US auction 101 in 28 MHz band complete

The US auction 101 for award of frequencies in the band 28 MHz concluded after 38 days and 176 rounds of bidding, raising USD 702 million. It ended with provisionally winning bids on 2,965 licenses out of the 3,072 licenses available, leaving just 107 licenses still held by the regulator FCC.

Auction 101 was the first auction of Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licenses. It included licenses in two 425 MHz blocks of spectrum at 27.5 – 27.925 GHz and 27.925 – 28.350 GHz. Forty qualified bidders participated. Licences in the 27.5–28.35 GHz (28 GHz) band shall promote the deployment of 5G technology, IoT, and other advanced spectrum-based services at frequencies above 24 GHz.

The 28 GHz band is part of 5G auction plans of other regulators elsewhere in the world, too. E. g. in June 2018, the 28 GHz spectrum was auctioned also in South Korea, in a block auction together with 3.5 GHz band. Of the total 2,400 MHz available in the 28 GHz band, each of the three local operators secured 800 MHz.

With significant amounts of millimetre-wave spectrum already held by carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, the Auction 101 wasn’t expected to be a record-breaker for money raised. A few licenses went for as low as USD 200, and quite a number of licenses have provisionally winning bids of less than USD 5,000. Fewer than 200 licenses had winning bids of USD 1 million or more.

FCC is expected to announce the date of the new auction in the 24 GHz band, Auction 102, soon.

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