Harmonization of the 3.5GHz Band - North America May 23, 2023 17:00
Last week the US State Department officially requested that CITEL (Inter-American Telecommunications Commission) recognize the 3.3-3.4GHz band as a 5G band in the Americas.
The member states of CITEL work to unify their efforts to promote and achieve economic and social development with equity.
This request provides a great opportunity to evaluate how three of the countries in CITEL have allocated their 3.5GHz spectrum. To look at the existing and future spectrum allocations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico I will use Spektrum Metrics' Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool for each country.
The first thing that we can see is that both the US and Canada have either allocated or auctioned C-band spectrum (3700-3980MHz). Canada's C-band channel plan utilizes 10MHz channels while the US plans uses 20MHz channels. Canada's C-band allocation actually incorporates the 50MHz GAA channel of the spectrum that the US uses for CBRS which will create operational issues in border areas like Vancouver BC/Bellingham WA and Windsor ON/Detroit MI. There could be issues from usage in Toronto that would affect the upper CBRS channel in northern New York state.
Canada recently auctioned 3450MHz to 3650MHz which will put fully powered licensed operations on the remaining CBRS channels including all of the PAL licenses.
Mexico has not allotted their C-band spectrum yet, but they have repurposed the 3450MHz to 3600MHz bands. Similarly I would expect border interference with the 5 CBRS channels that overlap the full power licensed channels in Mexico. Issues in San Diego, El Paso, and Brownville could be caused by this joint operation at the border.
So I have highlighted several incompatibilities between the US allocations and Canadian allocations along with incompatibilities between the Mexican allocations and US allocations so it should be clear why this State Department request is critical. The request is necessary to create the only band of spectrum utilized and licensed in a similar manner between all three countries since this spectrum has only been allocated for auction by the Mexican authorities (IFT). I believe that it is critical that this spectrum is fully licensed spectrum (not shared spectrum) so it can harmonize usage at the borders for all three countries.
United States - 3.5GHz Band Plan:
Canada - 3.5GHz Band Plan:
Mexico - 3.5GHz Band Plan: