3.5 GHz Band for 5G Grows by 23%
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.
Sep 15, 2021
T-Mobile phones will soon display a new icon in the status bar to indicate when they are connected to 5G in a higher frequency band that offers faster data speeds. The icon will appear first on the newest iPhones, and the company is working with phone makers "to include this update on as many devices as possible".
Feb 24, 2021
The FCC today announced the winners of Auction 107 for radio frequency licenses in the coveted "C-Band". Verizon spent $45.5 billion, well over half the $81.1 billion total spent in the whole auction.
Jul 29, 2021
As T-Mobile continues to expand its 5G network, PCMag reports that the company has updated its coverage maps to differentiate between its faster "Ultra Capacity" 5G and its slower but more widely-available "Extended Range" 5G. T-Mobile's 5G Ultra Capacity network uses a mid-band frequency (2.5 GHz, AKA band 41, which was inherited from Sprint) that offers faster data speeds than most sub-6 GHz 5G, and much better coverage than mmWave 5G.
Oct 5, 2021
The FCC today started Auction 110, the third in a series of auctions to sell licenses for valuable C-band (mid-band) radio frequencies that offer a good mix of data speeds and coverage when deployed for 5G networks. All three major US wireless carriers have registered and qualified to bid in the auction.
Jan 2, 2022
Verizon and AT&T this morning refused a request by federal transportation officials to delay this week's planned launch of 5G service in the critical new C Band. [Update: By evening, the two companies agreed to a two-week delay.] The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) insists that the service could potentially interfere with radio altimeters that planes use to measure distance to the ground in poor weather.