The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced last week that the clock phase of the C-Band auction (107), which made available licenses for 280 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band, has concluded. The auction was the largest of mid-band 5G spectrum to date, as well as the highest-grossing spectrum auction ever held in the United States. Auction 107 lasted 97 rounds and with gross proceeds totaling $80.9 billion.
“This historic FCC auction is already a record-breaking success,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “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 $44.9 billion. “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. 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.”
Pai also thanks the Commission staff for their work on the C-Band proceeding, as well as Commissioner Brendan Carr and former Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for, “their support of the many policy choices that led to this tremendous accomplishment.”
With the clock phase of Auction 107 complete, winning bidders will now have the opportunity to bid for frequency-specific licenses in the assignment phase of Auction 107. The FCC will release a public notice soon announcing further details regarding the assignment phase, including the date and time when bidding in the assignment phase will commence.
“The results of Auction 107 demonstrate the critical importance of mid-band spectrum to satisfy the growing needs of the American public for 5G wireless broadband services,” Wiley Rein LLP Parnter Ari Meltzer said in a statement. “We have heard the term ‘beachfront’ used to describe various bands over the last several years, but the market has spoken, and it has confirmed that mid-band has the view and the amenities to go with it.”
“The U.S. communications industry has once again demonstrated its financial commitment to deploying 5G wireless services throughout America by bidding over $80 billion to obtain C-Band spectrum through FCC Auction 107,” Wiley Rein Consultant Richard Engelman said. “Competition for this important spectrum was intense throughout the country, with bidders demanding more blocks than available in every market for at least 21 bidding rounds. The FCC will now start an assignment phase to determine which specific blocks the winning bidders will receive in each market.”
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.