Verizon promises to work with satellite industry on potential interference issues in 28 GHz band

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) representatives who met with FCC officials on March 1 said they will be working with satellite providers to try to find common ground on potential interference issues between future mobile terrestrial operations and existing satellite earth stations in the 28 GHz band.


 Image source: Iridium

That should come as no surprise given Verizon's interest in using the 28 GHz band for 5G services, but it's notable because the satellite industry has been the most vocal in terms of opposition to some of the proposals for millimeter wave spectrum, especially at 28 GHz.

Satellite operators say they've made enormous investments in spectrum above 24 GHz and they want protections written into the rules so that they can continue to operate in the 28 GHz band and V-band. They argue that while the FCC's initial focus on the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding should be on fixed earth stations in the 28 GHz band, mobility of earth stations in the band also must be accommodated.

Verizon says it supports rules that give existing earth station operators assurances they can continue their operations without making changes to avoid interference with new mobile uses. But future satellite operations at 28 GHz raise different considerations and Verizon says the FCC should reject requests to expand operations in the 28 GHz band to include movable operations and satellite user terminals, saying the Ku and other spectrum bands can be used for satellites.

While Verizon promises to work with satellite operators to find common ground, it is reiterating the importance of quickly making higher band spectrum available for 5G and says the band plans for millimeter wave spectrum should feature wide channels – at least 200 MHz wide – because 5G technologies require large amounts of spectrum for low latency and high-speed applications.

During its meeting with FCC officials at its offices in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon provided an overview of its plans for 5G and the current status of several field trials that its 5G Technology Forum partners are conducting in various locations. Verizon is currently conducting 5G trials in five cities. At its Basking Ridge headquarters building, it's been using a van that drives around the building to deliver 5G from the building into the van, CFO Fran Shammo explained during a recent investors' event.

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) on March 2 filed an experimental license application with the FCC in order to conduct 5G experiments with Verizon in San Francisco. The trials will use both 15 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum and will include multiple base stations, according to the application, which states that the FCC previously authorized a location for similar field trial research with Verizon in Piscataway, N.J.

Verizon's ex parte filing outlining its meeting with the FCC comes just as the FCC is preparing to host a March 10 workshop exploring the concepts raised in its Spectrum Frontiers Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and the state of millimeter wave technologies. Ted Rappaport, founding director of NYU Wireless, is scheduled to give a keynote address, followed by presentations that will include representatives from Verizon Wireless, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel, Starry, ViaSat, Nokia Bell Labs, Ericsson, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and more.

Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm and Ericsson are each making technology demonstrations. The workshop will be webcast on the FCC webpage, and viewers will be able to submit questions. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has promised lawmakers that the FCC's Spectrum Frontiers proceeding will be completed this summer. Other commissioners are on board as well to get millimeter wave spectrum out into the hands of operators, vendors and upstarts like Starry.

For more:
- see this Verizon filing
- see this FCC release

Editor's Corner: FCC needs to tackle a bunch of thorny issues on mmWave spectrum before unleashing it

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