The winners of the FCC’s mid-range critical auction, which ended last November, received official licenses to use the airwaves, for which they spent a total of $ 22.4 billion, the FCC said on Wednesday.

According to the commission, a total of 4,041 licenses were issued to 23 different participants. Licensors hoping to use the spectrum to deploy 5G have yet to recoup the costs of incumbent non-federal users of the band that was used for radar purposes, and the FCC said further details on those costs will be set out later. submission.

Auction 110 saw the government sell off 100MHz spectrum in the middle band – about 3.45GHz band – divided into 10 10MHz blocks for each partial economic zone or PEA that the FCC adopted in 2014. (There are 416 PEAs covering the US, meaning that 119 specific licenses were not sold at auction.)

AT&T most consumers for the 5G spectrum

The spectrum is expected to be used mainly by major wireless telecommunications companies to provide 5G service across the country. Therefore, spectrum prices in sparsely populated PEAs were relatively low, while prices for blocks covering large cities were huge offers. The biggest spend on the auction was AT&T, which spent more than $ 9 billion on a number of radio frequency units covering major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., in addition to many licenses in less populated areas.

Close behind was DISH Network, which spent more than $ 7.3 billion on a similar range of spectrum in both large urban and rural areas. T-Mobile also grabbed important spectrum blocks in both high- and low-population areas for a total cost of nearly $ 2.9 billion.

The mid-range spectrum is considered to be particularly valuable for operators introducing 5G, as it is located in the “golden hair zone” of the airwaves. Particularly high frequencies – for example in 45GHz and higher bands – tend to have much wider channels available and thus can maintain extremely high bandwidth levels, but are limited in the range in which it is useful. to spread. In contrast, lower frequencies, below the GHz band, can cover huge geographical areas from one access point, but usually have smaller channels and thus cannot provide the same level of bandwidth.

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