CBRS Alliance broadens spectrum-sharing scope

The CBRS Alliance is pouncing on the popularity of spectrum sharing, expanding beyond CBRS. (Getty Images)

The CBRS Alliance is changing its name to the OnGo Alliance because it wants to broaden its scope to include spectrum sharing on a much wider scale than just the 3.5 GHz CBRS band in the United States.

The group said today it is expanding its mission to encompass 3GPP technologies operating in shared spectrum bands around the globe. And it will leverage its members’ success in commercializing the CBRS band in the U.S.

The five-year old group has helped lead the charge on spectrum sharing in the U.S. It has nearly 200 members, and it runs an OnGo certification program, indicating a product's ability to meet a set of quality, interoperability and security standards when tested by an OnGo test laboratory.

The group says that since the authorization of full commercial service in the CBRS band in early 2020, numerous OnGo networks have been deployed for a wide range of use cases, including mobile broadband, fixed wireless access and enterprise private networks.

Dave Wright, president of the OnGo Alliance, said, “While our focus will continue to be on advancing OnGo adoption and deployments in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, our new, expanded mission provides the latitude for us to apply our specifications, work products and learnings in other frequencies and countries.”

Speaking at a November 2020 6G Symposium, Google Spectrum Engineering Lead Andrew Clegg said that since the initial commercial deployment of CBRS spectrum in January 2020, there have been 100,000 CBRS access points already deployed. This 100,000-mark encompasses the entire CBRS ecosystem, not just Google’s customers.

RELATED: With 100,000 CBRS access points already, spectrum sharing is eyed for other bands

In the U.S., additional spectrum-sharing schemes may be considered by the FCC for the 100 MHz from 3.45-3.55 GHz and for the 6 GHz band. And the Department of Defense has issued a request for information about spectrum sharing in bands that it owns between 3.1-3.45 GHz.

SNS on spectrum sharing

In a new report from SNS Telecom & IT, the analysts said that telecom regulators around the globe are looking at coordinated sharing of licensed spectrum.

SNS pointed to Germany's 3.7-3.8 GHz licenses for private 5G networks, the U.K.’s shared and local access licensing model, France's 2.6 GHz licenses for industrial LTE/5G networks, the Netherlands' local mid-band spectrum permits, Japan's local 5G network licenses, Hong Kong's geographically-shared licenses and Australia's 26/28 GHz area-wide apparatus licenses.

“In particular, private LTE and 5G networks operating in shared spectrum are becoming an increasingly common theme,” stated SNS. “For example, Germany's national telecommunications regulator BNetzA has received more than 100 applications for private 5G licenses in 2020 alone.”

SNS added that in Japan, which instituted a local 5G spectrum licensing scheme, there’s been an uptick in demand for industrial 5G private networks with interest from many of the country's largest industrial players including Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, Sumitomo Corporation and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.