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T-Mobile has received a go-ahead from US Communications Regulators to “test the impact of commercial wireless broadband” on a set of highly sought after group of airwaves in use by government agencies. Any testing by T-Mobile would allow for both the company and the government to decide potential opportunities and challenges posed to wireless carriers seeking to deploy next generation 4G services on the 1755-1850MHz bands while sharing the bands with existing government users.
“The testing we propose is part of an industry-wide effort to build critical understanding of operations in this band, and we will be working with other carriers and equipment manufacturers moving ahead,” said Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs.
It was back in March that the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration proposed partially splitting the bands between federal use and commercial use. Currently, more than 20 federal agencies hold more than 3,100 individual frequency licenses within the spectrum bands. ‘
“By granting the first authorization of testing in the 1755-1780 MHz band, the commission hopes to facilitate commercial mobile broadband services in that band, which would significantly benefit millions of U.S. wireless consumers and help drive the mobile innovation economy,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.
The Obama administration hopes to free up more airwaves to meet the rising demand for wireless space. Wireless carriers have been opposed to using any spectrum that is in joint operation with government operations, warning that the value of the spectrum is lowered.
We’ll be interested to see how T-Mobile’s testing of these airwaves plays out, as we’re all for the company gaining more spectrum to increase coverage.