US telecommunications companies AT&T and Dish led the way in showing off a portion of the wireless spectrum that was previously intended for military use.
As the FCC announced Friday, AT&T spent $9.1 billion and Dish Network $7.3 billion to secure usage rights for radio frequencies above 3.45GHz. These mid-range frequencies are ideal for carrying faster 5G signals in urban and suburban areas. The American company T-Mobile paid $ 2.9 billion, and Verizon Communications spent nothing on such frequencies.
Under President Donald Trump, the US government began marketing frequencies long held by the Department of Defense for naval radar, missile control, and air traffic systems. In 2020, the Pentagon agreed to make frequencies available to the private sector at an FCC auction, on the condition that military operations are protected from interference from new technologies.
The auction began in October last year under the administration of new US President Joe Biden, and the Federal Communications Commission says it raised a total of $22.5 billion. Congress required that a portion of the auction proceeds be used to purchase new equipment so that military equipment could coexist with mobile operator signals without malicious interference. The rest will go to the US Treasury.
AT&T shares temporarily rose 0.99 percent on the New York Stock Exchange to $27.07. Meanwhile, Dish shares are trading at $35.75 (-1.52%) on the Nasdaq.
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