Sprint supports Globalstar’s revised proposal in 2.4 GHz band

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Sprint, along with the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA), is urging the FCC to adopt Globalstar’s revised proposal for low-power terrestrial services in its licensed mobile satellite service (MSS) spectrum at 2483.5-2495 MHz. They’re also advising that the proposal include a revised out-of-band emissions (OOBE) limit.

Globalstar revised its proposal after years of fighting critics, including Microsoft, the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), who said its proposal would wreak havoc on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices, including Xbox 360S game consoles.

Opponents like the Wi-Fi Alliance argued as recently as September that Globalstar’s plan to use the 2473.5-2495 MHz band for a private, low power terrestrial service potentially would cause harmful interference to Wi-Fi channel 11 and insisted that Globalstar had done no industry-standard testing or analysis to demonstrate the contrary. Globalstar argued repeatedly over the past couple years that its demonstrations, including those at FCC offices, showed it would not interfere.

RELATED: Globalstar shelves controversial proposal for unlicensed spectrum, asks FCC to OK revised plan

On November 9, 2016, Globalstar submitted a revised proposal to the FCC requesting that the commission adopt rules that would permit it to use its 11.5 megahertz of licensed MSS spectrum at 2483.5-2495 MHz for low-power terrestrial broadband services. In this filing, Globalstar stated its view that its “revised proposal should resolve all remaining interference-related concerns in this proceeding,” including any concerns relating to Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) operations above 2496 MHz.

Since that filing, Globalstar, WCA and Sprint engaged in discussions regarding the OOBE limit at the upper edge of Globalstar’s licensed spectrum at 2495 MHz. As a result, they all agreed that the FCC’s regulatory framework for low-power terrestrial services at 2483.5-2495 MHz should include the following limit on emissions above 2495 MHz:

  • 43 + 10 log (P) dB at the channel edge at 2495 MHz and 55 + 10 log (P) dB at X MHz from the channel edges where X is the greater of 6 MHz or the actual emission bandwidth.

Globalstar added in its Nov. 16 filing (PDF) with the FCC that it is confident that low-power terrestrial services at 2483.5-2495 MHz will not raise any interference issues for Sprint or other BRS licensees at 2496-2505 MHz or EBS licensees above 2502 MHz. If it does cause interference, Globalstar promised to mitigate and resolve any such interference.

Globalstar’s revised proposal is also getting the nod from the likes of Hughes Network Systems, which as a manufacturer of Globalstar and MSS equipment, isn't surprising. Hughes said it supports “removing the outdated regulatory barriers in order to increase the efficient use of spectrum, address rapidly growing data usage and provide consumers with additional terrestrial broadband capacity.”

Early last week, the Bluetooth SIG said it was still evaluating whether Globalstar’s new proposal resolves its interference concerns or raises new ones.

Globalstar's earlier proposal has been on circulation at the FCC for months, but it's unclear what will happen with its latest proposal now that a new administration is on its way in. Asked about it during a press conference on Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler reiterated only that the Globalstar proposal is on circulation, where commissioners can deal with it if they so choose.

Back in June, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai said he voted against Chairman Wheeler’s proposal "to give a particular company special rights to unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band," adding that "bestowing this type of preferential access would be a marked departure from our successful and innovative approach to unlicensed spectrum."