Mobile World Congress Americas: Shared Spectrum Is Here & Now

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Attendees enter the MWC Americas event at the Moscone Center.

It’s undeniable. Shared spectrum is here, and market development is moving faster than ever before. How do we know? Not only are we on the front lines of the CBRS industry, but progress was made clear at this year’s Mobile World Congress Americas.

In September, 21,000 people came together for the inaugural MWCA in San Francisco to discuss the latest developments in the wireless industry, and shared spectrum was one of the hot topics at the show. In his keynote, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai addressed the FCC’s efforts to make more spectrum available for commercial use, and he identified the 3.5 GHz shared spectrum model as a positive example. The CBRS Alliance dedicated half a day to discussing the CBRS ecosystem and use cases during its “Shared Spectrum, Expanded Opportunities” standing-room-only seminar, highlighted by Charter and Verizon discussing not just their vision, but large CBRS trials already underway .

Charter’s SVP of Wireless Technology Craig Cowden said that as 4G/5G deployments move towards small cells, mobile technology moves into an area that offers cable operators a competitive advantage.  Cowden discussed Charter’s upcoming CBRS trials in downtown Tampa and Charlotte, and provided insight on when Charter would roll out services in the 3.5 GHz band:

“Cowden…said the company would monitor how fast the spectrum might be freed and auctioned by the FCC, and which vendors would support the bands. He said he expects Charter to engage in limited 3.5 GHz CBRS deployments in 2018 and more fully in 2019.” – Craig Cowden via FierceWireless

Charter’s Cowden speaking at the CBRS Alliance event.
Figure 2: Charter’s Cowden speaking at the CBRS Alliance event.

Verizon’s Senior Vice President Ed Chan said that shared spectrum is ready to be an integral part of the Verizon architecture, and talked about the value that CBRS could provide for mission critical systems, using hospitals as an example.  Chan elaborated on the opportunities that Verizon sees for CBRS:

“It’s going to be a good spectrum for us for normal mobile services, and also it is certainly going to be able to provide private LTE services, which is a brand new market…” – Ed Chan via Mobile World Live

Verizon’s Chan speaking at the CBRS Alliance event.
Figure 3: Verizon’s Chan speaking at the CBRS Alliance event.

Are You Ready?

And we had some news to share as well – the commercial availability of the industry’s first Spectrum Controller. Now mobile operators, cable operators, broadband wireless access providers, managed service providers and enterprises can access 3.5 GHz spectrum when and where they need it. This means higher quality of service for your existing customers and new revenue opportunities for your business. It’s a win-win for all, and we encourage you to check out the Industries section of our website to find out more details on how we can help your business.

In addition to this news, we teamed up with Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm to announce the first use of CBRS band 48 spectrum in an LTE Advanced carrier aggregation demonstration. What’s our role? We provided our Spectrum Controller to deliver dynamic access to interference-free CBRS spectrum.

Samsung Announces Small Cell Portfolio

During MWCA, Samsung also announced their new small cell products for home, enterprise and outdoor use, including a CBRS portfolio. As part of this news we were delighted that Samsung announced the completion of interoperability testing with our Spectrum Controller. We’re honored to have this strong market leader by our side, sending a strong signal to the market about the important role CBRS shared spectrum platforms will play in wireless deployments moving forward.

Let’s Maintain Momentum

It became clear at MWC Americas that companies are quickly and enthusiastically beginning to join the shared spectrum revolution. To those companies still waiting on the sidelines, we say – do your research, know where the opportunities lie and prepare to strike while the iron is hot. You’ll be in good company. And don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether you want to have a business conversation or a technology conversation, we’d like to hear from you.

As a pioneer in shared spectrum innovation, we have anticipated this dramatic change in favor of CBRS for quite some time. We do not take our position in the ecosystem lightly, and we will continue to move forward to maintain momentum. If you thought this year was a productive one for the wireless industry, wait until 2018!

For a full report on MWC Americas, visit: https://www.thinksmallcell.com/Events/mobile-world-congress-americas-2017-event-report.html

About the author /
Iyad Tarazi
Iyad Tarazi joined Federated Wireless from Sprint Corp., where he served as Vice President of Network Development and led the Network Vision network modernization project. Responsibilities included overseeing the development and integration of new products and technologies within Sprint’s networks and managing Sprint-Nextel’s technology integration labs.
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