& cplSiteName &

Get Ready! FCC 600MHz Auction Bidding Starts May 31

Dan Jones
5/5/2016
50%
50%

The FCC is now getting ready to auction 600MHz spectrum to mobile operators at the end of the month.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that TV broadcasters have agreed to clear 126MHz of the low-band airwaves to auction to wireless providers, starting on May 31.

"The 126 MHz initial clearing target ensures that wireless carriers and other forward auction bidders have their chance to compete for the maximum amount of lowband 'beachfront' spectrum," says FCC chairman in a statement.

The massive amount of paired spectrum available in the 600MHz auction means that it could dwarf even the hugely valuable AWS-3 spectrum, which earned $45 billion in 2015. Some commentators are even predicting that it could double the total of the AWS auction. (See Hey Big Spenders! AT&T, Dish & VZ Splash Cash on Spectrum.)


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our new 5G site here on Light Reading.


There are 104 companies and organizations that are eligible to bid in the auction. These include all the major US operators, except Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), as well as outsiders, like Sprint's majority owner, SoftBank Corp. (See FCC's Wheeler: Go High for 5G, 600MHz Switch Will Be Slow.)

The 600MHz auction phase, like the AWS-3 sell-off, could still take months to play out. (See 600MHz Auction Could Take Months to Shake Out.)

But is it 5G?
The FCC's Wheeler once again associated the low-band 600MHz spectrum with "the age of 5G," in his statement. He has previously said that 600MHz could help "accelerate US deployment of 5G" by using it for the "deployment of a wide-area 5G coverage layer."

This makes some sense, it usually takes a couple of years for operators to get spectrum ready for commericial deployment. For instance, commercial AWS-3 LTE-Advanced deployments are expected to start in 2018.

So, 600MHz would likely be ready for use in 2019 or 2020, just as mobile 5G networks are expected to arrive. The strengh of 600MHz, meanwhile, is that it improves wide-range and in-building coverage.

This is stark contrast to the centimeter and milimeter wave bands that the FCC also wants to open up. These should deliver high-speed services but in short-range small cell-type deployments. Most of the test licenses for 28GHz and 39GHz radios so far are asking to test at ranges of under a kilometer or up to 5kms. (See AT&T Will Do More 5G Tests in N.J.)

Sprint, meanwhile, is now pushing its own 2.5GHz spectrum as a 5G low-band option for the US. "We view our 2.5GHz spectrum as the low-band spectrum of 5GHz," CEO Marcello Claure said on the operator's second-quarter earnings call earlier this week. (See Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G.)

Of course, working on defining the 5G specification is beginning now. So it remains to be seen if the technology can be created to enable both low-band and milimeter wave spectrum services over 5G, as the FCC's Wheeler appears to want.

Nonetheless, it seems that the long-delayed 600MHz auction will finally provide a major windfall for the US government.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
5/6/2016 | 1:18:17 PM
$90B?
Seems insane right?
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (6) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 7/26/2017
The Hidden (Human) Cost of Automation
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 7/26/2017
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
What's a Little Throttling Between Friends?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.