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Ericsson scores a dual-band victory for 5G

The FCC issued a waiver to Ericsson that will allow the vendor to sell a single 5G radio that can broadcast higher-power signals in both C-band and 3.45 GHz spectrum.

Mike Dano

March 3, 2023

3 Min Read
Ericsson scores a dual-band victory for 5G

Ericsson received a waiver from the FCC that will allow it to sell a single 5G radio that can broadcast higher-power signals in both C-band and 3.45 GHz spectrum. The move is likely important to T-Mobile considering the operator has specifically said it's waiting for such radios before augmenting its 5G network with its C-band and 3.45 GHz holdings.

Ericsson officials were clearly pleased with the FCC's new waiver. In a statement to Light Reading, the vendor said such radios have "several desirable characteristics including savings in size on towers, energy consumption, and savings in rack space needed for radio equipment on cell sites because the multiband radio combines the electronics for the two bands within common tower and remote infrastructure, without adverse impact to nearby bands."

Figure 1: (Source: Ericsson) (Source: Ericsson)

The company added that its proposed multiband radio – which could handle broadcasts in both C-band and 3.45 GHz spectrum – also supports "64TR" capability, a reference to radios that sport dozens of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antennas. "For example, in high-rise urban settings, a 64TR solution supports roughly 60% higher capacity than a solution that uses 32 transmit and receive antennas. Low-rise urban environments can likewise be covered with 10-15% advantage in capacity," according to the company.

In its filing on the topic, the FCC noted that a number of other companies including Samsung, Nokia, AT&T and Mavenir voiced support for Ericsson's waiver request.

Both AT&T and T-Mobile hold spectrum in the C-band and the 3.45 GHz band. AT&T has said it plans to move forward immediately with its deployment of both spectrum bands, and will therefore do so with two separate radios, one dedicated to each band. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has said it will wait until early 2024, when dual-use radios are available, to kick off its own deployment of those spectrum bands.

T-Mobile spent around $10.7 billion on C-band spectrum in the FCC's 2021 auction and another $2.9 billion on 3.45GHz spectrum in the FCC's Auction 110 that ended in 2022. T-Mobile's C-band holdings won't be freed by satellite operators until the end of this year.

T-Mobile already operates a midband 5G network using its 2.5 GHz midband spectrum holdings. The operator expects that network to cover 300 million people by the end of this year.

T-Mobile's current 5G vendors are Ericsson and Nokia.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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