FCC Planning to Offer the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz Bands for Auction

The Federal Communications Commission now working on offering the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands for auction. In particular, they are looking at auctioning the 39 GHz and upper 37 GHz bands together for 5G deployment as it represents the largest amount of contiguous spectrum available in the millimeter-wave bands.

The Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes to transition existing spectrum holdings in the 39 GHz band (38.6-40 GHz) to the new flexible-use band plan in a manner that will promote the efficient use of this spectrum by incumbents and new licensees for new wireless services. The Fourth FNPRM also proposes related service rule changes for the Upper 37 GHz (37.6-38.6 GHz) and 47 GHz (47.2-48.2) bands.

Specifically, the Fourth FNPRM:

  • Proposes to modify the 39 GHz, Upper 37 GHz, and 47 GHz band plans from 200 megahertz to 100 megahertz channels.
  • Proposes an incentive auction that would offer contiguous blocks of spectrum throughout the 39 GHz, Upper 37 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. The proposed incentive auction would have two phases: a clock phase, in which bidders bid on generic license blocks; and an assignment phase, in which clock phase winners can bid on specific frequencies. Incentive payments would be offered to incumbents who choose to relinquish their spectrum usage rights to make new licenses available.
  • Proposes a pre-auction voucher exchange that would allow incumbent licensees to consolidate and rationalize their holdings before the auction.
  • Proposes to repack any incumbent licensees that choose not to participate in the incentive auction and seeks comment on various options for repacking.  

This Fourth FNPRM continues FCC's efforts to make millimeter-wave spectrum available for wireless use to promote American leadership in the next generation of wireless connectivity, or 5G.