A major FCC spectrum auction came to an end this week.
Auction 103 closed on March 5th, nearly three months after it opened. The auction included a total of 3,400 megahertz of spectrum, which is the most ever offered in an auction. Participants were bidding on millimeter wave spectrum in the upper 37GHz, 39GHz, and 49GHz bands.
In total, the auction brought in $7.57 billion.
Right now there’s no official info on how much spectrum each participant won or how much they spent, but analysts at Raymond James estimate that T-Mobile dropped $2 billion on mmWave airwaves.
AT&T, Sprint, and Dish Network are estimated to have spent around $1 billion to $2 billion, while U.S. Cellular is expected to have spent $1 billion or less. Verizon is expected to be one of the smallest participants in the auction, say Raymond James analysts.
T-Mobile currently offers 5G using mmWave but the coverage is far less than T-Mo’s low-band 5G network, which T-Mobile has said offers nationwide coverage of more than 200 million people. To compare, T-Mobile’s mmWave 5G is available in parts of 6 U.S. cities: New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, and Atlanta.
T-Mo hasn’t done much with its mmWave 5G since its launch of the Galaxy S10 5G last year. While T-Mobile has been giving Verizon flak for its mmWave 5G that has limited reach, you’d think that if T-Mo went to the trouble of launching its own mmWave 5G coverage, it’d eventually expand beyond six cities. The talks of T-Mobile possibly spending $2 billion on spectrum in this auction back that up.