5G and Beyond

FCC 5G mmWave Auction Hits $677.4M

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 28GHz auction hit $677.4 million in bids this Friday, as early technology demonstrations show next-generation services require large swathes of spectrum to deliver multi-megabit speeds.

The FCC now lists bids of $677,408,100 for the first millimeter wave (mmWave) auction for 5G in the US. The agency's auction dashboard lists 2,889 auctions with provisionally winning bids (PWBs). The FCC still holds 183 licenses.

The auction will begin again Monday at 10:00 a.m.

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Millimeter wave 5G networks need huge bandwidth to juice performance, as shown this week in 5G demonstrations in Maui and 5G Home early service data from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s CEO, Hans Vestberg. (See 5G Demos Show the Tech's Spectrum Achilles Heel.)

In Maui, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s 39GHz demonstration reportedly used 100MHz bandwidth to deliver downloads of 130 Mbit/s to 140 Mbit/s. And Vestberg confirmed that Verizon is using 400MHz of 28GHz for its service, which delivers downloads of 800 Mbit/s or 900 Mbit/s. (See Verizon's Vestberg Mum on 2019 Capex but Ebullient on 5G Prospects.)

The high-band spectrum is not the only band expected to be used for 5G. Executives from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all said that 5G will require low-, mid- and high-band frequencies to deliver a combination of coverage, propagation and download speed. (See AT&T: We're Not Only Focused on mmWave for 5G and T-Mobile: 5G Lets Us Take Broadband Across America.)

The 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum auction began November 14. It will be followed directly by the 24Ghz auction, with more auctions expected in 2019. (See FCC's 28GHz 5G Auction Kicks Off With $36M+ in Bids.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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