On May 15, 2014, the Commission adopted the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Report and Order (MSH R&O) (FCC 14-50) to ensure that its policies and rules facilitate access to spectrum and took the following actions:

  • Updated the spectrum screen for its competitive review of proposed secondary market transactions to reflect current suitability and availability of spectrum for the provision of mobile wireless services.
  • Established that certain further concentrations of below-1-GHz spectrum will be treated as an enhanced factor in its case-by-case analysis of the potential competitive harms posed by individual proposed transactions.
  • Declined to adopt auction-specific limits for the AWS-3 auction but established a market-based spectrum reserve for the Incentive Auction of up to a maximum of 30 megahertz in each licensed geographic area.
  • Stated that the 600 MHz spectrum would be added to the spectrum screen upon the conclusion of the Broadcast Incentive Auction.

On April 15, 2016, the Wireless Bureau released the Sprint-Shentel-NTELOS Order (DA16-413) and in that Order determined that the 1695-1710 portion of the AWS-3 band “should now be considered available, as well as suitable, on a nationwide basis.”  The spectrum screen was therefore revised to include 15 megahertz of AWS-3 spectrum.

On July 14, 2016, the Commission released the Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order (FCC 16-89).  The Commission adopted therein an ex ante spectrum aggregation limit of 1250 megahertz in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and/or 39 GHz bands for licensees acquiring spectrum through competitive bidding, as well as a threshold of 1250 megahertz for proposed secondary market transactions in these three bands.

On November 22, 2017, the Commission released the Second Report and Order (FCC 17-152) that added the 24 GHz and 47 GHz bands to the mmW spectrum threshold, which increased the threshold to 1850 megahertz.  The Commission declined to adopt a pre-auction limit for these two bands.

On June 8, 2018, the Commission released the Spectrum Frontiers Third Report and Order (FCC 18-73), that eliminated the pre-auction limit of 1250 megahertz for the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz bands.  Also, the Commission adopted a post-auction case-by-case review (using the same 1850 megahertz threshold it uses for reviewing applications for the secondary market) to evaluate whether applicants’ holdings would result in excessive concentration of licenses.

On April 13, 2017, with the closing of the Broadcast Incentive Action, the spectrum screen was revised to include 70 megahertz of 600 MHz spectrum (DA 17-314).

On May 10, 2018, the Commission adopted an NPRM (FCC 18-59) to rationalize the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) in the 2.5 GHz Band (2496-2690 MHz).  The NPRM proposed a number of rule changes to provide greater flexibility to current EBS licensees and to provide new opportunities for additional entities to obtain unused 2.5 GHz spectrum.

  • The NPRM noted that in the MSH R&O, it excluded 5% of the EBS capacity that is reserved for educational uses and the EBS white space (16.5%).  After taking these discounts into consideration, the Commission included 89 megahertz of EBS spectrum in the screen.
  • The Commission specifically sought comment on whether, in light of the rule proposals, these discounts of EBS spectrum were still warranted for the spectrum screen.

Bureau/Office: 

Updated: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019