Google, Intel, Nokia and more partner to advance U.S. 3.5 GHz CBRS

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Separately, they've been active in the 3.5 GHz arena, but now Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Federated Wireless and Ruckus Wireless are getting together to announce their shared commitment to promote solutions using the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band that the FCC acted on last year.

Specifically, the FCC adopted rules for CBRS, opening 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3550-3700 MHz band for commercial use. A Spectrum Access System (SAS), which is now in the process of being hammered out at the FCC with prospective coordinators, will make it possible to share spectrum where it hasn't been done before.

The six companies say they aim to build a robust ecosystem of industry participants and make CBRS solutions as widely available as possible. Private enterprises, venues and fixed operators, for example, could autonomously deploy high-quality in-building LTE networks into which all mobile network subscribers can roam. The companies say that operators would benefit from an expanded footprint and capacity on new spectrum while their subscribers could get a consistent wireless broadband experience, particularly in places like indoor locations and corporate campuses.

Google and Federated Wireless are often referred to when the subject of SAS coordination comes up. "Google is very pleased to be one of the companies driving this technology," said Milo Medin, vice president, access, at Google, in a press release. "CBRS will benefit all participants in the wireless ecosystem, but most particularly, the users of mobile devices."

"We are honored to partner with other wireless networking stalwarts in enabling carriers and enterprises to seamlessly and cost effectively alleviate spectrum management challenges and substantially improve the performance and capacity of wireless networks," said Sarosh Vesuna, senior vice president, corporate development and strategic alliances for startup Federated Wireless.

According to Nokia, more than 75 percent of today's global mobile data traffic is generated indoors, and the majority of customer complaints come from those indoor users. "Our industry needs to address this by expanding the capacity of new coverage technologies so that we eliminate potential indoor bottlenecks as the capacity of macro networks continues to grow," said Chris Stark, head of North America business development for Nokia. 

Asha Keddy, vice president, next generation and standards group, at Intel said in-building cellular coverage and capacity is an increasingly important component of both enterprise and residential consumers. "Intel is committed to work with wireless networking organizations to address spectrum management challenges, come up with solutions which cater to commercially viable coverage and capacity requirements for both carriers and consumers, and ultimately service the data demands that will be critical for 5G and beyond," she said in the release.

The companies are participating in the Wireless Innovation Forum's efforts to develop and drive the adoption of standards around the unique aspects of operation in the CBRS band, which include providing an interface to the central spectrum coordination systems, actively protecting federal operations and managing the coexistence among those sharing the band.

The companies are looking at doing LTE-based field trials in the second half of this year, and several will showcase CBRS-ready technologies at Mobile World Congress 2016.

For more:
- see this press release

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