The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a fresh investigation into the usage of up to 550 megahertz of spectrum from 12.7 to 13.25 GHz as it pushes forward with finding potential new spectrum to repurpose for cellular services. The FCC anticipates that this investigation will be the first step in allowing for more focused use of the 12.7 GHz band, opening a sizable expanse of valuable mid-band frequencies that may be crucial in delivering the assurance of next-generation wireless services, including 5G, 6G, and beyond.
The FCC Is Considering Opening Up the 550 Mhz Band
The FCC stated that the band under discussion is thought to be perfectly suited for mobile broadband use as it is currently assigned for terrestrial mobile services on a primary basis domestically in the 12–13 GHz region, which some refer to as the high midband. The agency is accepting feedback on how to prevent disruption to incumbents, facilitate sharing or coexistence, or whether incumbents should be relocated to provide a clean slate for more intensive use of some or all of the band. The agency has already extended an existing freeze on applications for new operations in the band, 550 megahertz of spectrum is being considered for opening by FCC procedure.
As per Scott Bergmann, SVP of Regulatory Affairs at CTIA, they appreciate the FCC for taking this step to identify prospects for the usage of the 13 GHz spectrum for commercial mobile broadband, and they also congratulate the Chairwoman for her leadership on this matter. The CTIA appreciates the Commission's ongoing efforts to create a pipeline for licenced, exclusive-use spectrum—particularly in the mid-band—to support 5G in addition to considering spectrum in the 7-16 GHz band. With Congressional action on a future pipeline to serve rapidly expanding requirements and realise the potential of 5G, CTIA looks forward to working with the Commission.
In a recent report by Accenture, CTIA recommended that the federal government consider reusing three blocks of the lower-midband spectrum: the 400 megahertz in the 4.4-4.94 GHz band, the 400 megahertz in the 7.125 and 8.4 GHz band, and the lower 3 GHz band (3.1-3.45 GHz, which is already under consideration). These blocks are thought to have the greatest potential for 5G expansion and should, therefore, it says, be opened up and allocated for cellular use.