Nokia plans to conduct 90-96 GHz tests

Nokia sign MWCA
Nokia wants to do 90-96 GHz tests at its facilities in New Jersey, Illinois and California.

At a time when much of the industry’s attention has been on midband spectrum, Nokia is taking it up a notch by pursuing tests in the 90-96 GHz range.

The vendor filed an application with the FCC asking for permission to conduct the tests over the course of two years at Nokia facilities in Murray Hill, New Jersey; Arlington Heights and Naperville, Illinois; and Sunnyvale, California.

The application doesn’t reveal much else other than that the tests will involve two Nokia base station units and one mobile unit manufactured by Nokia.

While the FCC is currently looking at midband spectrum, including in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) arena and more flexible use in other midband spectrum, the higher bands are not without precedent.

RELATED: Editor's Corner—U.S. risks ceding leadership if it remains passive about 95 GHz+

Industry consultant Michael Marcus, head of Marcus Spectrum Solutions and retired associate chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, gave a presentation (PDF) to FCC staffers earlier this year about the importance of opening 95-475 GHz to commercial use and the technical and policy challenges.

Marcus, who worked on drafting rules for what eventually became spectrum for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in the 1980s, pointed out that R&D, often with national government support, is underway around the world for as high as 600 GHz

Earlier this year, Nokia was granted permission by the FCC to conduct tests in the 3.5, 28, and 68-76 GHz and other frequencies. The tests at 68-76 GHz were for 12 different U.S. markets. FCC documents indicate Nokia’s been conducting 68-76 GHz tests in the U.S. going back to at least 2014.

As for that midband spectrum, Nokia says it has focused for years on the 3.7-4.2 GHz band as the most favorable midband spectrum range to introduce 5G services. However, it favors a licensing framework with longer terms, larger geographic areas and higher power levels than what was originally adopted for the 3.5 GHz band in the U.S.

Nokia advocates that the FCC clear the 3.7-4.2 GHz band of satellite service to allow 5G services in the band. It doesn’t oppose review of the 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.425-7.125 GHz bands, but it has concerns about the technical feasibility of new services in those bands. Nokia is a major vendor for terrestrial Fixed Services throughout the upper and lower portions of the 6 GHz band, so it’s concerned any new service would create interference for incumbents.