Nokia has been granted FCC authority to conduct a demonstration of prototype Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) equipment at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, in September.
The two base stations and 10 mobile units will operate in the 3.4-3.5 GHz band. Specifically, Nokia was granted permission to demonstrate the equipment for potential customers between Sept. 1 and 20.
“In particular, this customer seeks to evaluate the equipment as part of its service strategy in an environment that the topology allows for further understanding of propagation models in such areas,” Nokia explained in its application materials. “Their deployment strategy and planning is in an advanced stage and this would allow for preparation of FCC certification of the band as ready for commercial use.”
Filed in late June, Nokia’s application had asked for expedited treatment of its request for Special Temporary Authority so that it could start the demonstration on or before Sept. 1. Nokia said it was unable to reschedule the test because representatives attending the demo could not readily participate at another time.
Racetracks are a popular spot for CBRS deployments. Last year, Nokia brought its 3.5 GHz radios to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to participate in a demo with Google/Alphabet and Qualcomm Technologies. Their demo showed how CBRS spectrum could be used to host an LTE network and deliver 360-degree 4K video streaming from race cars on the track.
The CBRS band in the U.S. is unique in that it was set up with a three-tiered spectrum sharing structure, allowing enterprises, campuses and other venues to gain access to spectrum without having to go through the traditional means with a wireless carrier. But since the original rules were passed under the prior administration, wireless operators have been increasingly calling for more favorable 3.5 GHz rules so that they can better compete in the race to 5G. Other countries are using 3.5 GHz for 4G and 5G services.
The entire CBRS community is gearing up for initial commercial deployments this year. The FCC is still reviewing changes to the rules, but those are mostly targeted at the Priority Access Licenses portion of the band as opposed to the General Authorized Access part that can be used without an auction. The FCC released a Public Notice on July 27 outlining its Initial Commercial Deployment, and some devices have already been submitted for verification at the agency.
Attendees at the Mobile World Congress Americas convention in Los Angeles in September can expect to see their fair share of 3.5 CBRS demos. Ericsson was recently awarded the authority to conduct a 3.5 GHz demo at its booth on the show floor.