US operators started bidding for 5G spectrum in 28 GHz band

US operators started bidding for 5G spectrum in 28 GHz band

On 14 November, the US regulator FCC launched the spectrum auction for 5G frequencies in the 28 GHz band. This auction shall be followed by bidding for the spectrum in the 24 GHz band. The FCC is making 1.55 GHz of spectrum available. The auctions will be followed by a 2019 auction of three more millimetre-wave spectrum bands – 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz. AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint and T-Mobile US are working to acquire spectrum and are developing and testing 5G networks. The first 5G-compatible commercial mobile phones are expected to go on sale in 2019.

Auction 101 is the first auction of Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licenses. By conducting this auction of UMFUS licenses in the 27.5–28.35 GHz (28 GHz) band, the Federal Communications Commission is taking another step to promote the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other advanced spectrum-based services at frequencies above 24 GHz.

There are 40 qualified bidders competing for the total of 3,072 licences. The licences will be county-based. The 28 GHz band will be licensed as two 425-megahertz blocks (27.500 – 27.925 GHz and 27.925 – 28.350 GHz). 

Initial authorizations will have a term not to exceed ten years from the date of initial issuance or renewal. 

The auction uses a simultaneous multiple-round ascending (SMRA) format. An SMRA auction is conducted in a series of timed bidding rounds. During a bidding round, users are able to place bids for items (licenses). Each bid will specify either the minimum acceptable bid (MAB) or one of eight additional bid amounts. Bids can be submitted on the Place Bids screen or by uploading a bid file.

After a round closes, the auction bidding system processes the bids and posts the results. Users will get information about the status of the auction, including the total provisionally winning bid amount for the auction and number of new bids for the round. For each license, bidders can see the provisionally winning bid amount and whether they are the provisionally winning bidder. The MAB amount for each license for the next round is available on the Place Bids screen and in downloads.

Now, after 14 rounds (5 bidding days), FCC has paused the bidding and the 15th round is planned for 26 November (see 28 GHz Dashboard). As of 21 November, the bidding stands at USD 145.14 million.


Photo by leungchopan /

Published on: November 14, 2018

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