FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said today that at least 300 megahertz of the 3.7-4.2 gigahertz C-band should be repurposed for 5G terrestrial services, and he also reiterated the importance of “an open and transparent process” that sees at least some revenues going to the U.S. Treasury.
Mr. Carr discussed the FCC’s C-band proceeding and efforts to free up mid-band spectrum in response to questions from reporters at an annual technology briefing organized by 5G Americas.
“We need to repurpose at least 300 MHz of spectrum. I think we need to have an open and transparent process where everyone feels like they had a fair bite at the apple,” Mr. Carr said. He also said that “some of the revenues” from a sale should go to the U.S. Treasury, and he said he is looking forward to reviewing an item. “I’m happy with the progress that we’re making,” he said.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said the Commission will act in the proceeding this fall.
Commissioner Mike O’Rielly has also said that at least 300 MHz should be repurposed for terrestrial 5G services, and he said he is open to letting the C-Band Alliance auction the spectrum through a private sale, saying that it would free up the frequencies more quickly than an FCC auction.
Mr. Carr said today that he is pleased with the way the FCC has moved to make a variety of bands available for 5G services, and he said he is not worried that the U.S. trails other countries in freeing up mid-band spectrum.
“I don’t think that we are behind the eight ball at all, when it comes to, you know, mid-band spectrum or spectrum generally,” he said, adding that U.S. 5G speeds and capacity have been impressive in part because of the low- and high-band spectrum that the Commission has made available.
Mr. Carr also spoke at length about the successes he said the U.S. has seen in 5G deployments compared to China, which he said are the result of the U.S.’s market-based system compared to China’s command-and-control regime.
While Mr. Carr has spoken in the past about the U.S. trailing China in the deployment of cell sites, today he focused on, among other things, the spectrum choices made by the two countries. While the U.S. has made spectrum available so far in multiple ranges, China has focused on mid-band frequencies, which has hobbled their efforts, he said.
He also said that while Chinese government subsidies have resulted in more deployment of infrastructure, the downside is that the funding has not been spent efficiently or in response to consumer demand.
More than 30 communities in the U.S. have 5G today, compared to zero in China, he said. At least 42 are expected in the U.S. by the end of this year. By 2022, the U.S. is forecast to more than double China’s 5G deployment, he said.
At today’s event, 5G Americas Chairman Neville Ray, who is chief technology officer and executive vice president of T-Mobile US, Inc., said considerable progress has been made deploying 5G in the Americas – as well as in other countries.
In North America, four carriers have deployed 5G services – the U.S.’s four nationwide providers – while service has been deployed by one carrier in Latin America and by 29 other carriers around the world. While U.S. carriers so far have targeted particular cities, some are expected to deploy 5G nationwide next year, Mr. Ray noted.
While consumer-based mobile services have been the early focus of deployments, applications such as massive machine-type communications and critical low-latency communications are expected to be seen more later, Mr. Ray said.
“We are only at the very beginning of the 5G journey,” he said. “We have to watch this race, and it’s a long race.” He said 5G services are likely to be deployed over a three-to-five-year period.
He stressed the need for the FCC to free up mid-band spectrum in the U.S., noting that all other major regions have allocated a significant amount of mid-band frequencies for 5G. “We are playing catch-up in the U.S.,” he added.
Mr. Ray also said that the FCC should continue to streamline the siting of infrastructure for 5G deployment. Meanwhile, while he noted that a number of states have passed small cell legislation, the laws are not harmonized.
Mr. Ray also suggested that 5G deployment in South Korea has been instructive.
The country saw 2 million subscribers in the first four months, and having 80% of the population covered by the end of this year has been targeted. 5G data usage is 2 Â½ times higher than LTE usage, Mr. Ray said. A popular application is virtual reality, he said, with one in six customers using VR on 5G systems every day, he added.
Mr. Ray also noted that China planned to launch 5G service on Oct. 1, but that hasn’t yet occurred. He said that having 50 major cities covered by the end of 2019 has been the expectation. —Paul Kirby, [email protected]
MainStory: FCC FederalNews SpectrumAllocation WirelessDeployment Satellites
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