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Small cells

FCC Shows Radar Love for Small Cells

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to open up 3.5GHz radar spectrum for small cell applications and bandwidth sharing between carriers.

"Later today I expect my colleagues and myself to approve 100MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for broadband." said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a U.S. Senate hearing earlier Wednesday. (See Do Copper Rules Belong in an All-IP World?.)

"The 3.5GHz Band appears to be an ideal band in which to propose small cell deployments and shared spectrum use," said the FCC in its notice on the spectrum. "Deploying ten small cells in a location in place of a single macro cell could result in a tenfold increase in capacity."

T-Mobile US Inc. has already engaged in a spectrum sharing trial on LTE with federal users. The biggest two mobile carriers in the U.S., however, are unlikely to get onboard with this sharing spree.

The ruling is now out for public comment.

Why this matters
The radar spectrum is indeed best suited for small cells applications. Deployments in 3.5GHz with the tiny basestations may increase capacity, but they will not have the range of macrocells. This suggests suitability for dense public deployments rather than rural applications.

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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