Verizon urges flexibility to help nascent mmWave technologies

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is continuing its call for no aggregation screens – or worse yet, caps – when it comes to the nation's millimeter wave spectrum, telling the FCC that companies need flexibility to transfer, share and acquire millimeter wave spectrum to meet the large bandwidths that likely will be necessary for 5G deployment.

Verizon, which has vowed to be the first U.S. company to roll out 5G, said in a recent ex parte filing (PDF) that the case for millimeter aggregation limits does not exist. It added that a spectrum screen would risk causing substantial consumer harm by discouraging and potentially even precluding the wideband operations needed to maximize the use of the spectrum. Verizon previously has said it's too early to say how much spectrum a service provider will need to provide 5G services.

Verizon executives have been meeting with FCC staff ahead of the vote on the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, and this week, they visited Commissioner Michael O'Rielly's office. Besides the message about no need for millimeter wave spectrum screens, they emphasized that, to avoid interfering with 5G operations from secondary satellite operations in the 28 GHz band, any zones that the commission creates for deployment of new satellite earth stations should exclude certain areas. Those areas include densely populated regions or areas that support transient populations, like airports, college campuses and athletic venues.

Another key to encouraging 5G deployment, according to Verizon, is to afford carriers flexibility in meeting any performance requirements the FCC decides to adopt. "Flexibility will help allow nascent mmW technologies to continue to develop and evolve," Charla Rath, VP of wireless policy development at Verizon, told the commission. "One way to do that is to use safe harbors that provide non-exhaustive examples of what constitutes substantial service. And safe harbors for substantial service based on population coverage should take into account not just where people live, but also where they transit or visit."

Verizon has said its 5G technical testing is going well and it wants to rapidly foster the 5G ecosystem, like it did with LTE. The plan is to have an initial fixed wireless pilot starting in 2017.

Under the terms of its deal to acquire XO Communications' fiber-optic network business, Verizon will be able to lease XO's LMDS spectrum with an option to buy it before the end of 2018. XO has 102 LMDS licenses in 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands.

For more:
- see this Verizon filing (PDF)

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