CBRS Auction Ends With More Than $4.5 Billion in Bids

Randy Sukow


Auction Gavel

The FCC’s auction for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band, better known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) ended yesterday with $4,585,663,345 in gross bids. CBRS is the first of several mid-band frequencies the Commission plans to distribute over the next year to promote 5G mobile service. At the same time, some rural entities also participated in the auction to support LTE-based fixed wireless broadband in remote areas.

“I look forward to this important spectrum being put to use quickly to provide service to the American people,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release.  “And I look forward to the Commission making available 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-band auction beginning on December 8.” The CBRS auction is distributing 70 MHz in a prime position on the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Commission says that it will release a Public Notice within a few days announcing the PAL winners and the deadlines for payments and long-form applications. Many will be watching to see how many licenses major national carriers picked up compared to smaller, entrepreneurial entities seeking to use mid-band spectrum for more specialized and localized 5G applications, such as indoor small-cell installations for internet of things.

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