The nation’s largest wireless carriers dominated the Federal Communications Commission’s latest 5G spectrum auction, driving revenue to a record price of more than $ 81 billion. The FCC released the names and winning bids of the top five bidders for the auction on Wednesday.
Verizon, which bid under the name Cellco Partnership, spent more on the auction by bidding a whopping $ 45 billion for 3,511 spectrum licenses. AT&T ranked second with a bid of $ 23 billion for 1,621 licenses. T-Mobile had the third highest bid of $ 9 billion for 142 licenses.
Satellite providers have used so-called C-band spectrum, which includes 500 MHz of spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz, to offer video programming to cable providers. The FCC began auctioning 280 MHz of the spectrum block in December and ended on January 15. Approximately 200 MHz of spectrum in this band will continue to be used for television programming.
Wireless experts expected the auction for the mid-band spectrum to generate a lot of interest. Some had predicted that the precious spectrum could be worth as much as $ 60 billion. But the final tally beat those predictions, raising more than $ 81 billion for the US Treasury.
The high price and the final list of winners underscore the high value that the nation’s largest wireless providers have placed on mid-band spectrum to build their 5G networks.
5G is the next generation of wireless services, which is expected to increase network speed and make networks more responsive. The technology could help bring applications such as autonomous vehicles to life and will bring new AR and VR experiences to smartphones.
Mid-band spectrum, like C-band, is considered important for 5G deployments because it offers geographic coverage and the ability to transmit large amounts of data. This combination is especially attractive to wireless giants who have been trying to complete their spectrum portfolios.
“It is essential to America’s economic recovery that we deliver on the promise of next-generation wireless services for everyone, everywhere,” FCC Acting President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “This auction reflects a shift in our nation’s focus from 5G to mid-band spectrum that can support fast, reliable and ubiquitous service that is competitive with our global peers.”