Verizon files for new STA to conduct 28 GHz tests

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Verizon wants to continue conducting tests to better understand the 28 GHz band.

Verizon Wireless is once again asking for special temporary authority (STA) to conduct tests in Euless, Texas, and South Plainfield, New Jersey, using 28 GHz prototype equipment from five different vendors.

In its latest application, Ericsson, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and Nokia are listed as the vendors to supply the prototype equipment. The requested period of operation is from Feb. 19 to Aug. 19.

The stated purpose of the operation is to “Understand the characteristics of mmWave operating bands, specifically 28 GHz, including channel bandwidths, and U/L ratios for residential/commercial deployments.”

The Euless location has a Verizon Mobile Switching Center and apartments nearby, while the South Plainfield location is in a developed urban area with adjacent buildings and trees.

The proposed tests are very similar to tests Verizon was granted permission to do last year, so it's likely to get the green light again. Since then, Verizon closed on its acquisition of certain assets from XO Communications, from which Verizon will be able to lease 102 LMDS licenses in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. Rival AT&T quietly acquired FiberTower, which will give AT&T spectrum in the 24 and 39 GHz bands, and Dish Network is acquiring licenses from EchoStar that cover four markets in the 28 GHz band.

RELATED: Editor's Corner—The battle over 5G spectrum has begun

In its report issued last July on spectrum above 24 GHz, the FCC noted that perhaps more so than other millimeter wave bands, the 28 GHz band has been an area of focus for academic research and industry prototyping efforts to develop mobile service technologies. It's attractive because, with 850 megahertz of contiguous bandwidth, it has ample capacity to accommodate a range of high data-rate applications, and it has global co-primary allocations for fixed and mobile services. 

Plus, there are no federal allocations in the band, and because it's been home to LMDS licenses covering about 75% of the U.S. population, it can be quickly repurposed for new flexible uses, including mobile, the FCC said.

Throughout the proceeding, Verizon has argued against a request by the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) that an in-band spectrum aggregation limit be imposed. CCA says under the adopted framework, a carrier can aggregate an entire band of spectrum if it falls under the 1250 MHz limit, a policy that it says will hinder competition and should be reconsidered.

Verizon is urging the commission to reject CCA’s request, in part because it says no party in the proceeding provided any evidence supporting the need for any type of spectrum aggregation limit. Similar to an earlier phase of the proceeding, “CCA still provides no economic evidence for its assertion that an individual band could theoretically be ‘monopolized’ in a way that harms other carriers (who, under the current rules, have guaranteed access to other mmW bands),” Verizon said in its Jan. 31 filing.