders showing demand in unexpected places. Two growing factors for this expanded range comes from 5G’s fixed wireless applications and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Though DISH officially stepped into the world of wireless after purchasing Boost Mobile when Sprint merged with T-Mobile, the company has been collecting spectrum for quite some time with this summer being no exception. As privatized fixed wireless networks grow in demand, DISH is expected to play a big part in making this a reality. A notable shift in the world of IoT is observed as companies were purchasing small, yet expensive licenses for areas that are void of population. The idea is to use these licenses on machines rather than powering personal devices such as a smartphone or tablet. With future auctions on deck and the continued cooperation between government entities, the proposed auction next year is positioning itself to be a rounding success.

Source: Fierce Wireless