Verizon gets OK for 28 GHz tests in Texas, New Jersey

The FCC has granted Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) request for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to conduct tests near its office locations in Euless, Texas, and South Plainfield, New Jersey.

Verizon had applied for the STA back in March and has obtained authorization to conduct 28 GHz testing from May 26 to Oct. 1, 2016. Like other operators, the purpose of the testing is to better understand the characteristics of millimeter wave bands, specifically 28 GHz, including channel bandwidths and U/L ratios for residential/commercial deployments.

Verizon will be testing prototype equipment from Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung. The operator previously had requested to test with a radius of operation of 1 kilometer but changed that to 1.5 km for both the Euless and South Plainfield locations.

Through its planned acquisition of XO Communications' fiber optic network business, Verizon would have the option to acquire a bevy of LMDS licenses. XO Communications, formerly known as Nextlink Communications, which was founded by wireless industry pioneer Craig McCaw, has 102 LMDS licenses in 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands.  

However, Verizon's been getting some pushback from the likes of Dish Network and the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), which point out that the acquisition would give Verizon the vast majority of the available LMDS spectrum in top markets. Dish says that with the exception of three LMDS licenses expiring in September 2016, all of Nextlink's 39 GHz and LMDS spectrum will fall under the proposed lease arrangement.

Nonetheless, Verizon is keeping the pedal to the 5G metal. During a keynote appearance at the 44th Annual J.P. Morgan Conference, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said that the carrier's 5G tests in its Basking Ridge, New Jersey, headquarters have shown speeds of up to 1.8 Gbps, and he hinted that the range of that service could reach up to 1,000 meters.  

He reiterated the company's plans to lead the U.S. in the 5G space. "There's no doubt in my mind. … We're going to lead on 5G and we're probably going to lead on 6G whenever that comes," he said.

Verizon, AT&T (NYSE: T), T-Mobile and Sprint (NYSE: S) all are in various stages of testing for 5G. Sprint has said it plans to conduct 5G demonstrations on June 3 and June 6 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and on June 9, 11 and 14 at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia. It's using gear from Nokia and Ericsson.

For more:
- see this application and this grant

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