USA: FCC approves terms for mmWave 5G auction in 2019

donderdag, 13 december 2018 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

12 dec. 2018

The FCC has approved plans to release mmWave spectrum for 5G services in an auction in 2019. The order covers the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands, with a total of 3,400 MHz available.

The US regulator's decision modifies the band plans for the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands from 200 MHz blocks to 100 MHz blocks to be licensed by so-called Partial Economic Areas, a geographic designation used by the FCC which is similar to metropolitan areas. The three spectrum bands will be auctioned at the same time, using an incentive auction mechanism that will offer contiguous blocks of spectrum for the new licensees while preserving spectrum usage rights for existing licensees in the bands. A pre-auction process will help incumbent licensees to rationalize their holdings.

The incentive auction of these spectrum bands will have two phases: a clock phase in which bidders may bid on generic license blocks, and an assignment phase in which clock phase winners may bid on specific frequencies. Incentive payments will be offered to incumbents who choose to relinquish their spectrum usage rights to make new licenses available, and they can also use their existing holdings as credit towards bids in the auction. If they choose not to give up existing rights, the FCC's order provides for ways to adapt their licences so they align with the new spectrum plan.

US operators, as well as vendors such as Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and Huawei, have already been testing these bands for 5G services, with plans particularly advanced for the 39 GHz band. AT&T is expected to use the 39 GHz band to boost its 5G coverage in urban areas. The company lost out in a bidding war last year with Verizon to acquire significant holdings in the range with the company Straight Path.

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