In letter : AT&T, Dish Network and T-Mobile cleaned up at the Federal Communications Commission’s latest spectrum auction. A total of 23 bidders won 4,041 licenses for $22.5 billion – the third highest-grossing auction in FCC history.
The tender for new flexible use licenses in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band ended in November but was not finalized until January 4, 2022. The FCC said AT&T has led the charge with 1,624 licenses won for a total of $9.08 billion, followed by Dish Network (bidding as Weminuche LLC) with $7.33 billion spent on 1,232 licenses. T-Mobile finished in third place, agreeing to pay $2.9 billion for 199 licenses.
US cell picked up 380 licenses but only paid $598 million. Similarly, Cherry Wireless LLC seized 319 licenses for $236 million. Verizon, which outspent all other carriers combined at last year’s FCC 5G spectrum auction, did not submit a single bid this time around. If you recall, the carrier spent a total of $45.5 billion on 3,511 licenses in the 2021 auction.
Like the Wall Street Journal strong points, the spectrum made available through the auction was previously reserved for military use. Wireless service providers should be able to use it to help carry 5G signals in urban and suburban areas, helping to meet the growing demand from smartphone users for faster data connections while on the go.
“The results of today’s 3.45 GHz auction demonstrate that the Commission’s pivot to midband spectrum for 5G was the right decision,” FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “I am delighted to see that this auction is also creating opportunities for a wider variety of competitors, including small businesses and rural service providers,” she added.
Of the 23 companies that won frequencies in the auction, 13 of them qualify as small businesses or entities serving rural communities.