The US city of San Francisco requested permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct trials at 3.5GHz, with the hope that it can one day use the band to power its smart city implementations.
In its application, the city said it is working with Nokia and “other vendors” to evaluate operation of an LTE system running at 3.5GHz, measuring results across coverage and performance. The goal, it added, is to see whether the technology is suitable to support its wireless cameras, crime prevention technologies and other IoT deployments.
San Francisco said its trial, which is scheduled to run from 31 May through 17 August, will use two fixed site base stations from Nokia and up to three mobile devices.
In the US, the 3.5GHz band, also known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), is designated as a shared frequency. By implementing a tiered access band plan, the FCC sought to give non-operators easier access to spectrum in the hope that it would encourage more participation and innovation in the mobile space.
The application comes weeks after the CBRS Alliance released the first baseline coexistence and network specifications for the band in an effort to speed commercialisation of the technology.
In addition to garnering interest from cities like San Francisco, utilities, railroads and other companies, the CBRS band has also drawn the attention of legacy operators which view it as prime spectrum for 5G.
The FCC is currently considering changes to its CBRS band plan to expand license areas and license terms at the behest of operators. Critics have contended such changes would effectively shut out smaller players from using the band.