Carriers, Associations Push FCC to Auction More mmW Spectrum

The FCC has scheduled auctions for the high-band 28 and 24 GHz spectrum in November, but wireless carriers and associations who represent them, urge the Commission to do more.

The Competitive Carriers Association encouraged the FCC to auction all available millimeter wave (mmW) spectrum bands as expeditiously as possible, modify bidding procedures to enhance participation and ensure anti-collusion rules are not overly restrictive. Minor improvements in the FCC’s proposed 28 and 24 GHz auction plans “will ensure mmW spectrum auctions enhance next generation and 5G deployments in both urban and rural areas of the United States and enhance auction revenue,” CCA said in comments filed last week.

CCA believes the 28 GHz band is likely to support 5G development sooner than other mmW bands, because it has emerged as a “focus” of academic and industry efforts in 5G and equipment development in 28 GHz is “more advanced than in other bands.”  

After that auction, CCA suggests the FCC auction all remaining and available mmW bands together including the 24 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. Holding off “will delay service deployment and create disparity with respect to the 28 GHz band; effectively giving dominant carriers a head start in 5G deployment,” says CCA.

T-Mobile reminds the agency it has said repeatedly, it wants the Commission to auction all millimeter wave spectrum at once. But if the Commission intends to hold the 28 GHz and 24 GHz auctions separately, “it should provide sufficient time between the two quiet periods to allow carriers to assess the results of the first auction and prepare for the second,” says the carrier.

CTIA recommends that the Commission auction the 37/39 GHz and 47 GHz bands alongside the 24 GHz band, “to the extent that doing so would not cause substantial delay.” AT&T “strongly urges” the FCC to include the 37.6-40.0 GHz band and 47 GHz band into Auction 102 (now slated for 24 GHz), “even if that may result in some marginal delay in Auction 102, and create separation between Auction 101 (28 GHz) and 102.”

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

May 14, 2018         

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