5G: Another FCC auction to jumpstart carrier deployments

The FCC is auctioning off 100MHz more of mid-range radio-frequency licenses suitable for 5G services and to trying to make it easier for the winners to put them to use quickly.

The Federal Communications Commission plans yet another auction of radio-frequency spectrum suitable for delivering 5G services and continues to scrutinize the security of 5G infrastructure made in China, both of which will affect how quickly 5G services are deployed.

The commission says it will seek bids on licensing another 100MHz swath of RF spectrum in the 3.4GHz mid-band range, which lies close to the C-band frequencies that were auctioned off late last year, and will impose stiff build-out requirements on winning bidders in order to get 5G infrastructure up and running quickly.

“[D]uring the past few years the United States was slow, relative to other countries, to recognize the importance of mid-band spectrum for 5G,” said acting FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement. “So mid-band spectrum has been the critical component that is missing, and our action here helps fix that.”

This is a continuation of long-standing plans to open more spectrum for 5G use, but ABI Research analyst Leo Gergs said the timing of the announcements marks a subtle shift. “What the new administration has done has accelerated these plans,” Gergs said.

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