As the FCC announced on Friday, AT&T spent $9.1 billion and Dish Network $7.3 billion to secure rights to use radio frequencies above 3.45 GHz. 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 these frequencies.
Under President Donald Trump, the US government began commercializing 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 be protected from interference from new technologies.
The auction began in October last year during the administration of new US President Joe Biden, and the Federal Communications Commission said 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 can coexist with mobile carrier signals without malicious interference. The rest will go to the US Treasury.
AT&T shares temporarily rose 0.99% on the New York Stock Exchange to $27.07. Meanwhile, shares of Dish are trading at $35.75 (-1.52%) on the Nasdaq.
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