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:
Promoting Innovation in the 3.5 GHz Band
Click the above link to access T-Mobile's filed presentation with the FCC. When the presentation is opened in Adobe, right click to rotate the presentation clockwise for easier reading.
The FCC released their rulemakings today for the PCS H Auction and the Small Cell 3.5GHz spectrum. In keeping with with my company's mission statement "Explaining the Wireless Industry from a Carrier Mindset", I will be evaluating and commenting on both of those FCC documents by the end of the week.
Inevitable. If you have followed the Sprint/Clearwire saga since they were joined with Google, Time Warner, Brighthouse, Comcast, and Intel; it was obvious that Clearwire had a hard road ahead. In yesterday's announcement Erik Prusch indicated the depth of the internal concern; Clearwire had retained an advisor to provide options for restructuring.
Once the carrier consolidation of 2012 occurred, the only path forward I saw for Clearwire was funding minimal operations into the 2014 time frame, with a hope that the other 3 national players would finally need the wholesale access to Clearwire's spectrum. With each of the national players, except Sprint, lining up their LTE capacity growth spectrum, the need for wholesale access to Clearwire's WiMax or planned TDD-LTE network was unnecessary. Clearly Sprint needed Clearwire for its LTE growth spectrum and at $0.21/MHzPOP I believe we will look back 5 years from now and view this was steal. Not only has Sprint put in concrete their LTE capacity growth, but they have cornered the market available spectrum for years to come. When you consider that Clearwire controlled 160MHz of spectrum which could be expanded to nearly 200MHz in most metro areas with additional spectrum leasing and spectrum purchases, Sprint has the only meaninful swatch of "new" spectrum that will come to market in the next 5 years.
I don't see the Broadband Incentive auction, the Dish spectrum, or the recent 3.5GHz spectrum as meaningful for efficient macro network coverage. Those subjects are covered in other blogs.
The purchase of Clearwire does not guarantee smooth sailing for Sprint. Sprint still has very significant short term issues. Their LTE network is 5X5 which is the smallest of any of the national carriers. In addition, their customers with WiMax devices will continue to transition over to this network as they upgrade their devices. Clearwire's TDD-LTE hotspot network is only at the construction start stage, with likely very limited coverage throughout 2013. Clearwire has talked historically about devices arriving for this network 2Q or 3Q 2013. Thus, there won't be any material movement of traffic from Sprint 3G or LTE network until early 2014. From what I experience on my Sprint Samsung S3, the 3G network is already challenged and LTE is not available in my market (Seattle). It will get worse before it gets better.