Cognizant that the FCC will be considering a 6 GHz band proposal at its Oct. 23 meeting, Ericsson is lobbying for some considerations to be given to licensed uses in the 6.425-7.125 GHz band.
The current draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released Oct. 2 suggests that only unlicensed use will be introduced across the entire band, but Ericsson is asking the FCC to keep the door open for the possibility of licensed mobile use of spectrum in the upper portion of the 6 GHz band. Representatives from Ericsson visited with commission staff on two separate occasions on Oct. 12 and 15, according to an ex parte filing (PDF).
That’s not to say Ericsson is against allocating spectrum for unlicensed use. Ericsson makes products in the unlicensed space for carrier-grade Wi-Fi and Licensed Assisted Access, for instance.
Indeed, in previous comments, the company expressed support for the introduction of unlicensed services into the 5.925-6.425 GHz band, so long as such services don’t cause harmful interference to fixed-service incumbents.
However, given the demands for midband spectrum for 5G and the relative lack of availability in the U.S., Ericsson argues that it’s a good idea for the FCC to entertain the idea of studying the 6.425-7.125 GHz band for licensed terrestrial mobile use. “Noting the difficulties for spectrum allocation for terrestrial mobile 5G use in the mid-band, we recommend that the FCC develop a longer-term plan that would identify candidate bands that could be explored,” Ericsson said in the filing.
Ericsson included a slide showing the amount of new spectrum identified and on the horizon in bands between 3 GHz and 24 GHz. At present, there are limited opportunities for non-federal mobile allocations below 24 GHz and certainly no 100 MHz midband blocks available on the horizon that can be used for macro deployments. Instead, a majority of potential midband spectrum is receiving attention for unlicensed uses, according to the vendor.
Internationally, there’s no consensus to commit to unlicensed use in the 6.425-7.125 GHz band, and various groups are studying whether that band should be allocated for licensed or unlicensed use, Ericsson said.