Fact Sheet

Date

Auction 105 bidding is scheduled to begin on 7/23/2020

Licenses

22,631 Priority Access Licenses (PALs)

7 PALs in each of the 3,233 county-based license areas

Spectrum

3550-3650 MHz

Bandwidth

Each PAL is an unpaired 10-megahertz block within the 3550-3650 MHz band

 

 

General auction information and associated licensing information is provided below.  This fact sheet includes:

 

Key Dates

Event

Date

Auction Application Tutorial available

3/9/2020

Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window opens

4/23/2020, 12:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)

Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Deadline

5/7/2020, 6:00 pm ET

Upfront Payment Deadline

6/19/2020, 6:00 pm ET

Auction Bidding Tutorial available no later than

No later than 7/9/2020

Mock Auction Start

7/17/2020

Auction Bidding Start

7/23/2020

 

Auction Participation

In order to participating in Auction 105, you must (1) submit a short-form application (FCC Form 175) prior to 6:00 pm ET on May 7, 2020, and (2) submit a sufficient upfront payment by 6:00 pm ET on June 19, 2020.  Moreover, you must comply with applicable Commission rules and all provisions outlined in the Auction 105 Procedures Public Notice and any additional Auction 105 public notices, which can be found in the Releases section of this web page. 

In addition, under the Education section, interested parties will find additional helpful tools for participating in the auction, including an application tutorial, application filing instructions, and a bidding technical guide.

Licenses Offered

Auction 105 will offer 22,631 Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band.  Seven PALs will be offered in each county-based license area.  A Priority Access Licensee may hold up to four 10-megahertz channel licenses (out of a total of seven) within the band in any license area at any given time.

 

3.5 GHz Band Plan 

3.5 GHz Band Plan

A frequency coordinator called a Spectrum Access System (SAS) will assign the specific channel(s) for a particular licensee on a dynamic basis.  Although a Priority Access Licensee may request a particular channel or frequency range from an SAS following the auction, they are not guaranteed a particular assignment, and an SAS may dynamically reassign a PAL to a different channel as needed to accommodate a higher priority Incumbent Access user.  To the extent feasible, an SAS will “assign geographically contiguous PALs held by the same Priority Access Licensee to the same channels in each geographic area” and “assign multiple channels held by the same Priority Access Licensee to contiguous frequencies within the same License Area.”  An SAS may, however, temporarily reassign individual PALs to non-contiguous channels to the extent necessary to protect incumbent users from harmful interference or if necessary, to perform its required functions.

 

Permissible Operations

A Priority Access Licensee may use the frequencies associated with their PAL(s) for any purposes permitted under a fixed or mobile (except aeronautical mobile) allocation, as set forth in the non-Federal Government column of the Table of Frequency Allocations in Section 2.106 of the Commission’s rules.  Each Priority Access Licensee must register its Citizens Broadband Radio Service Devices (CBSDs) with an SAS before operating those devices in the band.  As of April 8, 2020 (the date of posting the fact sheet), the following SASs have been certified to begin full commercial operations:  CommScope, Federated Wireless, Inc., Google, and Sony, Inc.  CBSDs are Fixed Stations, or networks of such stations, that operate on a Priority Access or General Authorized Access basis in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service consistent with rule part 96.  For CBSDs that comprise multiple nodes or networks of nodes, CBSD requirements apply to each node even if network management and communication with the SAS is accomplished via a single network interface.   End User Devices are not considered CBSDs.  A CBSD registration includes its geographic location, antenna height, CBSD class, requested authorization status, FCC identification number, call sign, user contact information, air interface technology, unique manufacturer’s serial number, sensing capabilities (if supported), and information on its deployment profile.  When registering with an SAS, Category A CBSDs must also transmit whether the device will be operated indoors or outdoors.  47 CFR § 96.43(b).  When registering with an SAS, Category B CBSDs must also transmit antenna gain, beamwidth, azimuth, downtilt angle, and antenna height above ground level.   An SAS relies on this information to coordinate access for Priority Access Licensees and General Authorized Access (GAA) users, and an SAS Administrator may charge Priority Access Licensees and GAA users a reasonable fee for its services.

 

License Period and Construction Requirements

License Period

Initial authorizations will have a term not to exceed 10 years from the date of initial issuance or renewal.  (See 47 CFR § 96.25)

 

Construction Requirements

Priority Access Licensees must provide substantial service in their license area by the end of the initial license term.  “Substantial” service is defined as service which is sound, favorable, and substantially above the level of mediocre service which might minimally warrant renewal.  Failure by any licensee to meet this requirement will result in forfeiture of the license without further Commission action, and the licensee will be ineligible to regain it. 

