The FCC is now proposing to open up 500MHz more of spectrum for 5G use, hard on the heels of a date being set for high-band spectrum auction -- likely to be used by the next-gen technology -- for November this year.
The FCC is proposing opening up spectrum between between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz for broadband mobile usage in the US. "Mid-band spectrum is well-suited for next-generation wireless services," the agency says in a statement, while stressing that the spectrum will be made available for flexible usage.
Using the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz band could allow for more 5G spectrum harmonization. For instance, China Mobile Communications Corp. has just finished interoperability testing on the 3.7GHz to 4.2Ghz band, which is also reffered to as the "C-Band." (See China Mobile Taps Huawei & Intel for Interop Testing Ahead of Big 5G Plans.)
This comes just after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a November 14 2018 date for the first millimeter wave 28Ghz auction, selling off an anticipated cornucopia of high-band radio waves expected to be used for 5G wireless services. (See First 5G-Specific US Spectrum Auctions Coming November.)
The initial 28GHz -- and 24GHz -- spectrum auctions will start in November 2018. More auctions will sell-off more radio waves in the second half of 2019. The agency has previously said more than 3GHz of licensed mmWave spectrum will be sold-off over time. (See FCC: High-Band 5G Spectrum Cleared for Take-Off in 2019.)
How long it will take the FCC Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted Thursday for the C-Band to get translated into spectrum auctions is as yet unclear. The NPRM will be followed by a public comment period. One problem is that the FCC will have to decide how to move fixed satellite services off the proposed mid-band 5G frequencies.
Nonetheless, all major US carriers have intimated that they will need more mid-band spectrum for 5G.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading