updated 05:15 pm EST, Wed December 15, 2010
FCC holding second 700MHz auctiion July 19
The FCC today slated a second auction of 700MHz frequencies that could help boost 4G access in the US. Agency officials are selling access to 16 licenses between 698MHz and 806MHz, grouped into a Block A of just two frequencies at the low end and a Block B that has the remaining licenses. The auction should take place on July 19.
The frequencies are likely to be used by AT&T and Verizon, both of whom won the majority of the 700MHz space in the 2008 auction that set the groundwork for most 4G in the US. Verizon is already using the spectrum for its just-launched LTE network and will be joined by AT&T roughly in mid-2011.
Much of the recent sell-off in space has come as part of a plan to open 500MHz of wireless to help shoulder the expected heavy load of 3G and 4G access over the next several years. Potential speeds on cellular are often dictated by the amount of available spectrum and thus the number of simultaneous users a carrier can handle in a given area.
Along with licensed spectrum, the FCC has recently given the go-ahead for unlicensed white space wireless that uses untapped frequencies for long-range networking for individual users' hotspots and wide-area Internet sharing.