Verizon argues for combining 37 GHz, 39 GHz into single band for 5G

In its latest lobbying efforts at the FCC, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is reiterating the importance of the spectrum bands above 24 GHz to help jumpstart 5G deployment, but it's also arguing for the FCC to combine the 37 GHz band with the 39 GHz band to create a single 3 GHz band of contiguous spectrum, with channels at least 200 MHz wide.

In the ex parte filing, Verizon also said it agrees with the commission's primary proposal to grant flexible use rights to existing terrestrial licenses in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands and to auction the FCC-held licenses. However, the combined 37 and 39 GHz band also should be subject to the same rules. "The band should not be governed by the complex and administratively burdensome 'hybrid' proposal presented in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," Verizon stated.

During meetings with staff from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Office of Engineering and Technology and International Bureau, representatives of Verizon also pushed for the license sizes of these bands to be based on the Basic Trading Area (BTA) and Economic Area (EA) sizes already used for the 28 and 39 GHz bands. "Those sizes will spur innovation and investment in 5G better than the proposed county-level area, which is too small," the company said. "And any substantial service performance requirements must take into account unique potential use cases of 5G that could differ from the population/household focus of substantial service requirements on other spectrum licenses."

In its NPRM, the FCC noted that the 37 GHz band consists of 1.6 GHz of contiguous spectrum that could potentially support high data-rate transmissions, and it's contiguous to the 39 GHz band, so there could be opportunities to aggregate up to 3 gigahertz of spectrum. It also proposed to subdivide existing LMDS and 39 GHz licenses on a county basis, consistent with a proposal to offer licenses on a county basis for spectrum currently held in inventory.

In December, Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam visited the FCC to emphasize the importance for the commission to act quickly to make the spectrum bands above 24 GHz available for mobile broadband. McAdam reiterated Verizon's commitment to be the first U.S. company to roll out 5G wireless technology and its plans to field test 5G in early 2016.

AT&T (NYSE: T) representatives recently met with FCC officials as well on the topic of 5G to discuss the diverging requirements supported by a multi-radio access technology (RAT) approach, including "extremely high speed mobile broadband and low speed IoT," as well as simultaneous connections to multiple technologies, including LTE-A, unlicensed, and flexible new RAT design.

In releasing the NPRM last year on the use of spectrum bands above 24 GHz, the commission took what many in the millimeter wave community considered a good step toward unleashing higher-band spectrum, both for licensed and unlicensed purposes.

Comments on the NPRM that the commission released in October are due Jan 26, with reply comments due Feb. 23.

For more:
- see this filing

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