The White House and the Department of Defense said Monday that 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum will be made auctioned off for commercial 5G deployment. The most active user of mid-band spectrum is the U.S. military, which puts it to work on radar systems, air-traffic technology and other purposes.
The Federal Communications Commission will administer the auction.
A statement from the White House said the move will “improve every industry and the lives of all Americans.” The auction is planned for December 2021, with companies being able to start using the spectrum in 2022.
The race toward 5G is a global one, with South Korea already in the lead and China leading a host of countries gunning for a leadership position in the rollout. Evangelists for 5G tout its speed and potency, describing it as up to 100 times faster than 4G networks, with a wider range of applications.
During the recently concluded corporate earnings season, executives at several wireless players touted their progress in rolling out 5G, something they have been doing for the past several years. Verizon noted it had recently taken part in tests with the Department of Defense. AT&T said it had invested $1 billion during the second quarter, reaching nationwide deployment in that period. T-Mobile and Dish Network are also active on the 5G front.
On Verizon’s quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts last month, CEO Hans Vestberg said, “We are building 5G that’s transformative, not the me-too to my 4G.”