The FCC is taking the first steps toward another mid-band spectrum auction. The commission will vote late this month on several items aimed at making spectrum between 3.45 GHz and 3.55 GHz, known as the 3.45 GHz band, available for commercial mobile and fixed wireless use.
Mid-band is widely considered to support the optimal blend of coverage and speed for 5G services. The commission recently concluded an auction of 5G spectrum in the CBRS band between 3.55 and 3.7 GHz. The new target spectrum lies just below the CBRS band, and the C-band – targeted for a December auction – lies just above the CBRS band, between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz.
Mid-Band Spectrum Auction
As FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explained in a blog post, “This new proposal would put the commission on track to have a 530-megahertz swatch (from 2.45 to 3.98 GHz) of mid-band spectrum available for 5G.”
The 3.45 GHz band is part of a broader swath of spectrum between 3.3 and 3.55 GHz that is currently allocated for federal and non-federal use. Last month, the Department of Defense said it would be feasible to allocate the portion of the band between 3.45 – 3.55 GHz for commercial use.
To support that option, the FCC has drafted a report and order that would remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band. The commission will vote on the report and order at the September monthly commission meeting, where commissioners also will vote on a further notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks comment on proposed changes to the rules governing the band to enable commercial use and coordination between federal and non-federal users.
Additional information about the FCC proposal for the 3.45-3.55 GHz band can be found in this press release.
Neither the press release nor Pai’s blog indicates when the 3.45-3.55 mid-band spectrum auction might begin, however.