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FCC's 3.5GHz Auction to Offer 7 Unpaired 10MHz Channels in County Licenses

The FCC said it will auction 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum licenses in seven 10-megahertz unpaired channels in each county-based license area.

September 26, 2019

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission today voted to seek comment on proposed application and bidding procedures for the auction of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the 3.5 GHz Band.

The 3.5 GHz band holds the potential to be prime spectrum for 5G services, and the Commission is planning to auction PALs to increase innovation and investment in this band. Bidding in this auction, which is designated as Auction 105, is scheduled to commence on June 25, 2020.

Today’s Public Notice proposes to offer seven PALs in each county-based license area, for a total of 22,631 PALs nationwide. Each PAL will consist of a 10-megahertz unpaired channel assigned by automated frequency coordinators, known as Spectrum Access Systems. Consistent with the Commission’s rules, Priority Access Licensees would be permitted to aggregate up to four PALs in any license area.

The Public Notice seeks comment on the following proposals:

  • Using an ascending clock auction format (similar to the format used for Auction 102 and to be used for Auction 103), in which bidders indicate their demand for generic license blocks in specific counties;

  • Offering bidders the option to bid at a Cellular Market Area (CMA) level in the 172 CMAs that are classified as Metropolitan Statistical Areas and comprise multiple counties; and

  • Incorporating an "activity upper limit" that would allow bidders to submit bids that exceed their current bidding eligibility, to help mitigate the possibility of losing bidding eligibility under certain circumstances.

The Public Notice also proposes rules for bidding credit caps, upfront payments, bidding eligibility, minimum opening bids, bid removal and withdrawal, and other auction procedures.

The action taken today is another step toward implementing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s 5G FAST plan, which is critical to securing American leadership in 5G and boosting economic growth, job creation, and America’s global competitiveness.

Action by the Commission September 26, 2019 by Public Notice (FCC 19-96). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks approving and issuing separate statements.


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