SDxCentral doesn’t typically delve into the ins and outs of decisions make by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but today the government agency unanimously adopted rules that will essentially make spectrum bands above 24 GHz available for 5G wireless services.
This is worth noting because the FCC says this ruling makes the U.S. the first country to set aside spectrum for 5G, which in turn will give the U.S. an advantage over other countries. “I do believe this is one of the — if not the — most important decision this agency will make this year,” says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Likewise, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says that the all the world’s wireless economies are planning on 5G and that carriers in other countries, such as South Korea, are already conducting 5G field trials.
These new rules open up nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for flexible, mobile, and fixed use wireless broadband – 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. The rules adopted also create a new Upper Microwave Flexible Use service in the 28 GHz (27.5-28.35 GHz), 37 GHz (37-38.6 GHz), and 39 GHz (38.6-40 GHz) bands, and a new unlicensed band at 64-71 GHz.
The Commission also is seeking comment on several other issues such as whether to apply the flexible use service and technical rules adopted today to another 18 GHz of spectrum encompassing eight additional high-frequency bands.
U.S. 5G Trials
In June, Sprint kicked off its 5G trial in the U.S. in conjunction with the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer competition in Santa Clara, California, and in Philadelphia. The company demonstrated how the technology can be used to deliver 4K streaming video as well as augmented reality.
Verizon also has been aggressive with its 5G development. Earlier this week the operator released its 5G specifications for vendors. In addition, the operator has said it will have a fixed wireless 5G pilot available in 2017.