Verizon seeks OK to test Phazr gear at 28, 39 GHz in Texas

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Verizon is requesting a six-month STA to test equipment from Phazr in Euless, Texas.

Verizon is asking the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to test equipment from Phazr, which recently came out of stealth mode, in Euless, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth.

The application doesn’t go into a lot of detail but says the proposed STA operations will allow Verizon Wireless to obtain a better understanding of the characteristics of millimeter-wave operating bands, specifically 28 and 39 GHz, channel bandwidths and U/L ratios for residential/commercial deployments. The 3500-3700 MHz (3.5 GHz) frequency also is listed on the form.

Phazr gear on a lamp post. Image: Phazr

Phazr CEO Farooq Khan told FierceWirelessTech in March that Phazr’s 5G products for 24-40 GHz licensed millimeter-wave spectrum were already in precommercial trials with select customers in the U.S. and Europe, but didn’t name any specific operators.

RELATED: PHAZR aims to deliver commercial-ready 5G products in H2 of 2017

In the U.S., the company is testing in the 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz bands that the FCC opened up for 5G last year. In Europe, it’s doing precommercial trials in the 26 GHz (24.25 GHz-27.5 GHz) band that is identified as a 5G “pioneer band” by Europe’s regulators.

In an email today, Khan confirmed that Verizon is working with Phazr to test some of its products. He also said they plan to use 28 GHz and 39 GHz for downlink and 3.5 GHz for uplink. 

Phazr’s approach includes patent-pending beamforming technologies and a router that can be user-installed inside a building that includes a 5G millimeter-wave modem and built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi for instant gigabit/second internet access.

The company has a 28 GHz experimental license for use around its office in Allen, Texas, near Dallas. Its Quadplex-branded product pairs high-band 24-40 GHz licensed millimeter-wave spectrum for downlink with sub-6 GHz spectrum for the uplink, such as 3.5 or 5 GHz.

Verizon previously has conducted millimeter wave tests in Euless using Samsung and Nokia gear.

Verizon has long promised to be first out of the gate with 5G, and it’s launching 11 precommercial 5G fixed wireless pilots during the second quarter using the 28 GHz spectrum that it obtained the right to use as part of the arrangement it has with XO Communications. Its acquisition of XO assets closed earlier this year.

RELATED: Verizon: T-Mobile needs low-band spectrum 'desperately'

Verizon explained in a recent blog post that it didn’t bid in the 600 MHz incentive auction because it doesn’t need that spectrum. The company is focused on mid-band and millimeter-wave spectrum for growth, and it has sufficient spectrum holdings below 1 GHz. 

T-Mobile this week outlined plans to launch a nationwide 5G network starting in 2019 using some of its newly acquired 600 MHz spectrum. The company said it’s planning nationwide coverage for 5G using low-, mid- and high-band spectrum—not the kind of “hotspot” coverage the “Duopoly” talks about. If so, its 5G strategy will be the opposite of the one it had for many years prior. Now it's on a mission to close the LTE coverage gap with Verizon.

“There’s a certain irony in T-Mobile taking an approach which could see it lead in coverage but lag in speed over time, given that it has until now been known for the opposite: a fast but far from ubiquitous network,” wrote analyst Jan Dawson of JackDaw Research in his commentary.

Article updated May 4 with additional information from Phazr.