T-Mobile urges FCC to hold mmWave auction in 2018

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T-Mobile did pretty well for itself in last year’s 600MHz auction, and now it looks like the company wants to have another spectrum auction in 2018.

T-Mobile has filed a comment with the FCC, urging the agency to begin the process for holding an auction for millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. Specifically, T-Mo wants the FCC to hold a combined auction for the 24GHz, 28GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz, and 48GHz spectrum.

Later on in its comment, T-Mobile explains why the FCC should hurry and hold its auction in 2018. T-Mo says that a 2018 auction would fit with manufacturer statements that’ve said that equipment that utilizes these bands will be available in 2019 and 2020.

Additionally, T-Mobile says that “several major carriers have already acquired, or are about to acquire, significant millimeter wave spectrum holdings in the secondary market.” T-Mobile goes on to point out that Verizon’s mmWave holdings are greater than what it previously represented to the FCC.

“Delaying auction of the remaining allocated millimeter wave spectrum will allow a small number of entities to dominate millimeter wave band holdings for the next few years, giving those entities a significant competitive advantage,” T-Mobile said to the FCC. “In order to prevent a select few carriers from having a competitive advantage detrimental to consumers, the millimeter wave spectrum that has been allocated thus far should be made available through auction as soon as practicable.”

T-Mobile has said that it plans to deploy some of its 600MHz spectrum for its 5G network and that it has 200MHz of spectrum in the  28GHz/39GHz bands and some mid-band spectrum. Still, picking up some more mmWave spectrum would help to bolster its 5G network. An auction would give all of the bidders involved a fair shot at the mmWave spectrum that’s up for grabs, and because T-Mobile plans to begin rolling out its 5G network and hopes to have nationwide 5G coverage by 2020, it makes sense that it’d want the FCC to hold an mmWave auction as soon as possible.

You can read T-Mobile’s full comment at the FCC link below.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: FCC

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  • Jason Caprio

    T-Mobile desperately needs mmWave spectrum in order to compete with Verizon in the 5G department. According to http://specmap.sequence-omega.net, Verizon has TONS of 39GHz 5G spectrum from coast to coast in every state which I believe is what they went for as opposed to bidding in the 600MHz auction.

    At this time, AT&T and Sprint have no mmWave spectrum, and T-Mobile only has small chunks in a few states.

    I’m curious how this will be deployed. 39GHz can’t penetrate a paper bag. Would have to be mostly line-of-sight on MANY small cells using very high wattages.

    • slybacon

      39 GHz spectrum doesn’t seem economical to me. It has no range and no strength. Maybe it’ll work well for stadiums, auditoriums, time square, subway cars; places with high density of people that are close together. IDK.
      Verizon and AT&T used to make fun of T-Mobile for only having 1900/2100 mhz LTE (mid band). Now Verizon wants to go 20 times higher in frequency for 5G?

      • Jason Caprio

        I know what you mean. I did some reading and extremely high frequency is only useful in direct line-of-sight. It REFLECTS off surfaces so it would not go through walls at all. As you said, I can see it being useful for indoor communications, stadiums, and outdoor events with very dense crowds. Most likely very useful in extremely crowded places like Disney World and Universal.

        • marque2

          I could put a tiny antenna outside my home and bring in a cable for gigabit Ethernet. Also would be good for point to point data transmission – creating an internet backbone without wires. I don’t think the spectrum is for use with phones directly.

      • John Doe

        Verizon is building out a wireless home gigabit internet so they will probably use 39GHz for the backhaul which will help them cover more customers with 5G without laying down expensive fiber cables.

        Well, using 1900/2100 MHz on a cell tower that is supposed to cover a 25+ mile area compared to 800/900 MHz is something to make fun at but that is no longer the situation. Now internet providers will use smaller antennas that are more efficient and place them everywhere.

        Look at what Starry is doing in Boston, they operate in the 38GHz band. That is a great example of what Internet providers want to do.

  • decisivemoment

    Wow, what a can of worms. I don’t think most people are going to react well to having high power, short range signals beaming at them everywhere. Really, is this suitable for anything other than special events and theme parks?

  • Durandal_1707

    24 GHz? Not 2.4, but 24? Am I reading this right? And the rest are even higher?

    What’s the range on that gonna be, an inch?

    • Tim Hotze

      Yeah, it’s pretty short range, but that has both advantages and disadvantages.

      A lot of 5G technology is based around the idea that data has to be VERY fast – and although you can do things like send data on the high and low points of a wave (like how DDR RAM works on a PC), in the end, higher frequency lets you send more data on a given bandwidth.

      The other side of a limited range is that you have smaller cell sizes. That means that in say, an urban area with a high population density, you can reuse frequency more often.

      In the future, we’ll probably see some mix of low frequency networks for slower data at range, and higher frequency for fast data and/or more customers in smaller areas.

      I think – but I’m not sure – that Verizon’s plan for a lot of the spectrum is fixed wireless, providing gigabit Internet to customers instead of more FiOS deployment – in those cases, you can often have line-of-sight, though rain could still slow speeds down.