FCC approves initial commercial deployments in 3.5GHz band

17 Sep 2019

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) have approved five Spectrum Access Systems (SAS) administrators to begin initial commercial deployments in the 3.5GHz band. As such, SAS operated by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google and Sony have satisfied the FCC’s laboratory testing requirements and are approved to begin their initial commercial deployments (ICDs) as previously proposed. The FCC’s reviews were carried out after consultation with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the FCC has proposed to stage Auction 105 – its sale of 5G-suitable spectrum in the 3550MHz-3700MHz (3.5GHz) band – on 25 June 2020. The auction will offer seven Priority Access Licences (PALs) in each county-based licence area, for a total of 22,631 PALs nationwide. Each PAL will be a ten-year renewable licence, consisting of an unpaired 10MHz channel.

Alongside the anticipated 5G usage cases, the 3.5GHz band is also expected to pique the interest of wireless internet service providers (WISPs), major cablecos who have entered the MVNO space and entities wishing to deploy private LTE networks.