The results of Auction 108 were announced way back in September 2022. Yet the Commission's authority to conduct spectrum license auctions lapsed in March 2023, and Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel has determined that the lapse of that authority prevented the agency from issuing those licenses. At the end of last year, Congress passed the 5G Sale Act, conferring on the FCC a 90-day window to grant licenses won in Auction 108. The Commission's February orders granting the 2.5 GHz band licenses were based on the Act.
It is welcome news that parties who successfully bid on spectrum licenses at auction receive the licenses they won and paid for. Also welcome is the news that more mid-band licensed spectrum finally will be put into use for commercial wireless services as a result of Auction 108. However, the lapse in FCC spectrum license auction authority remains, and there also remains a shortage of licensed spectrum for supplying growing wireless data demands on 5G and future 6G networks. Spectrum allocation and harmonization by the NTIA, FCC, and other agencies is a priority. But it also is necessary that Congress spectrum license auction authority to the Commission.
For more on what Congress needs to do, see Senior Fellow Andrew Long's July 2023 blog post, "Congress Should Reinstate the FCC's Spectrum Auction Authority," as well as his August 2023 blog post, "Commissioner Carr to Congress: Renew FCC's Auction Authority."