The CBRS Alliance pushed ahead with its 3.5GHz ecosystem efforts in the US, launching new branding and a device certification program amid continued debate about licensing for shared Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
The Alliance said it is hoping its new OnGo brand will help member companies more effectively convey the value associated with the 3.5GHz band, similar to the way branding allows companies to articulate the benefits of Wi-Fi products and services.
As in Wi-Fi, the OnGo brand will include an OnGo Certified seal of approval that verifies a product’s ability to meet interoperability and security standards set by the CBRS Alliance. The stamp can be earned through OnGo’s new certification programme, which will begin accepting products for testing this month at more than ten global test labs.
Joe Madden, founder and president at Mobile Experts, said in a statement there is “strong pent-up demand for businesses that want better LTE coverage” and noted “OnGo has the potential to open up the huge, untapped enterprise market”.
But over at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the future of the CBRS band is unclear.
The Commission is currently considering changes to the band rules at the request of incumbent mobile operators that include a shift to larger licence areas and longer licence terms. In filings, AT&T and T-Mobile US claimed using smaller licence areas would result in “practical deployment difficulties” that would limit the usefulness of the band.
However, AT&T came out in support of a compromise proposal put forth by the Competitive Carriers Association and CTIA that calls for the use of larger Metropolitan Statistical Area licences in urban centres and smaller, county-based geographic area licences in rural regions.
But critics, including Google and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), said the changes would deny small providers the ability to “participate meaningfully” in the priority access licence auction, forcing them to use the shared general access layer of the 3.5GHz band. WISPA concluded: “While that outcome may favour AT&T and other large entities, it would drive investment and deployment away from rural areas”.