Licensees shall demonstrate compliance with the performance requirement by filing a construction notification with the Commission in accordance with the provisions set forth in §1.946(d) of the Commission’s rules.  The licensee must certify whether it has met the performance requirement and file supporting documentation including description and demonstration of the bona fide service provided, electronic maps accurately depicting the boundaries of the license area and where in the license area the licensee provides service that meets the performance requirement, supporting technical documentation, any population-related assumptions or data used in determining the population covered by a service to the extent any were relied upon, and any other information the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau may prescribe by public notice.  A licensee's showing of substantial service may not rely on service coverage outside of the PAL Protection Areas of registered CBSDs or on deployments that are not reflected in SAS records of CBSD registrations. 

The Commission has adopted two safe harbors for PAL substantial service: (1) safe harbor for mobile or point-to-multipoint service and (2) safe harbor for fixed point-to-point service.  To meet the safe harbor for mobile or point-to-multipoint service, a Priority Access Licensee may demonstrate substantial service by showing that it provides signal coverage and offers service, either to customers or for internal use, over at least 50 percent of the population in the license area.  To meet the safe harbor for fixed point-to-point service, a Priority Access Licensee may demonstrate substantial service by showing that it has constructed and operates at least four links, either to customers or for internal use, in license areas with 134,000 population or less and in license areas with greater population, a minimum number of links equal to the population of the license area divided by 33,500 and rounded up to the nearest whole number. To satisfy the safe harbor for fixed point-to-point service provision, such links must operate using registered Category B CBSDs.

(See 47 CFR § 96.25(b)(4))

 

Bidding Credits

Bidding credit discounts will be available to those applicants that demonstrate that they are eligible small businesses or rural service providers and win one or more license at auction. 

An applicant may claim either a small business bidding credit or a rural service provider bidding credit, but not both.  Each applicant must also certify that it is eligible for the claimed bidding credit in its FCC Form 175.  Each applicant should review carefully the Commission’s decisions regarding the designated entity provisions as well as the Part 1 rules. 

 

Small Business Bidding Credits

Bidding credits will be available to eligible small businesses and consortia thereof, subject to the caps discussed below.  Under the service rules applicable to the PALs to be offered in Auction 105, the level of bidding credits available is determined as follows: 

A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $55 million for the preceding three years is eligible to receive a 15% discount on its winning bid.

A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $20 million for the preceding three years is eligible to receive a 25% discount on its winning bid.

Small business bidding credits are not cumulative; an eligible applicant may receive either the 15% or the 25% bidding credit discount on its winning bid, but not both.  The Commission’s unjust enrichment provisions apply to a winning bidder that uses a bidding credit and subsequently seeks to assign or transfer control of its license within a certain period to an entity not qualifying for the same level of small business bidding credit.

 

Rural Service Provider Bidding Credit

An applicant that is eligible for a rural service provider bidding credit will receive a 15% discount on its winning bid(s), subject to the $10 million cap discussed below.  To be eligible, an applicant must (1) be a service provider that is in the business of providing commercial communications services and, together with its controlling interests, affiliates, and the affiliates of its controlling interests, have fewer than 250,000 combined wireless, wireline, broadband, and cable subscribers; and (2) serve predominantly rural areas, defined as counties with a population density of 100 or fewer persons per square mile.  These eligibility requirements must be satisfied by the FCC Form 175 filing deadline.     

 

Caps on Bidding Credit Discounts

Applicants eligible for bidding credit discounts will be subject to caps on the total amount of discounts they may receive.  Specifically, an eligible small business is subject to a $25 million cap, and an eligible rural service provider is subject to a $10 million cap.  In addition, no eligible small business will be able to obtain more than $10 million in bidding credit discounts in total for licenses won in markets with a population of 500,000 or less (PEAs 118–416, excluding PEA 412).

 

Tribal Lands Bidding Credit

A winning bidder that intends to use its license(s) to deploy facilities and provide services to federally recognized tribal lands that are unserved by any telecommunications carrier or that have a wireline penetration rate equal to or below 85% is eligible to receive a tribal lands bidding credit as set forth in sections 1.2107 and 1.2110(f) of the Commission’s rules.  A tribal lands bidding credit is in addition to, and separate from, any other bidding credit for which a winning bidder may qualify.

 

Licensing Rules

47 CFR Parts 1, 2, and 96