At its December open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took a significant step toward facilitating the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless advanced services. For those still wondering what exactly 5G is, we have written about the highly touted mobile broadband technology several times, including here and here.
The FCC has already cleared some important regulatory hurdles necessary for 5G deployment, but the spectrum scarcity issue remains. Many wireless carriers capitalized on the recent broadcast incentive auction to get their hands on airwaves in the 600 MHz range, but 5G will likely rely on a combination of low, medium, and high frequency spectrum, so there is much more work needed to be done by the Commission. The FCC has, for some time, had its eye on the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands to free up some all-important millimeter wave spectrum.
The most recent Report and Order set the wheels in motion for an incentive auction for those bands, which the FCC hopes to have underway by the end of 2019. An incentive auction would achieve the goal of clearing incumbent licensees in the 39 GHz band. Continue Reading