The CBRS Alliance and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) announced an agreement to work together to address critical technical challenges and business opportunities related to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band.
Their collaboration will focus on the technical interworking between the CBRS Alliance and ATIS solutions, including the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), Home Network Identity (HNI), Priority Services and Radio Access Networks. They will also address legal and regulatory compliance topics.
It’s just the latest in a year that has seen CBRS nearly reach commercial launch. The FCC in October approved revised rules for the band mostly related to the licensed portion, but much of the industry was already working toward commercialization of the unlicensed part of the band.
Just last week, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) said it had completed performance certification lab testing of Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) equipment, the sensors that will help enable sharing in the band between U.S. Navy radars and CBRS devices.
ATIS and the CBRS Alliance announced last summer that they had completed work tied to the commercial deployment of CBRS. That work took place in ATIS’ IMSI Oversight Council (IOC), which oversees the U.S. assignment of the IMSI resource, a 15-digit international identifier that allows for network roaming. That resulted in the development of a new IMSI code that is specifically allocated for use by CBRS spectrum operators.
"Earlier this year, ATIS and the CBRS Alliance achieved a key milestone in enabling use of CBRS spectrum to improve mobile connectivity and make it more widely available," explained Susan Miller, president and CEO of ATIS, in a press release. "This new agreement affirms that we will continue our collaboration with the CBRS Alliance, which has been effective in creating infrastructure to utilize the 3.5 GHz CBRS band for LTE services, while also advancing IoT applications."
As part of this agreement, the organizations will partner on HNI initiatives within the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. Traditionally, an HNI identifies a mobile subscriber's home network and is assignable to mobile network operators with international roaming capabilities.
Because the 3550-3700 MHz spectrum is not solely for exclusive use, some users will not directly obtain FCC spectrum licenses. Instead, users will acquire base stations certified by the FCC as being compliant with the FCC rules. With such broad and low-cost access to the shared licensed spectrum, ATIS' IMSI Oversight Council (IOC) derived a strategy for allocating blocks of IMSIs for users within the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. Within the 3.5 GHz band, a Shared HNI will be used to identify CBRS operations, thus conserving HNI resources, the organization explained.
The CBRS Alliance Technical Working Group and ATIS already hosted a webinar last month offering an overview of Shared HNI on CBRS and its benefits for the industry. The session included an explanation of HNIs, the benefits of a Shared HNI and best practices to set up network identifiers in a Shared HNI environment.