Verizon is spending practically $1.9 billion to atone for 5G spectrum, as the largest carriers race to roll out higher-speed connections nationwide. This morning, the Federal Communications Fee revealed the winners of an public sale for licenses to worthwhile spectrum that’s particularly helpful for 5G. Verizon was the largest spender by far. Dish got here in second, spending $912 million. Constitution, Comcast, and Cox all spent a whole bunch of thousands and thousands on spectrum as nicely.
Firms spent large on this public sale as a result of the spectrum, within the 3.5GHz band, can be utilized for higher-speed 5G deployments. Verizon, specifically, has been in a tricky spot: its 5G technique to date has largely relied on millimeter-wave deployments. These supply the highest-speed connections, however they solely work at extraordinarily brief ranges — so it doesn’t actually work as a nationwide technique. The midband spectrum that Verizon gained entry to from this public sale will assist it deploy higher-speed connections that may span an extended distance (although not as lengthy of a distance because the spectrum it makes use of for LTE).
As for Dish, it’s been shopping for up spectrum for years, nevertheless it lastly must put that spectrum to make use of. The corporate acquired belongings from Dash (as a part of its sale to T-Cell), and it’s within the strategy of launching what is meant to be a nationwide cellular community.
It’s much less clear what Constitution, Comcast, and Cox plan to do with their spectrum, however there are a few potentialities. Constitution and Comcast supply cell phone service, however they piggyback off of larger networks. Midband spectrum may be used to wirelessly ship at-home web service.
T-Cell has been quickly increasing its 5G community, and as of July, AT&T claims its 5G community is obtainable nationwide. Whereas T-Cell is now in a great place, due to Dash’s cache of midband spectrum, the corporate has beforehand needed to make large bids to catch up within the airspace race. It spent practically $eight billion in 2017 to raised construct out its LTE community.