An Auction Design for Millimeter Wave Spectrum

12 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2019

See all articles by James Bono

James Bono

Microsoft Corporation

Allan T. Ingraham

Economists Incorporated

Date Written: November 30, 2017


The 37/39 GHz band was fragmented in the United States under a mixture of license regimes for incumbent holdings. To unlock the considerable value of this band for 5G service, it would need to be wholly restructured in a way that respected incumbent property rights and created a level playing field. This is a white paper submitted to the FCC on behalf of AT&T outlining an auction design that would achieve all of this in a single auction process. The paper proposes to offer incumbents vouchers in an auction in exchange for their legacy licenses. The vouchers would entitle incumbents to an incentive payment corresponding to their holdings in MHz-pops at auction clearing prices. This paper formed the basis for the design ultimately adopted by the FCC for Auction 103.

Keywords: Spectrum Auction, FCC, Band Restructuring, Defragmentation, Voucher, 5G, FCC

JEL Classification: D44

Suggested Citation

Bono, James and Ingraham, Allan T., An Auction Design for Millimeter Wave Spectrum (November 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

James Bono (Contact Author)

Microsoft Corporation ( email )

One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
United States

Allan T. Ingraham

Economists Incorporated ( email )

Washington, DC 20036
United States

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