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AT&T and T-Mobile committed to spend a combined $1.8 billion in an auction for the high-frequency spectrum needed to deliver some of the fastest 5G speeds, per Ars Technica.

Why it matters: Spectrum is the foundation of any cellular network and delivering 5G requires higher frequency bandwidth than many carriers have in their possession.

  • US Cellular, Verizon and upstart Starry also agreed to plunk down significant cash at the auction.

The bottom line: Verizon already has a significant amount of high-bandwidth spectrum, while Sprint plans to tap its nationwide mid-band spectrum as the center of its 5G strategy.

Go deeper: The dangers of over-hyping 5G

Go deeper

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

The Supreme Court's abortion showdown arrives

Protesters gather at the Supreme Court during arguments about the Texas abortion law Nov. 1. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Supreme Court will debate today whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, and neither side is trying to lower the stakes — or to make today’s case anything less than a referendum on Roe’s very survival.

The big picture: Conventional wisdom, on both the left and right, says the court is likely to chip away at abortion rights without overturning its precedents outright. But neither side has spent much time trying to help the justices thread that needle.