A bumpy road ahead for spectrum sharing

While many engineers and academics in the spectrum field believe that some form of spectrum sharing is the only way to meet future requirements, not everyone is always convinced.
| PolicyTracker

According to FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, for example, the upcoming AWS-3 auction in the US has “a couple of catches” in that federal users aren’t being cleared from the spectrum and the government is being given greater access to 85 MHz of prime commercial spectrum at 2025-2110 MHz.

The best way to maximise the value of spectrum in the bands “is to make it available for exclusive commercial use,” he said. Whatever the challenges, the law favours clearing, not sharing.

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly agreed, saying Congress’s strong preference is for clearing over sharing, which is allowed only if relocating federal operations from a band is not feasible. He has urged the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which manages federal spectrum, to give lawmakers an explanation for why federal users can’t ultimately vacate the AWS-3 bands.

T-Mobile’s senior director of government affairs Steve Sharkey recently added his views to the mix, saying that the current ambiguity over the impact of sharing in these bands runs the risk of “potentially depressing auction participation and revenues” because network operators will not be able to develop their bidding strategies.

While spectrum sharing may well be the way forward, there is still a bumpy road ahead.

This editorial was first published as part of the Spectrum round up on April 24.



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