NAB, DoD Agreement Clears Way for Auction of 50 MHz of Mobile Spectrum

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Pentagon have come to an agreement which will enable the Federal Communications Commission to free up the 1755 MHz 1780 MHz band as part of the planned auction of former TV broadcast spectrum, the most significant opportunity for U.S. mobile operators to increase their licensed spectrum capacity in many years.

The new agreement is part of an auction of spectrum in the 2155-to-2180 megahertz band, collectively referred to as AWS-3 (advanced wireless services), and will allow mobile service providers to bid on 50 MHz of spectrum.

The government technology and spectrum body, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, sent a letter to the FCC detailing the deal, under which the DoD has agreed to move its operations out of the 1755 MHz to 1780 MHz band to the 2025 MHz to 2110 MHz band.

That move is enabled by a spectrum sharing pact with the broadcasters, which currently use the 2025 MHz to 2110 MHz band for remote news gathering.

The importance of the deal extends beyond the matter of freeing up about 50 MHz of spectrum for mobile communications.

The move reflects a broader embrace of more-flexible approaches to spectrum allocation. Though this auction affects only spectrum in the United States, the notion of sharing formerly allocated government spectrum for commercial purposes will be noted internationally, and likely will spur similar efforts elsewhere.

In principle, that could mean many new blocks of spectrum could be made available in many other markets, vastly expanding the amount of spectrum Internet and communications service providers can use.
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