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FCC concludes 24 GHz spectrum auction; $2B in gross bids raised

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission officially concluded its 24 GHz spectrum auction on May 28, having raised $2.02 billion in gross bids at the auction's conclusion. Bidders won 2,904 of the 2,909 licenses offered.

The 24 GHz auction followed directly on the heels of the 28 GHz auction, which concluded in late January and generated a gross $702.6 million.

Together, the auctions of the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands raised more than $2.7 billion in gross bids. Combined, 55 applicants were qualified to bid, and the winning bidders won 5,869 licenses. The FCC plans to release more details about the results and winners in the coming days.

The auctions for the 28 GHz and 24 GHz spectrum bands represent the first for high-band spectrum in the U.S. for 5G technology. The wide bands of millimeter-wave spectrum will enable operators to carry significantly more traffic at higher speeds, though the spectrum's higher frequencies mean it cannot travel very far and has trouble penetrating various surfaces.

Up next, 3,400 MHz will be up for bid in an auction that includes the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands. The FCC says that auction, set to begin in December, will be the largest spectrum auction in U.S. history.