Ericsson is planning to test 5G at 39 GHz in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida, but just in case the foliage isn’t exactly where it needs to be, the vendor is asking for an eight-month window in its request with the FCC.
In order to generate reliable RF 5G propagation models, Ericsson needs to collect continuous wave (CW) data at 39 GHz in various urban and suburban locations with varying degrees of foliage, the company explained (PDF).
“This data will be of great value to not only advise carriers and the industry on how best to design and deploy 5G networks, but also to help evolve 5G technology,” Ericsson stated. “5G is not only an imperative for Ericsson and the North American carriers, but a strategic imperative for the United States of America.”
Plans call for operating about four days at each site. The eight-month license period is being requested in case the license is granted after the foliage is no longer at the necessary density by the time the license is granted. The specific equipment being queued for tests is the Ericsson Mini-Link PT2020.
The 39 GHz band in the U.S. is slated to go up for auction in the second half of 2019, along with the 37 and 47 GHz bands. Many in the cellular industry had pushed for one big auction of millimeter bands, but part of the reason the FCC cited for not doing that was the complex nature of the 39 GHz band, which requires more time to sort out than some other bands do.
Much of the fragmentation of the 39 GHz band ties back to the wireless local loop (WLL) days of the 1990s, when the license areas were based on rectangular service areas. The WLL business never took off in the way it was expected, and more complications were added to the band, such as auctions that included 50 MHz pairs of noncontiguous spectrum.
Some 39 GHz spectrum already is being used, though. AT&T acquired average holdings of more than 375 MHz in the top 100 markets for its 39 GHz licenses through its acquisition of FiberTower, even though a settlement with the FCC required FiberTower to return hundreds of millimeter wave licenses back to the agency due to lack of adequate build-out years ago. AT&T is expected to launch its first 5G using 39 GHz.
Verizon, which also has some 39 GHz, has hundreds of megahertz of 28 GHz spectrum and that’s what it has pinned much of its early 5G work on. Verizon acquired 28 GHz licenses through to its XO Communications and Straight Path acquisitions.