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C-Band Auction Ends, Generates $80.9B

(Image credit: Dawnco)

WASHINGTON—The clock phase of the C-band auction has come to a close, with the FCC announcing that its sale of mid-band 5G spectrum generated more than $80.9 billion in proceeds. In total, there were 57 bidders on 5,684 licenses.

The C-band auction was the selling of licenses in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band of spectrum, as part of the FCC’s plan to clear the lower 300 MHz of the 3.7-4.2 GHz mid-band for the purpose of 5G development. Previous occupants—primarily satellite operators—of the 3.7-3.98 GHz band will transition to the upper 4.0-4.2 GHz portion. A 20 MHz band will be used as a guard band between the satellite operators and new wireless users.

The C-band auction was the FCC's largest spectrum auction ever, with the $80.9 billion far exceeding the previous record of $44.9 billion (FCC’s 2014 AWS-3 auction).

“These results represent a strong endorsement by the private sector of the service rules and transition plan put in place by the FCC to quickly make the C-band a critical part of 5G rollout in the United States. And they vindicate the hard choices the FCC made during the C-band proceeding—and that we made them,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “The FCC confronted a host of technical, legal, practical, and political challenges in structuring this auction. It would have been easy to delay. But we rightly pushed ahead and overcame every one of those obstacles. As a result, we significantly advanced United States leadership in 5G and have enabled America’s wireless consumers to more quickly benefit from 5G services.”

The next step in the process will see winning bidders bid for frequency-specific licenses in the assignment phase. The FCC will release a public notice announcing further details, including date and time of when the assignment phase will begin.

For more information, visit the FCC’s website