U.S. Defense Dept (DoD) to share 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G services in U.S.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will make 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum currently used by the military available for sharing with the private sector for use in development of 5G technologies.   That adds to the 3.55-3.65 GHz range currently under FCC  auction 105 (CBRS band) and the 3.7-3.8 GHz band planned to be sold in December. The FCC said the latest announcement means that a total of 530 MHz in the range 3.45-3.98 GHz is set for release for 5G network providers.

The FCC said it would move quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz band and hold an auction for the frequencies. The DoD said the spectrum would likely carry similar terms to the AWS-3 band, where for the most part the spectrum will be available for commercial use without limits, while simultaneously minimizing impact to defense operations.

According to Dana Deasy, chief information officer at the DoD, the spectrum was cleared for 5G following a 15-week review.  It will be provided under a new spectrum-sharing framework that will also allow defense radar services to continue to use the frequencies.  America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team (AMBIT) identified a contiguous, 100MHz segment that was available for sharing.

The Defense Department uses the segment of spectrum from 3450-3550 MHz for such things as radar operations that support missile defense, counter-mortar capabilities, weapons control, electronic warfare, air defense and air traffic control. The spectrum-sharing solution proposed by AMBIT will ensure the spectrum band continues to be available to the department, while it also becomes available for use by the private sector in the lower 48 states.

As part of the U.S. military’s participation, the department established a Mid-Band Spectrum Working Group that included experts in fields such as ship, ground, electronic warfare, test and training capabilities. All four services, as well as representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, were represented.

The AMBIT also leveraged technical work performed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to develop a spectrum-sharing solution that would allow 5G development to progress in the private sector, while at the same time, allow the U.S. military to continue to use that spectrum to meet national security requirements.

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5G networks require a mix of high-, mid- and low-band spectrum. The low band carries signals over long distances, whereas the high band travels shorter distances but is good for data intensive tasks. Mid-band spectrum is attractive for 5G because it can deliver high capacity and reliability over larger geographic areas.

The 3.6GHz (mid) band has been recognized internationally as a an important band for 5G, along with the 700MHz (low band) and 26GHz (mmWave) bands.

According to Analysys Mason, mid-band spectrum is the key to 5G networks because of its blend of capacity and range. A study carried out by the research company earlier in 2020 on behalf of the CTIA showed that the US needed to effectively double its mid-band to keep pace with Japan, China, South Korea and other countries.

 

                             “DoD will share spectrum with private sector to further development of U.S. 5G capabilities”

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The FCC is currently in the middle of the CBRS spectrum auction – dubbed Auction 105 – that will provide 70MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band.  The FCC has also adopted rules to auction 280MHz in the lower C-band (3.7GHz-3.98GHz) later in 2020.

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References:

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1292958910534516739

https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2306902/ambit-gambit-pays-off-advances-us-5g-efforts/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/us-defense-dept-to-clear-more-spectrum-in-35-ghz-band-for-5g–1349877

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/us-opens-up-100mhz-of-mid-band-spectrum-for-5g/d/d-id/763095?

One thought on “U.S. Defense Dept (DoD) to share 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G services in U.S.

  1. Michael Kratsios, chief technology officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology and deputy assistant to the President called it the fastest transfer of spectrum from federal use to commercial in history–the White House and DoD started work on finding the spectrum back in April. He said that the “critically needed” spectrum could be available for commercial use by mid-2022.

    He said the decision on the 100 MHZ came after the White House and DOD “rigorously analyzed” the spectrum in what he called an “unprecedented collaboration.” He said that spectrum will be for contiguous, coast-to-coast deployment at full power levels.

    He called it a groundbreaking achievement, but one that built on other actions, like streamlining 5G buildouts and “taking decisive action to secure domestic networks.”

    Kratsios said the U.S. “will continue to build the best 5G networks.” Winning the race to 5G has been a priority for the administration.

    DOD and other agencies, as well as many in Congress, have butted heads with the FCC over sharing spectrum in other parts of the band, including 24 GHz and adjacent to the GPS satellite band, where the FCC wants to allow Ligado to set up its terrestrial broadband service.

    White House officials had no comment on whether this new spectrum was related to its opposition to the FCC freeing up spectrum elsewhere.

    “I commend the President and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, adding that it was a “key milestone” in making sure the U.S. leads in 5G. “I also would like to thank FCC staff for their work to help create a framework that will promote 5G service in this important band. Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a 530-megahertz swath of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to 3.98 GHz. The FCC looks forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz band and then hold an auction to bring this prime mid-band spectrum to market.”

    “Opening up this critical block of mid-band spectrum for full power commercial operations will enhance U.S. competitiveness in the 5G ecosystem,” said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker. “We applaud the White House and Pentagon for finding ways to promote our nation’s leadership of the emerging 5G economy while safeguarding vital defense operations.”

    Claude Aiken, President and CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), said his members were “greatly encouraged” by the news. “Spectrum is finite, and it must be shared if Americans are to gain the full benefits of wireless broadband,” said Aiken. “The CBRS band shows that a viable framework can be employed to do so – one which both protects national security and allows for commercial use.” (The FCC is currently auctioning CBRS spectrum, with gross proceeds totaling $3,036,705,271 at press time after 34 rounds.)

    “We want to thank all involved for working through the numerous complex technical arrangements to make available this valuable mid-band spectrum. This sharing will benefit Americans, keeping them safe on the home front, and providing more of the fuel providers and the industry need to bring broadband to hungry consumers.”

    https://www.multichannel.com/news/white-house-dod-id-midband-spectrum-for-commercial-5g-auction

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