FCC Releases Potential Bidders in the 5G Band Auction

Wireless ProviderThe Federal Communications Commission is planning to hold a 5G spectrum auction on November 14, 2018. Recently, the FCC released a list of potential bidders for the upcoming auction of 24 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum. Three public cable television companies will not participate in the auction, while Dish Network®, the satellite TV broadcaster, and three national wireless companies have registered in the auction as bidders.

The high-frequency airwaves, which are ideal for next-gen wireless 5G services, mostly exist in rural areas of the United States. Honolulu is the biggest single market with available airwaves in the auction indicates reliable sources.

“It’s difficult to handicap how active bidders plan to be in this auction as wireless operators’ upfront payments have not been disclosed,” said the analyst at BTIG Research Walter Piecyk in a recent note to the clients.

AT&T® and Verizon Communications®, which have already amassed the airwaves for the next-gen 5G services, have registered to participate in the 5G spectrum auction. So has T-Mobile®, which is seeking a regulatory approval in order to merge with Sprint®. Dish Network® is expected to take part through a partner named Crestone Wireless. Cox Communications® did sign up for the FCC auction, while three other cable operators in the US market did not register for it.

The available radio spectrum now covers only one quarter of the US territory. Cable providers operate mostly in suburban and urban markets and less so in rural parts of the country.

Cable ProvidersVerizon® already owns much of the airwaves in 24 GHz and 28 GHz. The company achieved the same through its XO Communications acquisition. It has acquired the telecommunications company back in 2017. The wireless provider Verizon® has been trialing 5G video services to residences using high-frequency radio spectrum.

Now that the potential auction bidders have been revealed by FCC, the commission has mandated a quiet period, which prevents participating companies in the auction from negotiating on matters pertaining to wireless. “We would expect Dish to be opportunistic, but they are unlikely to spend much given their existing holdings and their balance sheet constraints,” New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin said in a recent report.

Dish Network® already owns spectrum that falls under mid frequency but it has been unable to collaborate with one of the four big national wireless providers.