C-Band Auction Splurging and What's Next for 5G Spectrum
This IDC Market Note examines the results and implications of the U.S. C-Band auction and its impact on operators and the 5G outlook. The recently concluded C-Band auction, along with the 2020 CBRS auction, went a long way to resolving the dearth of mid-band spectrum in the United States, and regulators are not done, with another auction set for October 2021. But filling the mid-band void was, and will continue to be, a costly endeavor for some operators, heightening the pressure to demonstrate a return on that investment. "Having mid-band spectrum is a prerequisite for competing in a 5G world, and U.S. operators' heavy spending in the C-Band auction clearly reflected that imperative," says Jason Leigh, research manager, Mobility and 5G Services research at IDC. "Now the conversation, investment, and R&D dollars must quickly pivot to deploy C-Band and translate that mid-band spectrum into meaningful, and more importantly, revenue-generating solutions that make a material impact on consumers and business operations."
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