FCC Garners $284M in Initial Bids in New 24GHz 5G Auction

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
3/14/2019



The FCC pulled in $284 million in the first round of its second-ever auction of 5G spectrum licenses, which commenced on Thursday.

The government agency is auctioning off 2,909 24GHz millimeter wave licenses. Total bids in the first round hit $284,144,450. In contrast, the previous 28GHz 5G spectrum license auction kicked off with just over $36 million in bids on November 14, 2018. The 28GHz auction ended in January with total provisionally winning bids of just over $700 million. (See FCC's 28GHz 5G Auction Kicks Off With $36M+ in Bids.)

Much of the early bidding excitement in this 24GHz auction is centering around major metropolitan areas in the US. For instance, the New York license scored a high bid of $5,047,000, with Los Angeles following at $3,882,000 and Chicago at $1,873,000.

Qualified bidders in the auction include major mobile operators such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, among 38 bidders. Cable companies, Cox Communications and Frontier, however, were turned down as "non-qualified" by the FCC. (See Cox, Frontier Won't Bid in 24GHz 5G Auction .)

The FCC won't reveal the identity of winning bidders in either the 28GHz or 24GHz auctions until the 24GHz auction is over. (See The FCC Closes First 5G Auction With $703M in Bids.)

Spectrum analysts anticipate that the 24GHz auction should be more successful than the previous 28GHz sell-off. AllNet Insights & Analytics predicted in January that the 24GHz Auction 102 could generate between $2.4 billion to $5.6 billion in final proceeds. (See Forget 28GHz, the 24GHz Auction Is the One to Watch.)

Meanwhile, AT&T has already asked the FCC for permission to test 5G equipment at 24GHz. (See AT&T Wants to Test 24GHz Equipment as New 5G Auction Looms.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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