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FCC raises $2 billion in second 5G spectrum auction

Almost 3,000 licenses for high-bandwidth 5G spectrum have been awarded.

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Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
Expertise News, mobile, broadband, 5G, home tech, streaming services, entertainment, AI, policy, business, politics Credentials
  • I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Corinne Reichert
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Verizon speeds on 5G.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The Federal Communications Commission's second 5G spectrum auction has ended, raising $2 billion in gross bids.

5G, already launched in the US by Verizon and AT&T, is the next-generation network being used by smartphones  to provide faster speeds and more capacity.

Through its second auction, the FCC sold off a batch of millimeter-wave (mmWave) high-bandwidth spectrum in the 24GHz band, with 2,904 of the 2,909 licenses offered being awarded on Tuesday. The licenses mean carriers can launch mobile services across multiple frequencies, improving latency, speeds and capacity.

"American leadership in 5G means deploying more airwaves for the next generation of wireless connectivity," FCC Chair Ajit Pai said in a statement. "By making more spectrum available, we'll ensure that American consumers reap the substantial benefits that 5G innovation will bring and we'll extend US leadership in 5G."

In total, the second auction raised $2,024,268,941. The FCC has yet to reveal who won what.

The first 5G spectrum auction ending in Jan. saw the FCC raise $702,572,410 in gross bids, awarding 2,965 of the 3,072 licenses offered in the 28GHz mmWave band after opening up bidding in November.

The third 5G spectrum auction will kick off on Dec. 10, with licenses in the 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands up for sale.