Federated Wireless poised to hit ‘go’ for 20-plus customers

wave CBRS
Federated Wireless has been riding the CBRS wave, and expects to start serving commercial customers as soon as the FCC issues a public notice of approval. (Fierce Wireless)

As soon as the Federal Communications Commission issues its public notice of approval, Federated Wireless will immediately initiate services in the Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) band for more than 20 customers in both urban and rural markets across 36 states.

In combination with the Series C funding announced on September 4, Federated said this puts it “squarely at the forefront” of shared spectrum market development. The CBRS market is one that has been waiting years for kick-off, and numerous players, including Google and its partner CommScope, are jockeying for position.

“Customers from all areas of business across the nation will begin to reap the benefits of the higher throughput, improved availability and low barrier-to-entry for high-performance CBRS services made available through shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range,” said Iyad Tarazi, CEO of Federated Wireless, in a press release. “We applaud the FCC for its leadership in opening this spectrum for general shared use and its stewardship in bringing the industry and all of its various players to this critical juncture. CBRS will be a huge boon to innovation and help to accelerate new business models.”

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The company noted the CBRS band has been dubbed “the Innovation Band” since its inception. The 150 MHz available in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band is approximately equivalent to that owned by the largest national wireless carriers, and is divided into three tiers of service: incumbents, which includes the U.S. Navy; Priority Access Licenses (PALs), which will be used by wireless operators once those are auctioned off; and General Authorized Access (GAA), which is available to carriers as well as public venues, property managers and others who want to improve their wireless networks and service capabilities.

RELATED: FCC moves toward June 2020 auction of CBRS spectrum

Federated Wireless’ customers include Verizon, Charter, American Tower, Airspan, Boingo, Cambium, Cradlepoint, Contour Networks, Ericsson, ExteNet, Geoverse, JMA Wireless, Landmark Dividend, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Telrad and Wave Wireless.

“There’s been such a pent-up need for it and anticipation” for CBRS, Tarazi told FierceWireless in an interview. “We want to continue to drive this market” in innovation and extend it to 5G.

According to Federated, CBRS promises an immediate bridge to 5G, with high-performance, cost-reduction, service breadth and support for 4G service delivery, as well as critical 5G capabilities including edge computing and private networks.

CBRS specifications for 5G are being developed, and the CBRS Alliance earlier this year said it expects the work on Release 3 to conclude in the fourth quarter, enabling OnGo-branded CBRS 5G service availability in 2020.

Federated Wireless is acting as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrator, and it finished deploying its Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network several months ago. In fact, as Hurricane Dorian slammed through the Southeast last week, Federated’s ESC network held up, thanks in part to its built-in redundancies.

The CBRS band offers enterprises the chance to run their own private LTE networks and run specific IoT services like surveillance cameras and door entry. Mobile network operators can use it to surgically add capacity to certain locations while property managers can use it to keep guests connected to LTE while they're on their property.

Federated also is seeing a lot of interest in using the CBRS band for fixed wireless services, both in rural and suburban/urban areas, according to Tarazi.

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