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3.5 GHz Band for 5G Grows by 23%

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Aug 10, 2020, 4:40 PM   by Rich Brome

The US Department of Defense has decided to allow commercial 5G services to operate in the 3450-3550 MHz frequency band in the lower 48 states. That 100 MHz swath of spectrum is immediately adjacent to the 3.5 GHz (3550-3980 MHz, specifically) band that the FCC is already preparing to auction off for new 5G service. Combining the two bands means the 3.5 GHz band in the US will now span a contiguous 530 MHz, a 23% improvement over what had previously been approved for commercial use. This "mid-band" spectrum is seen as ideal for 5G, allowing a good balance of broad coverage and high speeds. The FCC will now determine the rules and auction dates for this "new" spectrum. The DoD currently uses this radio spectrum for radar operations that support missile defense, countermortar capabilities, weapons control, electronic warfare, air defense, and air traffic control. Thanks to spectrum-sharing solution, the DoD will be able to continue using the band even as commercial operators start using it for 5G service in the lower 48 states.



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