U.S. carriers continue to build out their 5G platforms and one way that they are doing so is by adding mid-band spectrum to their networks. The characteristics of the mid-band make it perfect for the task of improving 5G capabilities. To understand why let’s examine how U.S. carriers have been putting together their 5G pipelines.
What is the difference between low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum?
On the other end of the spectrum is high-band mmWave airwaves which can only travel short distances and are easily blocked by trees, houses, and other things. On the other hand, these signals offer the fastest 5G speeds in the land even though the odds of running into mmWave coverage are prohibitive. And this is where the mid-band comes in.
AT&T promotes its 5G service
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, “Today’s 3.45 GHz auction results demonstrate that the Commission’s pivot to mid-band spectrum for 5G was the right move. I am pleased to see that this auction also is creating opportunities for a wider variety of competitors, including small businesses and rural service providers. This is a direct result of the Commission’s efforts to structure this auction with diversity and competition front of mind.
Chairwoman Rosenworcdel added that “Enabling commercial use of this spectrum is important to America’s continuing economic recovery and 5G leadership, and I look forward to the continued collaboration between the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies to find innovative ways to make spectrum available for next generation commercial and government services.”
Verizon decided not to bid for more 5G spectrum
The auction kicked off back in October and total revenue from winning bidders came to $22.5 billion. In order to get its approval, Congress demanded that some of that cash be spent on new equipment to make sure that existing military gear works together with cell towers and other equipment used by wireless carriers. All other money garnered by the carriers will go to the U.S. Treasury.
The wireless industry has spent over $100 billion recently to win licenses related to 5G spectrum and the FCC says that it plans on holding additional auctions for 5G licenses in the future.