T-Mobile US has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to conduct tests in the 3550MHz-3700MHz band, using an ‘experimental licence’. When probed by Fierce Wireless, the cellco noted: ‘The 3.5GHz band has the potential to provide additional spectrum for LTE but we also think it is ideal for 5G, in alignment with the rest of the world.’ T-Mobile is seeking permission to use the 3.5GHz spectrum at three sites in Washington, near its Bellevue headquarters. If approved, the tests will run from 15 April to 30 September 2018.
In April 2015 the FCC voted to proceed with offering commercial telecoms operators free access to additional wireless frequencies in the 3.5GHz ‘Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)’ band, then used by military radars and other government organisations. Specifically, the decision added another 100MHz of spectrum in the 3550MHz-3700MHz band to the 50MHz in that range already available for commercial use.
In related news, Fiberlink, a subsidiary of US cable giant Charter Communications, has requested permission from the FCC to test 5G fixed and mobile services using the 28GHz band in Orlando, Florida. The company seeks a two-year experimental licence, commencing on 1 June 2017. The regulatory filing notes: ‘The proposed operations will advance Charter’s understanding of 5G technology and network potential in the millimetre wave bands and will advance the deployment of 5G fixed and mobile services.’ Charter says that it has already coordinated its trial plans with StraightPath, which holds 28GHz licences in the Orlando, Florida area.