US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun the auction of 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G networks.
The FCC said it was its first spectrum auction for a mid-band.
The spectrum will be shared via Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and the winner will get priority access licenses (PAL).
FCC will auction 700MHz out of the 1000MHz bandwidth between 3.55GHz and 3.65GHz. 1 PAL will equal 100MHz. Four PAL can be grouped together for channel aggregation.
The US has used the mid-band for military use only in the past, giving them incumbent access.
22,631 PAL will be up for grabs from county level bidders. FCC will auction 7 PAL in 3233 counties. 271 companies has been chosen as bidders on July 1.
Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all taking part. Verizon was the most interested in securing 3.5GHz spectrum. The carrier has currently deployed 5G using high-band 28GHz.
According to OpenSignal, 5G use time remained 0.4% on Verizon networks while this was 22.5% for T-Mobile. Verizon’s expansion to mid-band or lower for 5G networks will help improve consumer use time of the network, it said.
In South Korea, telcos have deployed their 5G networks using the 3.5GHz spectrum. The Ministry of Science has demonstrated download speeds of 1355Mbps, but this has been criticized as a “show.”
The measurement was done right next to an antenna and when the subway goes off line, a person familiar with the matter said. Mid-band spectrum download speed can’t be faster than ultra high-band, they added.