The answer is: very probably.  In 2016 the FCC intended to sell off 128 MHz of spectrum from 700 MHz all the way down to 572 MHz.  And they started the initial auction of licenses in that spectrum in March 2016.

 

However the sky is falling very slowly at this point; due to disagreement between the sellers and buyers as to how much the 600 MHz licenses are worth.  The sellers are broadcasters who use the spectrum for Digital Television Stations.  The buyers are companies such as mobile carriers who want to add more subscribers and new services on this prime piece of RF Real estate.

 

The outcome of the FCC auction the first half of 2016 was a temporary impasse.  The license holders wanted $86B for their spectrum; but the buyers only offered $22B. No deal that time.

 

So, a second auction started on September 13, 2016 and the FCC has reduced its goal to only sell 114 MHz of spectrum.

 

And if the round-two auction is not successful, the FCC will try another round with a goal of clearing 108 MHz.

 

But until the sellers and buyers agree on the price, the changes to the 600 MHz band won’t begin.  And when the changes start, it will take 42 to 47 months to complete.  Of course, some channels in some markets will be changed earlier than others.

 

So if a wireless microphone user purchased a 600 MHz system today they could possibly have over 4 years to use it before the planned changes would affect them.  And that could be the right time for that user to upgrade to whatever the latest technology had to offer.

 

ClearOne and other wireless microphone manufacturers are working on new products that leverage new frequency bands such as 2.5, 5, and 6 GHz.  Plus we are making systems that can tune over wider ranges and use smaller amounts of RF spectrum per wireless microphone channel.  These new products will make the current 600 MHz and future FCC rulings less impactful to wireless mic users.

 

So yes, eventually most wireless microphone uses of the 600 MHz band will go away.  But there is still time for the industry transition effectively.

 

Let us know what you think about this situation in the comments below.