Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi said the company is quite pleased with how the FCC is approaching shared spectrum and its focus on finalizing the Priority Access License (PAL) rules related to the Citizens Band Radio Services (CBRS) 3.5 GHz band.
The FCC approved rules for the 3.5 GHz band last year but neither Chairman Ajit Pai nor fellow Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly were entirely happy with the way the rules turned out. Then this year, CTIA and T-Mobile petitioned the FCC for specific changes, including making the length of the PAL license terms 10 years rather than three and adjusting the size of the geographic areas for licensed spectrum.
The band is uniquely going to be shared between incumbent government users, General Authorized Access (GAA) users and PALs, and Federated Wireless has been working hard to be one of the Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators to make it all happen.
“We’re encouraged that the process is moving forward quickly,” Tarazi told FierceWirelessTech. “We don’t really see an impact on the work that’s being done on GAA. We see it as positive.”
He noted that Commissioner O’Rielly delivered a keynote at the last CBRS Alliance meeting in San Diego where he reiterated the FCC’s commitment to sharing and not slowing down the process. Qualcomm also suggested CBRS band revisions related to the out-of-band emissions that are likely to be part of FCC discussions as well.
The expectation now is that the rules for PALs will be finalized early in 2018 and auctions for PALs might occur in late 2018, so “we’re encouraged by it,” Tarazi said, noting that people can launch with GAA and add PAL at a later date. “It doesn’t slow us down and we’re encouraged by the support by the FCC, the industry and the speed by which it’s progressing.”
Federated Wireless was one of the participants in a trial with Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm where they used the CBRS band 48 spectrum in an LTE Advanced carrier aggregation demonstration. The demo, conducted in an Ericsson lab in Plano, Texas, included the end-to-end CBRS communication flow using 2x20 MHz LTE carriers on the CBRS band 48 and a 256 QAM modulation in the downlink.
Ericsson provided the band 48 Radio Dot System and Domain Proxy for communication with Federated SAS. Qualcomm provided a Snapdragon LTE modem test device, and Federated Wireless provided the spectrum management service with its Spectrum Controller.
“We were happy and grateful for all the work that Ericsson did to help integrate all the different capabilities,” Terazi said, noting that it was the first carrier-grade testing that’s been done by anyone in this space.