FCC Chairman Says Yes to WCS for 4G

Julius Genachowski opens up the door for AT&T to get 'alternative' 4G LTE services up on the WCS band

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

September 26, 2012

2 Min Read
FCC Chairman Says Yes to WCS for 4G

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's chairman stands to make AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) one happy operator this Wednesday as his office proposed opening up spectrum in the WCS band for 4G services.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s office sent out a proposal to enable Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband deployments in 20MHz of spectrum in the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) band. Back in June, AT&T said that it compromised with Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) over how to deploy LTE in the 2.3GHz WCS band close to the existing radio service while minimizing interference. The operator followed that up in August with a buyout of WCS spectrum holder NextWave Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: WAVE) for a total that could reach up to $650 million.

AT&T, however, still needs the FCC to approve its use of LTE in WCS before it can start deploying a network. A proposed order from the chairman's office is usually a good indicator that things are moving toward a regulatory conclusion.

"Today's action is part of Genachowski’s continued efforts to remove regulatory barriers that limit the flexible use of spectrum, which is one way he has led the Commission towards helping address the continued 'spectrum crunch,'" says Tammy Sun, director of communications at the FCC in a statement. "By unleashing 20 megahertz of spectrum now -- and up to 30 megahertz in the future -- the Chairman continues to leave no stone unturned when it comes to maximizing opportunities to refill the mobile spectrum pipeline that had begun to run dry over the last decade."

Why this matters
FCC approval of 4G services in the WCS band will give AT&T much more spectrum to play with. The operator, however, has stressed that it will use the spectrum for "alternative" LTE services. It is not yet clear what kind of alternative ambitions AT&T has, but they could include using the spectrum for fixed wireless and backhaul links.

For more

  • Could Sprint Be Next to Sell WCS Spectrum?

  • AT&T to Buy NextWave for 'Alternative' 4G

  • Why's AT&T Eyeing Its WCS Spectrum for LTE?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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