June 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission plans to vote in July on moving forward to auction off parts of a key band of largely unused 2.5 GHz spectrum to help advance next-generation 5G wireless networks, two people briefed on the matter said.
A formal announcement by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected on Tuesday.
The FCC in May 2018 voted to consider releasing additional key 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum reserved in the 1960s for what is now known as the Educational Broadband Service. Pai said last year the FCC was looking ensuring existing users would retain spectrum and give some entities a chance to obtain new licenses "and then auctioning off the remaining white spaces." Sprint Corp uses leased spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band in its existing 4G network and 5G network that it is rolling out. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang)