T-Mobile CTO urges FCC to make 3.5GHz band more favorable for 5G


T-Mobile has said that it plans to use 600MHz and high-band millimeter wave spectrum for its 5G coverage, and now T-Mo is making an effort to get more mid-band spectrum for 5G use, too.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has published a blog post that makes arguments for why the FCC should make the 3.5GHz (3550-3700MHz) band spectrum available for 5G networks. Ray argues that the 3.5GHz band would be a good mid-band option for 5G networks because it offers better coverage than high-band spectrum, meaning it’d be better for reaching rural areas.

Ray goes on to describe the FCC’s existing rules for the 3.5GHz band as “overly complex and provide extremely limited opportunity for wireless carriers to take advantage of the spectrum.” He believes that making the 3.5GHz band more favorable for deploying 5G services would be beneficial to consumers and businesses because it would result in a more robust 5G spectrum architecture and device ecosystem. Ray suggests auctioning the 3.5GHz band to benefit taxpayers.

The FCC currently has rules in place for the 3.5GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum which includes sharing the airwaves, like with the military incumbents that currently use that band. T-Mobile has asked the FCC to reexamine its rules for the 3.5GHz band to make it more attractive for 5G use, like by auctioning all 150MHz as Priority Access Licenses (PALs) and authorizing PALs on a 10-year term. The FCC has issued a Public Notice seeking comment on T-Mobile’s request with a comments deadline of July 24th.

Also mentioned in Ray’s blog post is the MOBILE NOW legislation from Senator John Thune that argues that more spectrum should be made available for mobile and fixed wireless broadband. Ray says that combining the 1100MHz of mid-band spectrum being targeted by Thune and in the CBRS for 5G networks would be a “great start.”


To read Ray’s full blog post for yourself, hit the link below.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Jason

    Good on you and good luck on getting this through. I am of the opinion that as many as possible of these legacy bands for old technology should be auctioned off as soon as possible. There is no question that the most efficient use of the bandwidth is wireless IP services like 4G/ 5G. Its win win win for everybody. The govt makes money in the auction, more efficient use of the spectrum, and the govt doesnt have to worry about implementing it or rolling it out. This administration is definitely the right one to approve these quicker, so you picked a good time.

    • Carlos Menendez

      That’s about the only thing this administration is good for.

      • superg05

        yep these cronies in office the best time and they are all ready try to sell land in national parks and nature reverses to oil companies

        • slybacon

          Cool. Then I can continue to drive wherever I want to.

      • Jason

        Oh gee. How would we ever guess a ‘Carlos’ would have this opinion? LOL Put a cork in it

  • Clifton K. Morris

    I’ve read the rules and also understand why they were written in the manner they were.

    There’s also a reason why it’s called “Citizens Band Radio”. This band is in place for regular people to setup new networks, including connectivity between schools and government offices. They are not meant for corporate use. Also, CBRS is comprised of multiple bands; some non-priority, and anyone can use the non-priority bands without a license.

    The part that T-Mobile is likely most concerned about is the “Use-It-Or-Loose-It” provision to the licensed band which carries the 3-year requirement. During that 3 year period, the entire network doesn’t have to be built, but progress has to be made by license holder (school district or even local government) can loose the license.

    As wireless technology has progressed and is further open-sourced, people with technical know-how (like ham radio operators), could setup their own WiFi, LTE and DATA networks based networks too; designed for long-distances. Not just voice over Ham Radio.

    I can see why T-Mobile would desire these changes; the changes prevent much-needed competition.

    This is the first band that will have a higher transmit power limit that anyone can bid on.

    Still, the reason why Neville must think the rules are “complex” is because the rules are intentionally setup so ANYONE can bid, not just carriers with billions to spend (like TMobile). Remember- the band is called CBRS, and not “Neville Ray’s 5G spectrum band”, and I plan to place bids… you should too!

    • TV Monitor

      3.5 Ghz is a European/Chinese 5G band. T-Mobile, being a subsidiary of DT, would try to maintain technology compatibility with DT and this is why T-Mobile is pushing 3.5 Ghz over 28 Ghz band, which is considered an Asian(more specifically Korean) 5G band that Verizon and Japan also have embraced.

  • Dakota_Offspring

    T-Mobile is not perfect but they are the only wireless carrier that is noticeably trying to make a change for the better.