Monday, October 22, 2012

FCC approves AT&T, Sirius sharing underused satellite radio spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a joint proposal for spectrum sharing by AT&T and Sirius XM. Starting October 12, 2012, the two companies can now share under-utilized spectrum in the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) satellite radio band. This will help speed up AT&T's ongoing rollout of out its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network.

The FCC has given permission for AT&T to use 30 megahertz of barely-utilized spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band for its wireless broadband services. However, AT&T will only be able to use 20 MHz from this windfall of capacity.

10 MHz on either side of the approved frequency will be used for fixed broadband services. These interference buffers will prevent interference with satellite radio in adjacent bands. Sirius XM currently uses this particular satellite spectrum.

Back in June, Sirius and AT&T made a joint proposal to the FCC. The companies asked for permission to co-exist in their use of the same spectrum. The FCC has finally approved that plan this Monday.

Joan Marsh, vice president of federal regulatory issues for AT&T, issued a statement saying that the FCC's adoption of the new service rules is beneficial on two counts. First, it will allow LTE technologies to be deployed in in the WCS band. At the same time, it will protect satellite radio services from interference.

According to VP Marsh, AT&T took on significant risks when it chose to develop the under-utilized band has paid off. The Company continues to be commited in unlocking the band's full potential and using the additional spectrum capacity to enhance wireless broadband services and support increasing use of mobile Internet. AT&T predicts it can start deploying LTE infrastructure in the band in three years.

Back in August, AT&T spent $600 million to acquire NextWave Wireless and the latter company's spectrum licenses in the WCS and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) bands. The acquisition boosted AT&T's own spectrum holdings and its developing 4G LTE network.

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1 comment:

  1. This is plain ridiculous. 4G already works in 60GHz band within 4G specs, and this puny little 10MHz is laughable.

    There is NO 4G working below 24GHz within 4G specs. Feel free to live in denial, but there isn't any.