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C-Band Auction Set to Move Into Assignment Phase

C-band satellite
(Image credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—After raising more than $80.9 billion thus far, the FCC’s C-band auction is set to continue with the assignment phase scheduled to begin on Feb. 8.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has released a public notice announcing the upcoming assignment phase, where bidders that won generic spectrum blocks during the clock phase of the auction will now have the chance to bid on preferred combinations of frequency-specific license assignments, consistent with their clock phase winnings.

Fifty-seven bidders won the 5,684 spectrum blocks available during the clock phase. Now, any of those bidders can bid on frequency-specific licenses, though they are not required. If they do not bid, they will be assigned contiguous frequencies corresponding to the number of generic blocks they won.

The C-band auction is selling 280 MHz of spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band for the development of 5G. Previous occupants of that spectrum will transition to the upper 4.0-4.2 GHz of the C-band over the next few years.

“This auction has exceeded expectations, and, at this point, we are pushing forward to get this critical piece of mid-band spectrum to market quickly, where it will help American consumers tap into next generation wireless services,” said Rosenworcel. “I thank the FCC staff who work so hard to ensure the success of our spectrum auctions. Few things we do have as great an impact on the day-to-day lives of the American people as our work to ensure spectrum is available for wireless connectivity.”

The FCC’s public notice explains the assignment phase process, including how to access bidding options, view sequence and timing for assignment rounds and identify what rounds they can participate in. A mock auction will take place on Feb. 4 before the real deal on Feb. 8.