Verizon files to conduct C-band tests

Verizon sign MWCLA19
Verizon wants to conduct C-band tests both indoors and outdoors. (FierceWireless)

Verizon Wireless has filed paperwork with the FCC seeking an experimental authorization to use the 3.7-3.8 GHz band in portions of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Westlake, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; and Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan.

According to the application, the 100 MHz sought under the experimental authorization is a subset of the recently expanded flexible use C-band in the ranges of 3.7 to 3.98 GHz, which will be auctioned starting at the end of this year.  

Ericsson is listed as one of the vendors, supplying 12 test units, but the other test units will be provided by multiple, unnamed sources. Verizon is seeking the authority for a one-year term.

Testing will be done both indoors and outdoors. The fixed base stations and mobile terminals will use directional, beamforming antennas, according to the application materials.

Plans call for equipment to be mounted in the same orientation as existing antennas used by Verizon at certain sites in Michigan. In California, the site will be a temporary cell site on wheels, or COW, and will remain at the location for the duration of the testing.

Verizon said it has identified the nearest earth stations and will coordinate operations under the experimental authorization with those earth station operators to avoid any potential disruptions to their operations.

“In addition, while Verizon Wireless expects this testing will end prior to the winning bidders of Auction 107 initiating operations, Verizon Wireless will cease operations upon notice by a new licensee that they plan to initiate operations in the relevant area,” the application states.

RELATED: Verizon views CBRS, C-band in ‘very different ways’

During the company’s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Hans Vestberg reiterated that Verizon is encouraged that the FCC has set a date for the the C-band auction, which is set to begin December 8. Verizon had lobbied (PDF) last year for a C-band auction, either private or public, to happen this year before FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the FCC would pursue a public auction of the airwaves.

So far, Verizon’s 5G deployment strategy has focused on using millimeter wave spectrum in dense urban areas, and it can use its lower band spectrum for 5G when it deploys dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). But its need for mid-band spectrum for 5G is well known. 

Verizon also has conducted a lot of experiments using the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, which is available now on an unlicensed basis. The auction for the licenses in that band is scheduled to start July 23. The CBRS band includes 70 MHz for auction and 80 MHz for unlicensed, for a total of 150 MHz.