Are AT&T and Verizon Leveraging Temporary Licenses for Millimeter 5G? April 2, 2019 17:44

Recently in our spectrum transaction tracking we discovered some Millimeter Wave Special Temporary Authority (STA) licenses that AT&T and Verizon have filed in the 39GHz band to conduct wideband testing and for AT&T it appears the spectrum will be used for a market launch later this year.  

To see what is going on, let's look at Verizon and AT&T's ownership of the 39GHz band in the Chicago PEA market (PEA003) with our Spectrum Grid module.  The Spectrum Grid modules is one of nineteen analysis modules in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.  Below you can see the specific channels that AT&T and Verizon control.  This spectrum is still paired, meaning the lower channels are for uplink and the upper channels are for downlink.  It is apparent that Verizon and AT&T's channels are commingled and that neither carrier can utilize a channel larger than 150MHz (AT&T is limited to 50MHz).  You can see 4 channels that the FCC does control in the lower band, but these are not the channels that AT&T or Verizon requested in their STA.

They each requested channels in the new 37GHz band which will be auctioned later this year.  This spectrum is adjacent to the existing 39GHz licensed bands

The spectrum allocations that Verizon and AT&T have requested in Chicago are indicated below.

This allocation provides both AT&T and Verizon with 400MHz for wideband 5G.  For AT&T, this is likely the spectrum they will utilize for the Chicago market launch announced for later this year.  Verizon likely launched their 5G UWB network using the 28GHz L1 and L2 spectrum seen below, so this 37GHz allotment is likely for network testing.

We have highlighted the effect of the temporary licenses in the Chicago (PEA003).  We noted that AT&T has also requested STA licenses in Raleigh (PEA045), Oklahoma City (PEA039), Charlotte (PEA043) and Philadelphia (PEA006).  Verizon requested STA licenses in New York (PEA001), Cleveland (PEA014), Cincinnati (PEA025), and Tallahassee (PEA072)