It’s too early to dismiss spectrum sharing
Nov 17, 2022 by Jonathan Watson

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TagsSpectrum sharing

In 2022, the status of spectrum sharing approaches remains highly fragmented. There is a patchwork of bespoke national approaches that generally depend on specific bands and scenarios.

One of those approaches, which we tackled in depth in our recent updates to our spectrum sharing dossier, is CBRS. That came under attack this week from US mobile industry association the CTIA.

The CTIA has published a brief report, compiled by Recon Analytics, that claims CBRS is basically one big letdown. “CBRS spectrum would be more widely utilized, at greater levels of efficiency, and deliver more value to federal incumbents, commercial users and the American consumer had it been made available for exclusive, licensed use,” it says.

CBRS supporters have hit back hard. “When you strip away the intro, conclusion and speculation on ‘why don’t people like CBRS,’ [the report] comes out to 3 pages,” said Harold Feld of civil society group Public Knowledge. “Brevity may be the soul of wit, but research and facts are good too.”

Amid the fallout, it’s easy to forget that there are other alternatives to exclusive, licensed spectrum use. In Europe, licensed shared access is one option. In the UK and Italy, regulators have developed their own approaches. Other countries (such as Australia) are focused on enabling private network use of spectrum on a shared basis.

This is still very much an emerging mode of spectrum access, and as our new research note explains, it’s very much not a case of one size fits all. It’s too early to start piling in and claiming “this doesn’t work”.

The note is the latest update to our ever-expanding spectrum sharing dossier. The full dossier, including the recent research notes specifically devoted to CBRS and with more updates coming very soon, is available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.