Verizon CEO urges FCC to release C-band spectrum

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has asked the Federal Communications Commission to prioritize making mid-band spectrum available to operators to support 5G.


In a filing with the FCC (PDF), Vestberg has called on the FCC to make portions of underused spectrum in the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz C-band available to operators “who stand ready to deploy.”


“Prompt access to mid-band spectrum is now critical to achieving the full promise of 5G, including more widespread 5G deployment and the full range of advanced capabilities made possible by 5G,” Vestberg said.


The C-band has emerged as a contentious issue for operators and wireless providers over the past year. Earlier this summer, the C-Band Alliance, a group of four satellite companies, submitted to the FCC a framework for a private auction of spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.


RELATED: CBA proposes FUEL auction process for C-band


Verizon initially backed the proposal, which drew criticism from the likes of T-Mobile and Rural Representatives, a group of nine entities with ties to rural broadband. T-Mobile has been lobbying for a plan of its own involving an incentive auction run by the FCC. AT&T, meanwhile, has asked for regulatory oversight of the spectrum sale.


In the recent filing, Vestberg did not go so far as to declare his support for CBA’s proposal outright. The FCC has been mulling its options for the spectrum, and is still considering the CBA proposal for a private sale.


Verizon’s Vestberg also reiterated its support for the FCC’s plan to allow wireless carriers to block robocalls. Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed allowing wireless carriers to block unwanted calls to their customers “by default” as a way to combat the growing problem.


RELATED: Businesses object to FCC’s plan to block robocalls


Vestberg said Verizon “will continue to provide robocall blocking to consumers for free.”