US tops $80bn in record 5G spectrum auction

January 18, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
US tops $80bn in record 5G spectrum auction
Auction 107 will raise $80.9bn (€67bn) for 280MHz in the 3.7-3.98 GHz C-band for 5G spectrum in the US

The US Federal Communications Commission is seeing a record $80.9bn (€67bn) in its latest 5G spectrum auction.

The auction, the last before chairman Ajit Pai steps down on Wednesday when president-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, is for 280MHz in the 3.7-3.98 GHz C-band.

While Pai hails the success of auction 107, it is reminiscent of the record-breaking 4G spectrum auctions in the UK back in 2011 that operators later flagged as counter-productive as they actually slowed the rollout.

“This historic FCC auction is already a record-breaking success.  Bidders have won all of the 5,684 spectrum blocks that were up for bid.  And gross proceeds have exceeded $80.9 billion, shattering the prior FCC auction record of $44.9bn,” said Pai, who said he will step down

“These results represent a strong endorsement by the private sector of the service rules and transition plan put in place by the FCC to quickly make the C-band a critical part of 5G rollout in the United States,” he said. ” And they vindicate the hard choices the FCC made during the C-band proceeding—and that we made them.  The FCC confronted a host of technical, legal, practical, and political challenges in structuring this auction.  It would have been easy to delay.  But we rightly pushed ahead and overcame every one of those obstacles.  As a result, we significantly advanced United States leadership in 5G and have enabled America’s wireless consumers to more quickly benefit from 5G services." 

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