Verizon shifted its focus from mmWave back to the 3.5GHz band, seeking permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct product testing at two locations in Florida.
The operator said it wants to conduct indoor and outdoor trials of base station and mobile device equipment to evaluate the propagation characteristics of 3.5GHz spectrum. Verizon also said it will test TD-LTE in the band as well as carrier aggregation with its licensed PCS and AWS bands and 3.5GHz.
Because the US designated 3.5GHz as a shared band, known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), Verizon added it plans to assess end-to-end architecture and coexistence mechanisms specific to the frequency.
The trials will use ten small cells and up to five devices from multiple manufacturers. Verizon said it will initially use prototype equipment, but will switch to pre-commercial devices as they become available. The operator allotted six months for testing, with a requested start date of 2 April and end date of 28 September.
Verizon appeared laser focused on mmWave spectrum of late. But, during the Mobile World Congress Americas event in September 2017, the operator’s SVP for technology strategy and planning Ed Chan noted CBRS was “good spectrum” which could both boost Verizon’s normal mobile services and open opportunities to provide private LTE services.
In November 2017, Mike Haberman, Verizon’s VP of network support, told Mobile World Live contributions from CBRS and unlicensed spectrum would help the operator avoid a capacity crunch in the run up to 5G.
Verizon is far from the only operator eyeing the 3.5GHz band. Rivals AT&T and T-Mobile US have both been conducting tests at 3.5GHz, with the latter recently seeking an extension of a trial in Las Vegas.