US raises a record amount in C-band auction

The US regulator FCC announced end of the bidding phase of the auction 107 for the 3.7 GHz band. The auction ended with a record amount totalling USD 80.9bn. As a result, the regulator will award in total 5,684 licences for 15 years.

The auction 107 bidding phase started on 8 December 2020 and ended on 15 January after 97 clock rounds. The assignment phase will follow. The spectrum pool included in total 280 MHz of mid-bands spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

FCC awards the spectrum in three unpaired blocks divided into 20 MHz sub-blocks by partial economic area in the contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Therefore, a total of 5,684 licences thus includes 14 sub-blocks in each of 406 available partial economic areas.

The licensees will use the acquired spectrum on a technologically neutral basis, including for 5G. The license coverage requirements are defined separately for point-to-multipoint services and for internet of things services.

Namely, a licensee offering point-to-multipoint services will have to provide the following coverage:

  • within 8 years at least 45% population, as well as four links in areas up to 268,000 inhabitants and one link per every 67,000 persons within bigger licence areas;
  • within 12 years at least 80% population, as well as eight links in areas up to 268,000 inhabitants and two links per every 67,000 persons within bigger license areas.

For the provision of IoT services, the licensee will have to provide the following coverage:

  • within 8 years at least 35% geographic coverage; and
  • within 12 years at least 65% geographic coverage.

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