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US spectrum auction starts slowly

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The latest US airwave licence auction got off to a modest start with initial bids in the first two rounds totalling just $42 million and about one-third of the licences getting no opening bid at all, notes Fortune. “Still, it’s just the beginning of the FCC’s 101st spectrum auction, which likely will run for several more weeks and bring increasingly higher bids. The agency is selling more than 3,000 licences to broadcast in the 28 GHz band, generally best for new 5G wireless networks coming online over the next few years that will be anywhere from 10 to 40 times faster than current 4G LTE networks.” Following earlier auctions, Verizon already owns about half the licences in the 28 GHz band, including in many prime urban locations, dampening bidding interest. The carrier is testing a speedy home internet service using the band in parts of four cities. For the latest auction, the agency qualified 40 potential bidders, including entities representing all of the four largest carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. “Some of the licences covering more rural areas could be bought by much smaller companies or even individuals, as happened at some past FCC auctions. Still, analysts don’t expect that the current auction will raise anywhere close to the $20 billion paid for licences in last year’s 700 MHz auction.” With so much of the spectrum in the 28 GHz band already taken, many bidders may be more active at the next FCC auction, for licences in the 24 GHz band, which begins after the current series ends. Then next year, the FCC plans to hold at least three more auctions covering licenses in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 49 GHz bands. The FCC also wants to increase bandwidth for connected devices, such as IoT and broadband data, including those communicating via Wi-Fi, notes Network World. “A number of significant unlicensed bandwidth blocks are, or will be, available, including at 6 GHz, 5.9 GHz, and 3.5 GHz. Potential stumbles include that interference mitigation needs to be resolved in a couple of instances.” Read more  and here.

  • Tuesday, 20 November 2018

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