FCC commissioner discusses progressive plans, wants to look at lower/higher frequencies

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The race for mobile operators to gain spectrum is competitive. Each carrier wants to bolster its network to add speed, reliability and expansive coverage. And as device technology is on the increase, and the number of people with LTE-capable devices is growing, network technology needs to match the demand. And it could lead the FCC to start looking at alternatives to the current bandwidths being used.

Most mobile spectrum, as it stands, ranges between 600MHz and 3GHz. But in an interview with Mobile World, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel states that the commission needs “to be more creative“. Adding that “maybe it’s now time to look low, such as 400MHz, and really high, such as 60GHz. There are different use cases in different network topologies we can develop, and different ways to take advantage of different spectrum bands.

As we know, T-Mobile is currently deploying and testing its own low-band 700MHz network, and it’s going to be heavily involved in next year’s low-spectrum auction, and this year’s AWS-3 auction in a bid to get a network that’s as large as the Big Two’s but also much faster, and more reliable.

Whether or not the FCC does anything about these plans is yet to be seen. There are advantages and disadvantages to using ultra-high and ultra-low frequencies. But if we get to a point where there are no more airwaves left to use in the current range of bands, we may not have a choice but add both higher and lower frequencies.

Source: MWC Mobile World


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  • Paul

    This is nice to hear.

  • archerian

    60Ghz? Tricky to handle attenuation and loss at those high frequencies….

    • William Kestle

      Especially since its the resonance frequency of oxygen I think, as 2.4 GHz is to water. But, there is I think 7 GHz of free spectrum up there.

  • William Kestle

    Look up pcell by Artemis. Massive frequency reuse in a way I’ve never seen before

    • Goat

      Can someone please tweet Mr. Legere about this? This is a GREAT piece of technology.

      Also, please post a link back so I can see the reply :D

      • William Kestle

        Last I heard they were “in talks with all 4 major us carriers”

  • Nathan USA

    Let’s remember there is only so much air waves and some are still in use for things such as TV radio and government stations yes in a perfect world we can give all the air waves to cell phone companies and spectrum sitters

  • I remember as a child that all the seven TV channels were between 2 and 13 in the VHF range. I grew up in a huge metropolitan area and that was when TV was one of the few sources of entertainment available. I don’t know of many cities with seven TV channels anymore, but even if it were the case, thanks to DTV, instead of seven, all twelve channels from 2 to 13 could be used for broadcast TV without interference. Refarming the spectrum currently used for TV broadcasting UHF channels 14 to 61, the largest chunk assigned to a single purpose, would free up over 150MHz of precious spectrum. Moreover, there’s a lot of quiet spectrum in the 300 and 400MHz bands already assigned for mobile telephony that should be auctioned sooner rather than later. In other words, there’s not so much need of being creative as of being diligent.

    (Source: bit{dot}ly/1v2hlts )

  • Alex Zapata

    Well this could be fun!

  • Mike

    Wonder if this would mean having to purchase new phones with compatibility with the new frequencies. Retrofit of towers? Sounds like it could lead to quite a mess.

    • fentonr

      Yes, it would require phones that support these bands.

    • Mike Palomba

      It’s the same situation with the 700mhz band tmobile recently began to aquire, none of the current phones, except for a few, are compatible with it so everyone has to purchase new ones to take advantage of the new band

  • sushimane

    So the FCC are planning to expand from 400mhz to 3ghz spectrum?

  • Mark J

    we talking spectrum szmectrum I’m just looking for real service. Dallas downtown 8 AM 3-6 Mb Up/Down in my area less than 1/2 mile from Stemmons Hwy where I notice 12-18 Up/Down between 12pm and 4 pm is a nightmare 0.8-0.6 Up/Down I added recently signal buster from Tmo no changes five bars on my Note3 five bars on signal buster all LTE What is going on with Tmo ?

  • tmolover31

    Maybe T-Mobile wants to have a network that’s fast and reliable enough to compete in the home broadband market, so that they could also disrupt that industry and launch a price war against the monopolistic cable and DSL providers. Maybe that’s not what they are trying to do at the moment, but it’s what I hope they will do.

    • Jay Holm

      With enough spectrum (30x30mhz?) and more small cell deployments, they just might be able to do it.

    • Guest

      60ghz? That must be a typo. I don’t think a radio frequency that high would be able to propagate through oxygen.

  • TechHog

    “FCC” and “progressive” should never be used in the same sentence. Fuck the FCC.

  • Stefan Naumowicz

    60ghz? That must be a typo. How close would you have to be to a cell to get a signal? Touching the antenna with your phone?

    • JamesG

      I would hope its just 6Ghz

  • brian90

    Why don’t they start breaking up the AM radio spectrum? from 531–1,611 kHz ? The are the STRONGEST signals that travel the farthest. Does anyone really used AM radio anymore?

    • x646x

      Here is why, 1 kilohertz = 0.001 megahertz

  • w2ccr

    Just as long as they don’t start taking away amateur radio frequency space….

  • Melissa V

    She sounds like a real rocket surgeon.