GSMA backs T-Mobile, CTIA’s proposed rule changes for 3.5 GHz

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The GSMA says the proposed changes would further harmonize 3.5 GHz band 5G use in the United States with much of the 3 GHz band in other countries.

T-Mobile and CTIA are getting support from a major industry association in their quest to change the rules for the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band: the GSM Association (GSMA).

The GSMA filed comments (PDF) supporting the changes, arguing, much like CTIA and T-Mobile did, that they’re required for global harmonization in the 3 GHz frequencies, which increasingly are being considered for 5G by various countries and international organizations.

Across Asia—in China, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong—policymakers have begun work to make 3 GHz band spectrum available for 5G. Specifically, China issued a public consultation seeking comment on plans to use the 3.3-3.6 GHz band for 5G. Japan allocated and licensed spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for mobile broadband and its Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications identified and issued a public consultation considering use of the 3.6-4.2 GHz band for 5G, the organization pointed out.

Furthermore, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority issued a public consultation on 5G technology development and spectrum requirements, identifying the 3.4-3.6 GHz band, among others, for mobile use, and the Communications Authority of Hong Kong plans to issue a public consultation later this year on re-allocating the 3.4-3.7 GHz band for 5G mobile services.

Elsewhere, European countries have started to take action to make the 3 GHz band available for 5G. “The United Kingdom will soon be auctioning 150 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4 GHz band for 5G mobile use and it has proposed making the 3.6-3.8 GHz band available for mobile services including 5G,” the GSMA said.

Ireland recently auctioned spectrum in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band for 5G deployment; Italy will begin auctioning and awarding spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for 5G uses by 2018; and Germany has announced a 5G plan that includes making the 3.5 GHz band available in 2018 and it is completing a consultation on making the 3.6 GHz band available in the near future, according to the GSMA.

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The GSMA says that adopting the proposals made by CTIA and T-Mobile would, among other things, make Priority Access Licenses (PALs) available on a Partial Economic Area basis with 10-year license terms and a renewal expectancy, something operators have been calling for in order to make their investments more secure. The GSMA also says the proposed changes would further harmonize 3.5 GHz band 5G use in the United States with much of the 3 GHz band in other countries, making U.S. technical standards consistent with international norms.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide and their vendors, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies. It will be hosting its first North American-centric Mobile World Congress Americas trade show in San Francisco next month. Previously, the event was known as CTIA’s Super Mobility trade show.