39 GHz Under Review as FCC Preps for Next 5G Spectrum Auction


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The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is giving incumbent licenses in the 39 GHz band options as the agency prepares to repack the band ahead of Auction 103. The auction will offer flexible use licenses in the Upper 37 GHz (37.6–38.6 GHz), 39 GHz (38.6–40 GHz), and 47 GHz (47.2–48.2 GHz) bands.

In addition to 5G services, the FCC says reconfiguring the band will also allow for the Internet of Things and other advanced services.

Incumbent 39 GHz licensees must choose among three options. They can either accept modified licenses based on the FCC’s proposed reconfigured holdings, accept modified licenses based on an acceptable alternative they’ve submitted or, give up spectrum use rights under all 39 GHz licenses in exchange for an incentive payment and eligibility to bid on new licenses. That’s a variation of what TV licensees were offered in the incentive auction when the agency wanted to repack the television band. 

The Commission previously decided that separate licenses held by entities that control or are controlled by each other and/or have controlling ownership interests in common will be treated as holdings by a single incumbent when reconfiguring existing 39 GHz licenses.

Auction 103 is due to start December 10. Existing licenses will be modified or cancelled in exchange for any incentive payments after Auction 103 has ended.

Read the list of 39 GHz reconfigured holdings here. Timelines and filing due dates are listed here.

June 7, 2019

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