T-Mobile picks apart satellite industry’s requests for mmWave bands

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In no uncertain terms, T-Mobile USA is telling the satellite industry to back off the millimeter wave bands and is urging the FCC to reject claims by satellite interests for accommodations in the high-spectrum bands.

T-Mobile is among the chorus of cellular entities submitting comments to the commission in opposition to the satellite industry, whose interests they insist should be treated as secondary to the primary purpose of the FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers proceeding: to make spectrum available for 5G mobile terrestrial operations.

In its Jan. 31 filing, T-Mobile reviews specific requests the Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) proponents have made and blasts them accordingly, addressing concerns raised by the likes of O3b, Boeing, Inmarsat, EchoStar, SES and the Satellite Industry Association (SIA). Boeing has asked for additional satellite access to the 37 GHz band, while SES, O3b, Boeing and others want expanded access to the 28 GHz band and there’s a contingent that wants the FCC to re-evaluate rules for the 39 GHz band.

The “uncarrier” also asserts that there’s been no effort on behalf of the existing satellite systems to actually use the vast amount of V-band spectrum available to them already, and it argues that calls for some kind of FCC-maintained database with information on where UMFUS stations are operating would be overly burdensome on operators while existing licensing databases already identify licensees in a particular geographic area.

T-Mobile also points out the great demands for terrestrial wireless services, something 5G Americas also mentioned in its comments to the commission.

“Demand for mobile broadband is clearly growing dramatically, whereas the same cannot be said for satellite services,” 5G Americas wrote. “The number of mobile subscribers in the United States dwarf satellite subscribers. There are approximately 325 Million terrestrial mobile users in U.S. alone, compared to less than 2 Million satellite customers globally.”

5G Americas also notes that the commission already rejected a satellite industry request to reclassify the status of FSS in the 28 GHz band to be co-primary rather than secondary, and notes that many more 5G trials at 28 GHz have been announced in the terrestrial mobile industry since July.

RELATED: FCC OKs sweeping Spectrum Frontiers rules to open up nearly 11 GHz of spectrum

Last month, the FCC granted an extension until Jan. 31 in the public comment period on its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding after Public Knowledge and Open Technology Institute filed a motion for an extension, in part because holidays and the Consumer Electronics Show ate into everybody’s time to prepare comments. The FCC doesn’t routinely grant extensions, but it made an exception here to ensure a complete and thorough record. Another round of comments will come due Feb. 10.