FCC Kicks Off 3.45 GHz Spectrum, Facebook Wants FTC Complaint Tossed, BAI Closes Mobilitie Buy

More mid-band spectrum is being auctioned off, Facebook says no evidence of monopoly, BAI gets regulatory approval for Mobilitie buy.

FCC Kicks Off 3.45 GHz Spectrum, Facebook Wants FTC Complaint Tossed, BAI Closes Mobilitie Buy
FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan

October 5, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission kicked off Tuesday the auction for 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.45 Gigahertz band – mid-band spectrum important for 5G wireless services.

The 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act set the timeline for the auction, which began accepting bids at 10 am EST Tuesday. The proceeds of the auction will cover the sharing and relocation costs for federal users currently in the band, which is estimated to be about $14.7 billion, a Tuesday press release said.

The auction is part of a number of initiatives from the agency to free up critical airwaves to accelerate the deployment of the next-generation networks. FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel previously said releasing the mid-band frequencies is the agency’s priority, while commissioner Nathan Simington said the commission is trying to “squeeze every drop” of the mid-band.

“We are moving with record speed and collaboration to free up more mid-band spectrum for 5G,” said Rosenworcel in Tuesday’s release.  “These airwaves are a critical part of unlocking the 5G promise everywhere in the country.  I want to thank the FCC staff who have worked so hard to start this auction this year.  And I want to thank our partners at NTIA and the Department of Defense for working with us to free up this spectrum for 5G.”

Facebook files motion to toss FTC monopoly complaint

Facebook on Monday filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to toss out the Federal Trade Commission’s amended complaint against the company alleged anticompetitive practices.

The social media giant said in the new filing that the FTC’s amended complaint has the same issues as the first – which argued that Facebook is a monopoly power and that was denied by the court – in that it allegedly does not provide proof that the company controls over 60 percent of the “person social networking services” market.

“The agency provided no facts to support either the numerator (Facebook’s portion of the PSNS market) or the denominator (the total alleged PSNS market), and if offered no plausible means of calculating any market share,” the motion said.

“The agency has to take this tack because no reliable data exists for its contorted PSNS market, which is a litigation-driven fiction at odds with the commercial reality of intense competition with surging rivals like TikTok and scores of other attractive options for consumers,” the motion added.

Facebook and Amazon have previously asked FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan to recuse herself from these companies’ cases, citing her previous remarks and work criticizing Big Tech.

BAI closes purchase of Mobilitie

Three months after announcing the acquisition of Mobilitie, BAI Communications said Tuesday that the deal has closed.

The global communications infrastructure provider said the deal for Mobilitie, the largest privately-owned telecommunications infrastructure company in the U.S., would help support its strategy to support 5G carriers.

The deal joins Mobilitie’s assets and operations across 5G outdoor and indoor wireless infrastructure, small cell deployment, and its work with transit operators across major US cities with BAI’s experience delivering communications in dense urban and transit environment

BAI already provides cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity across large infrastructure projects, including in Canada.

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