Wireless Industry News

In recent weeks CTIA and T-Mobile US have both asked the Federal Communications Commission to change the way the agency plans to allocate the Citizens Broadband Radio Spectrum. If adopted, the proposed changes will help U.S. mobile network operators deploy spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for 5G services. Conversely, if the FCC does not change its current plan, the potential of the 3.5 GHz band for 5G deployments may go largely unrealized in the U.S., while other countries move forward with 5G in the 3.5 GHz band.

U.S. carriers want the FCC to “change the priority access license term from three years to a standard, ten-year license term with an expectation of renewal to promote investment in the band.” There is currently a guarantee for 6 years before a license is due to be renewed. This change would effectively give a PAL holder a 20-year time frame before any renewal is required if the same logic is upheld for the current proposal. Given the long-term investment outlook for any spectrum assets by a mobile operator, this does not seem unreasonable. Read More

Verizon Wireless activated its Category M1 LTE network, making it the first U.S. carrier to launch a nationwide LTE network dedicated to the internet of things. The carrier said it will offer IoT data plans for as little as $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.

Category M1 LTE is very different from the higher categories of LTE that smartphones use. Uplink and downlink speeds are both capped at one megabit per second, and bandwidth is capped at 1.4 megahertz per device. This is said to enable low-cost connectivity chipsets for devices that do not need constant communication with the network. Category M1 modems are roughly 75% less complex than Category 1 modems, which are currently used to connect IoT devices to LTE networks