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AT&T, Dish Spend Billions on Spectrum for 5G Companies

AT&T, Dish Spend Billions on Spectrum for 5G Companies

AT&T Inc.

T 1.42%


Dish Community Corp.

DISH -0.30%

topped the listing of bidders for a swath of wi-fi spectrum beforehand reserved for navy use, providing a brand new take a look at for telecom corporations in search of to share the air with different customers.

The Federal Communications Fee on Friday stated AT&T spent $9.1 billion and Dish spent $7.3 billion to safe rights to make use of the airwaves, which sit above 3.45 gigahertz on the radio spectrum.

T-Cellular US Inc.

TMUS -1.45%

spent $2.9 billion, whereas

Verizon Communications Inc.

VZ -0.45%

spent nothing. Such midrange frequencies are thought of ultimate for carrying wi-fi corporations’ quicker fifth-generation alerts throughout city and suburban areas.

The Trump administration began the method to commercialize the frequencies, which the Division of Protection had lengthy reserved for naval radar methods, missile management and air visitors. Underneath a White Home-brokered plan, the Pentagon in 2020 agreed to open up the airwaves to the non-public sector via an FCC public sale. The plan included guidelines to guard navy operations from interference utilizing new know-how.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

U.S. wi-fi corporations have snapped up licenses near different customers.

Midrange bands and customers, in GHz


Public sale completed 2021



and navy


Residents Broadband Radio Service

Completed 2020

The public sale kicked off final October beneath the Biden administration and the FCC has stated it collected $22.5 billion from bidders. Congress required {that a} portion of the public sale’s proceeds pay for brand spanking new gear to permit navy gear to coexist with the cellphone carriers’ alerts with out dangerous interference. The remaining will go to the U.S. Treasury.

Anti-collusion guidelines bar the successful bidders from discussing the public sale, together with their plans for utilizing the licenses, for a number of extra days. Cellphone carriers may present extra particulars about their timeline for deploying the brand new spectrum after then.

Surging demand amongst smartphone customers for web information has pushed cellular community operators to snap up pockets of spectrum as soon as thought of the area of applied sciences corresponding to tv broadcasts, satellite tv for pc transmissions and radar alerts. U.S. carriers have spent greater than $100 billion lately to amass licenses to reinforce their wi-fi companies.

The carriers’ demand for extra airspace has generally bumped up in opposition to the pursuits of different elements of the U.S. authorities. Such disputes—particularly amongst federal businesses—have grow to be extra frequent lately because the airwaves develop extra crowded.

Federal Aviation Administration officers have raised considerations that utilizing the already-auctioned C-band spectrum for cellphone service may confuse key cockpit security methods in plane. Wi-fi corporations have stated the proposed service is already protected, pointing to related networks already in use overseas.

AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay the rollout of a brand new 5G wi-fi service on the request of U.S. transportation officers. The FAA says the service may have an effect on airplane security methods, a declare the wi-fi trade refutes. Photograph illustration: Jacob Reynolds

The FAA late final yr demanded that wi-fi corporations postpone the launch of these C-band companies till authorities may guarantee each makes use of may safely work together. AT&T and Verizon this month agreed to postpone the launch of 5G companies via their C-band licenses till Jan. 19.

The three.45 GHz public sale that ended this month covers frequencies in the identical midrange neighborhood because the C-band public sale however are much less prone to have an effect on plane gear designed to work above 4.2 GHz.

The tempo of latest auctions exhibits how U.S. authorities officers think about wi-fi community enhancements a nationwide precedence akin to strategic applied sciences corresponding to synthetic intelligence and chip manufacturing. The FCC referred to as its agenda to advertise next-generation wi-fi applied sciences its 5G FAST plan. Lawmakers initially referred to as the laws that ultimately approved the newest public sale the “Beat CHINA for 5G Act.”

Write to Drew FitzGerald at

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared within the January 15, 2022, print version as ‘AT&T and Dish Prime Bidders for Airwaves.’

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