Verizon prepares for tests of new LTE equipment using AWS-3 Band 66

Verizon sign from MWCA
The purpose of the proposed tests is to evaluate handset capability using the deployed frequency combinations. (FierceWireless)

Verizon is asking the FCC for permission to conduct tests using new LTE equipment in AWS-3 Band 66, with gear provided by Ericsson and LG.

While there are already handsets that support Band 66, Verizon explained that it is working with partner companies to develop equipment using LTE technologies in the band. As part of the technology validation, Verizon plans to conduct a temporary test transmitting in an unclaimed frequency block—AWS-3 G-block, 2155-2160 MHz—in the early morning hours to limit the transmission time and minimize service interruption.

The tests would be conducted in Greenville, South Carolina, with antennas that are part of an existing structure and deployment. The Special Temporary Authority would add additional frequencies to those already being transmitted by Verizon, and the field tests will be conducted in a highly controlled environment, according to the application materials.

The intent is to operate the evaluation devices, both small cells and mobile units, for a few hours as needed, between midnight and 5 a.m., for several nights during the test period. The requested test period is March 19 to May 31.

The trial will consist of a single base station from Ericsson, with LG mobile units operating within the RF coverage area of the base station, receiving the intended broadcast signal in downlink-only operation. Verizon said there will be no uplink transmissions on the handsets in the AWS-3 G-block, or 1755-1760 MHz.

RELATED: Verizon: With AWS-3, we have at least 40 MHz of AWS spectrum in 92 of top 100 markets

Verizon won a total of 181 licenses in the AWS-3 auction covering 192 million POPs, or around 60% of the population, a few years ago. AT&T and T-Mobile also own AWS-3 spectrum, and last year, Apple’s latest generation of iPhones added Band 66 support.

RELATED: Apple’s iPhone 7 ignores Band 66 for AWS-3 spectrum, which may slow carrier network buildouts

The AWS-3 auction closed in January 2015 after 341 rounds of bidding, with total provisional winning bids coming in at a record $44.899 billion—far more than the FCC had ever raised in its previous spectrum auctions.