T-Mobile USA is asking the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to conduct experiments using a slice of AWS-3 spectrum held by the commission as well as PCS and AWS spectrum licensed to T-Mobile.
The “uncarrier” explained that the STA will help T-Mobile conduct pre-commercial testing of new products outside of a lab but in a controlled and managed manner. Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung are providing the LTE-Advanced equipment.
The application (PDF) requests an operation start date of April 23, 2018 and an end date of Oct. 24, 2018, in Augusta, Georgia. It follows a similar request granted last year for tests in Augusta as well as El Paso, Texas, which expires on April 23.
The documents don’t reveal what types of LTE Advanced features the operator is testing. T-Mobile said it anticipates using as many as 36 mobile units.
T-Mobile was one of the main participants in the FCC’s successful auction of AWS-3 spectrum in 2015. The auction of 65 MHz of spectrum ended in January 2015 with a total of $44.899 billion in provisional winning bids. Although AT&T was the biggest bidder in that auction, T-Mobile walked away with a total of 157 AWS-3 licenses and was the first to deploy in that spectrum.
Last year, T-Mobile spent roughly $8 billion in the FCC’s incentive auction of TV broadcasters’ unwanted 600 MHz spectrum. The operator got some wheels in motion before the auction ended and was able to deploy in the 600 MHz band far sooner than most anticipated.