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AWS-3 Transition

Advanced Wireless Services in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands

On January 29, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) completed an auction of Advanced Wireless Service licenses in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands (collectively, the “AWS-3” bands). This auction, designated as Auction 97, raised in net bids a total of $41,329,673,325, with 31 bidders winning a total of 1,611 licenses. With the reallocation of the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands, most of the federal systems will relocate out of the bands. A limited number of federal systems will remain indefinitely in the bands, sharing with non-federal users (see U. S. Table of Frequency Allocations, Footnotes US88 and US91).

The Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA), as amended, governs the transition planning process through which eligible federal agencies recover their relocation or sharing costs from a portion of the proceeds from the AWS-3 auction, which were transferred to the Spectrum Relocation Fund. On May 13, 2014, as required by the CSEA, NTIA notified the FCC of the initial estimated relocation and sharing costs and timelines for the 1695-1710 MHz and the 1755-1780 MHz bands. These estimates were based on the transition plans submitted by the eligible federal entities and available at the following links:

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) determined the transfers were appropriate and that the resources protect key federal missions and capabilities while making additional spectrum available for commercial use, consistent with the President’s goals. On June 23, 2015, OMB notified Congress of the forthcoming transfer of $5,030,428,878 to federal agencies with systems affected by the AWS-3 transition. Following the conclusion of the 30-day statutory waiting period, OMB transferred the funds to the federal agencies.

In accordance with an FCC-NTIA Joint Public Notice – Coordination Procedures in the 1695–1710 MHz and 1755–1780 MHz Bands (GN Docket No. 13–185, DA 14–1023, released on July 18, 2014), the formal coordination process began on October 30, 2015.

Additional information from the FCC on the AWS-3 auction is available here.

Related content


Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA) Annual Progress Report for 2015

April 26, 2016

NTIA submits this report pursuant to Section 207 of the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA), Title II of Pub. L. 108-494, which requires annual reporting on federal agencies’ progress to relocate wireless communications systems from spectrum or share spectrum that has been reallocated to commercial use. This report provides details on two separate spectrum auctions conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that included: 1) the 1710 to 1755 megahertz (MHz) band, and 2) the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands.

Implementing Certain Provisions of the Spectrum Pipeline Act With Respect to the Duties of the Technical Panel

January 21, 2016
Docket Number
Docket No. 160108022–6022–01

NTIA amends its regulations with respect to the duties of the Technical Panel to include the new responsibility for review and approval of plans submitted by federal entities that request funding from the Spectrum Relocation Fund for the purposes set forth in Section 1005(a)(2) of the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2015. The final rule becomes effective on January 21, 2016.

Portal Opens for AWS-3 Spectrum Sharing Coordination

November 16, 2015

In an important step to making more spectrum available for commercial use, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) recently launched a new online site that enables commercial entities and federal agencies to coordinate spectrum use in the 1695-1710 MHz band, one of three bands recently made available by auction for Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). The new NTIA portal fulfills an important requirement to enable sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz portion of this prime spectrum. 

Although many federal incumbents will eventually relocate out of the AWS bands, relocation is not feasible for agencies that operate meteorological satellite Earth stations in the 1695-1710 MHz band. To make this band available for sharing, the Federal Communications Commission devised rules that require commercial auction winners to successfully coordinate with federal incumbents prior to operating in geographic areas (coordination zones) around these stations, which will continue to operate indefinitely.

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