Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would be auctioning off a large portion of newly available wireless spectrum to US communications companies. With demand for wireless connectivity and communication at an all-time high, the auctioned spectra are thought to be worth billions of dollars.
It’s been a very long time since the FCC auctioned off spectrum to service providers- at least, in technology terms. It’s been 6 years since a similar auction was held, which may not sound like much, but you need to consider the way mobile data use has exploded over the last couple of years. Carriers and service providers have had to continually invest in larger, faster wireless networks as the demand has grown with the proliferation of tablets and smartphones.
The four major US carriers- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile- are all expected to bid upwards of $50 billion for the rights to use the available wireless spectrum. The most sought-after portion of unused spectrum comes from airwaves which were previously used to broadcast TV station signals, however this will not be auctioned until next year.