The Federal Communications Commission voted to allocate an additional 1.7 GHz of radio spectrum for 5G development shortly before Thanksgiving. The decision comes a month after the FCC changed its rules to encourage 5G investment in the 3.5 GHz spectrum.
In anticipation of its rollout in the coming years, the FCC has made attempts to ensure the United States is at the forefront of 5G innovation. The FCC’s decision provides 700 MHz in the 24 GHz band and 1 GHz in the 47 GHz band.
The agency in October also proposed lengthening license terms in the 3.5 GHz band from three years to ten years and consolidating license area sizes to partial economic areas or counties. The latter would reduce license areas from more than 74,000 to between 416 to 3,144 areas. It is hoped that these changes would encourage large wireless providers to invest in 5G development.
Prior to the October proposal, AT&T requested an extension to its license to conduct 5G testing using the 3550-3600 MHz spectrum in Georgia.
“The Commission deserves credit for recognizing the need for spectrum as the foundation for 5G, helping the United States maintain its global leadership in the development of next generation wireless services,” said AT&T in anticipation of the FCC’s November vote.
“The FCC will play a critical role in these activities as well, and we value their participation,” concluded the carrier.
AT&T is hoping the FCC will auction the newly allocated spectrums by the end of the year, with the goal of commercial 5G deployment by 2019.