Verizon: We’ll have CBRS 3.5 GHz devices by end of 2018

Verizon sign from MWCA
CBRS is a key component of Verizon’s technology strategy. (FierceWireless)

Verizon said it expects to have 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS)-capable devices, including smartphones, entering its lineup by the end of this year.

The operator announced today that it is working with leading companies and vendors across the industry to accelerate the use of LTE technology over the CBRS spectrum.

“CBRS is a key component of Verizon’s technology strategy,” the company said in a statement to FierceWirelessTech. “As such, Verizon has strongly encouraged all OEMs to adopt CBRS support to take advantage of this technology. CBRS-capable devices will begin entering the lineup by the end of 2018 and will continue to expand aggressively through 2019.”

That’s good news for the CBRS ecosystem, which has seen many players coming together to make it all work. The CBRS band will use a unique tiered sharing model that hasn’t been done previously. Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators are being set up to dynamically prioritize traffic within the FCC’s sharing framework.

Many handsets are available today with Band 42 support, including the latest Apple and Samsung devices, so they can work at 3.5 GHz in Japan (and soon in Europe where auctions are being held). However, they will need Band 48 support to operate in the 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum in the U.S. The fact that they support TDD LTE operation in 3.5 GHz today makes this a relatively small modification.

Verizon said it is trying to accomplish several goals in its end-to-end tests, including verifying that the SAS algorithms from Google and Federated Wireless are consistently providing the best channel match from the SAS database. It’s also testing mobility handoffs on the CBRS spectrum and evaluating performance and data from LTE over CBRS spectrum.

 

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Verizon has a lot of company in the tests. Besides Google and Federated, it’s working with Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson and Corning to make sure an end-to-end system supports the band. Qualcomm is providing the Snapdragon LTE modem needed to access LTE on CBRS on mobile devices, and the infrastructure vendors are providing the indoor and outdoor radio solutions running on CBRS spectrum.

Verizon also said that participants in the ecosystem have set up private LTE sites that are using CBRS spectrum. Private LTE networks are being engineered to meet the needs of enterprise customers that want greater control over their LTE solutions, including private on-site servers, control over access to their designated LTE network, as well as increased throughput and reduced latency through dedicated backhaul.

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The end-to-end system testing began in February and will continue over the next several weeks. Once the tests are done, equipment will be submitted for certification through the FCC, after which commercial deployment can begin.

“The promise of the CBRS band and enabling the use of wider swaths of spectrum will make a big impact on carrying wireless data in the future. These trials are critical to stress test the full system,” said Bill Stone, VP Technology Development and Planning for Verizon, in a press release. “There are many players in the CBRS ecosystem and these successful trials ensure all the various parts perform together as an end-to-end system for our customers’ benefit. We want to ensure devices efficiently use CBRS spectrum and that the new components effectively interact with the rest of the network.”