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FCC publishes AWS-H Block spectrum auction rules

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has just published the rules it will apply to a spectrum auction for the AWS-H Block. We saw last week that the FCC finally approved Dish's proposal to use its spectrum holdings for a terrestrial cellular network, and this auction was part of the deal. The auction will have 10MHz of spectrum up for grabs, in the 1915-1920MHz (uplink) and 1995-2000MHz (downlink) bands. This is directly adjacent to PCS G spectrum that Sprint currently owns, and therefore the carrier will be a likely participant in the auction.

Part of the rules to the auction are that the winner must build out its network to 40-percent of the coverage area within 4 years, and 70-percent within 10 years. Also, if a company other than Sprint were to win the auction, they will be required to work closely with Sprint to make sure that its usage does not interfere with Sprint's neighboring spectrum.

It will be interesting to see how the discussions surrounding this auction go, especially considering Sprint's intimate involvement in the process from the beginning.

Source: FCC; PhoneScoop

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • I find the whole spectrum thing confusing can someone tell me which companies can benefit from this and how?
  • The more spectrum a cellular company has in a given area, the more simultaneous users it can handle without degrading speed/signal. (Sort of like if you had an overloaded wi-fi access point at home, you could add a 2nd access point and handle approx. twice the wireless clients.) All US cell phone companies complain of spectrum shortage, so an additional band could benefit any of them. Because the spectrum is adjacent to Sprints existing bands, they stand implement it quickest/easiest. As a sprint customer, I hope they get it. With them on a shopping spree (US Cellular, Clearwire) and the potential Softbank money coming in, I'm guessing they will bring a very strong offer.
  • Considering Sprint just paid billions for spectrum already by buying out other companies spectrum's just days ago, how the heck can they afford to also buy spectrum or put up an offer to buy this from the FCC?