T-Mobile US urged the Federal Communications Commission to put even more mmWave spectrum on the table for 5G, adding three more bands to the list of airwaves the commission should consider for mobile use.
Through its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, the FCC already designated the 24GHz, 28GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz bands for wireless service. But T-Mobile asserted the 32GHz, 42GHz and 50GHz bands should also be made available to mobile operators “as soon as possible”. Additionally, the company offered up the 26GHz band for consideration, noting use of the spectrum along with the upper 24GHz band and 28GHz band would create a contiguous 3.6GHz block of spectrum for mobile use.
The operator said it conducted a technical study which showed 5G deployments in the 32GHz and 50GHz bands would be able to coexist with incumbent radio astronomy (RAS) and earth exploration satellite services (EESS). T-Mobile pointed out the FCC could protect RAS and EESS against interference in those bands with the adoption of “modest operating constraints” for new 5G services.
T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and industry association CTIA reiterated demands for the FCC to auction mmWave spectrum this year. T-Mobile said delaying an auction would “allow a small number of entities to dominate millimetre wave band holdings for the next few years,” thus lending them a “significant competitive advantage” as the industry moves into 5G.
Verizon and AT&T both urged the FCC to forego pre-auction spectrum limits for the mmWave bands. But US Cellular, the fifth largest US operator, argued Verizon’s acquisitions of mmWave assets from XO Communications and Straight Path Communications are “evidence that the largest carriers are likely to pursue mmWave spectrum acquisition relentlessly, shutting out smaller carriers, unless they are subject to reasonable spectrum acquisition restraints both pre- and post-auction.”
For now, though, it looks like operators will have to wait a bit longer for an auction. FCC chairman Ajit Pai previously stated new spectrum auctions cannot go forward until the commission works out how to comply with regulations about how upfront payments from bidders are held.