FCC Greenlights AT&T's WCS Spectrum Plans
The Federal Communications Commission today unanimously voted in favor of AT&T's proposed use of the WCS spectrum band for its LTE network in the future. Earlier this year, AT&T requested that the FCC change some of the rules regarding the 2.3GHz Wireless Communications Services band of spectrum. AT&T wants to use the 2.3GHz band to supplement its 700MHz spectrum for its LTE 4G network. It has been purchasing up bits and pieces of 2.3GHz spectrum over the last few months. The issue at hand concerns how the spectrum is currently used. Sirius Radio operates on an adjacent spectrum band, and an LTE 4G network run in the 2.3GHz WCS band could disrupt Sirius' signal. AT&T and Sirius worked out a proposal earlier this year that would protect Sirius' signal by bordering it with a 10MHz channel buffer on either side of Sirius' spectrum. The approved proposal gives AT&T 20MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band. In a post published on its public policy blog, AT&T said, "We expect to commence deployment of LTE infrastructure in the [WCS] band in as early as three years, allowing us to enhance our wireless broadband services."
AT&T Finally Using WCS Spectrum for LTE; Will Test LTE-U
AT&T has begun deploying LTE on its 2.3GHz WCS spectrum in a handful of markets around the country. Earlier this year, AT&T said it would begin the deployment by summer, and it is just meeting that commitment.
Verizon Might Skip 600MHz Incentive Auction
Verizon Wireless said it is comfortable with its spectrum holdings at the moment and may not bid in next year's auction for 600MHz airwaves. Verizon is only using 40% of its licensed spectrum for LTE, which gives it plenty of room to add capacity.
FCC Chair Says 5G Is a 'National Priority'
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans to push the nation's 5G agenda forward this week by defining the spectrum that the wireless networks of the future will use. "I am circulating to my colleagues proposed new rules that will identify and open up vast amounts of spectrum for 5G applications," said Wheeler.
FCC Relaxes Rules Governing 800 MHz Spectrum
The FCC this week made it easier for carriers to add LTE to their 800 MHz spectrum holdings. Rules concerning the 800 MHz band (CDMA Band Class 0, LTE Band 5) have been in place since 1981 and limit how much power carriers can use to transmit wireless signals across those airwaves.
T-Mobile Implores FCC to Set Aside More Low-Band Spectrum
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray filed a letter with the FCC asking it to raise the amount of spectrum set aside for competitive carriers in the forthcoming 600MHz reverse auction. The FCC has already agreed to reserve 30MHz of spectrum for carriers other than AT&T and Verizon.