FCC Allocates 3G Spectrum

FCC designates spectrum for advanced wireless services and proposes licensing and service rules

September 10, 2004

3 Min Read

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission today provided an additional twenty megahertz of spectrum that can be used to offer a variety of broadband and advanced wireless services (AWS), potentially including “third generation” (3G) wireless services. The Commission allocated and paired five-megahertz blocks of spectrum at 1915-1920 MHz with 1995-2000 MHz, and 2020-2025 MHz with 2175-2180 MHz for AWS use. This will benefit the public by fostering the development of new wireless services that will provide American consumers with additional communications options and capabilities.

The Commission redesignated the 1915-1920 MHz band for AWS from Unlicensed Personal Communications Services (UPCS) and pairs this five-megahertz block of spectrum with the five-megahertz block at 1995-2000 MHz (which was previously allocated for the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS)). An additional ten megahertz of spectrum at 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz – previously allocated for MSS – is to be made available as paired five-megahertz spectrum blocks. The Commission concluded that pairing the bands in this manner promotes a more efficient use of the spectrum and complements adjacent band operations.

The Commission adopted a reimbursement plan to compensate UTAM, Inc. for relocation expenses it will incur to relocate incumbents from the 1915-1920 MHz band. The relocation and reimbursement obligations of new AWS entrants with respect to incumbent Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) and Fixed Service (FS) licensees and other new entrants in the 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2175-2180 MHz bands are addressed as well. The Commission also modified Part 15 of its rules with respect to unlicensed PCS operations in the 1920-1930 MHz band to provide additional flexibility for users of the band to offer both voice and data services using a wider variety of technologies.

In today’s action, the Commission denied petitions for reconsideration related to the reallocation to AWS of ninety megahertz of spectrum from Federal Government and non-Federal Government operations in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands; and of thirty megahertz of spectrum from the MSS in the 1990-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2165-2180 MHz bands. The Commission also clarified the rules governing the relocation of FS licensees in the 2110-2150 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands.

In a companion action also adopted today, the Commission asked for public comment on licensing, technical, and operational rules to govern the use of the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2175-2180 MHz bands designated for AWS. The Commission announced its desire to provide licensees of this spectrum with flexibility to provide any fixed or mobile service consistent with the technical parameters of the allocation, and proposed to license the spectrum under Part 27 of the Commission’s rules, which provides a flexible, market-oriented regulatory framework.

The Commission proposed to use geographic area licensing for this spectrum and asked for comment on what geographic areas should be used. The Commission also proposed ten-year license terms, to assign licenses in these spectrum bands through competitive bidding, and to permit post-auction disaggregation and partitioning. The Commission asked for comment on possible construction and build-out requirements and on a number of auction-related issues, including the use of bidding credits.

To ensure that users of the spectrum do not cause harmful interference to other users of the band and adjacent bands, including broadband PCS, the Commission also asked for public comment on and the submission of technical studies on how best to control in-band and out-of-band interference and on the appropriate power limits. In addition, the Commission asked for comment on a variety of other technical issues, including RF safety limits, and Canadian and Mexican border coordination.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

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