A top US official responsible for helping the Trump administration develop the country’s wireless strategy unexpectedly resigned from his post, as regulators squabbled over spectrum policy.

David Redl served as assistant secretary for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) since November 2017.

An NTIA representative declined to comment on the circumstances of his departure, but told Mobile World Live Redl’s former deputy Diane Rinaldo will take over as acting assistant secretary.

In addition to advising the president on telecoms matters, the NTIA regulates federal spectrum use, acting as a counterpart to the commercially-focused Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Spectrum tensions
In a statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai praised Redl as a “vocal advocate…for repurposing federal spectrum for commercial use and fostering the private sector’s lead in 5G deployment”.

However, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly noted in his own statement Redl faced a “difficult task…managing the unique views of many federal agencies on spectrum policy”.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel elaborated, highlighting recent disputes between the FCC and NTIA over allocation of 24GHz and 37GHz bands as the former presses ahead with auctions in both bands.

“I can’t recall ever in the past watching two different arms of an administration get into these kind of public disagreements,” she said, adding the country needs to “better align our federal and commercial spectrum policies” before the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in October.