Thursday, September 22, 2022

CTIA Says U.S. Trails in Mid-Band 5G Spectrum

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor
The U.S. continues to trail leading countries in available licensed mid-band spectrum, a trend expected to continue for the foreseeable future, according to an updated study from Analysys Mason. Today, the U.S. lags the top three nations – Japan, the United Kingdom and France – by 530 MHz on average.

The study was commissioned by CTIA, which represents the wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers, to compare the total spectrum available for wireless in different markets. 

Why it’s Important
The availability of spectrum is known to spur the deployment of wireless infrastructure and increase the number of applications using the frequencies. The U.S. must expand its 5G spectrum pipeline in order to keep pace with other countries that are moving rapidly to make licensed mid-band spectrum available for 5G networks, according to Analysys Mason. Continue Reading

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

PacNet/ComNet and China Unicom Gear Declared Threat to National Security

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

The FCC added equipment and services from two entities – Pacific Network Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC, and China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited – to its list of communications equipment and services that have been deemed a threat to national security. The move is meant to strengthen and protect the integrity of American communications networks.

The action means there are now 10 companies on the FCC’s Covered List. The others are: Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, Dahua Technology Company, AO Kaspersky Lab, China Mobile International USA Inc., and China Telecom (Americas) Corp. Continue Reading

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

T-Mobile to Expand 5G Coverage in Auction 108 Aftermath

T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) was the runaway winner in the FCC’s recent 2.5 GHz spectrum auction, as Inside Towers reported. The company bid $304 million for more than 7,000 county-based licenses covering 81 million people primarily in rural areas. This new 2.5 GHz spectrum will enable T-Mobile to expand 5G Ultra Capacity coverage to new communities and significantly increase bandwidth in many places 5G Ultra Capacity already covers. Following issuance of those licenses, T-Mobile says it will immediately begin deploying the new spectrum, boosting 5G Ultra Capacity performance for customers across the country, especially in underserved markets.

With the 2.5 GHz spectrum investment, T-Mobile continues to execute on its long-term strategy to build the highest-capacity, broadest network in the U.S. Execution on that strategy commenced in 2017, when the company unveiled plans for nationwide 5G using 600 MHz, referred to as 5G Extended Range. Continue Reading

Monday, September 19, 2022

Satellite Internet Providers Innovate in the Face of LEO Competition

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor
Facing new competition from low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, satellites are going hybrid in their attempts to increase speeds and reduce latency. Among the strategies revealed this month, established Geostationary (GEO) satellites are combining with terrestrial wireless and satellites in different orbits. 

One example is Hughes Network Systems, LLC, which is deploying a 25 Mbps, low-latency satellite internet offering with no data limits to consumers in select U.S. markets, known as HughesNet Fusion. The multipath technology blends GEO satellites and wireless technologies. Continue Reading

Friday, September 16, 2022

Ligado Won’t Conduct L-Band Trial in Virginia

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
UPDATE Ligado Networks told the FCC this week it won’t go through with a planned trial deployment on its L-band spectrum in northern Virginia. In a letter to the agency, Ligado told the Commission it needs time to discuss with NTIA how “to resolve in a fair and reasonable manner issues relating to the government’s ongoing use of Ligado’s terrestrial spectrum.”

Ligado made the decision following a report released by the National Academies of Sciences found that while most GPS receivers won’t face interference from Ligado’s wireless network, Iridium’s mobile satellite services used by the DoD would likely see “harmful interference.” So would some older GPS receivers, Inside Towers reported. 

In 2020, the FCC approved Ligado’s application to develop a 5G terrestrial network in L-band, next to frequencies used by GPS and satellite communications. The agency made the decision over the objections of NTIA, DoD, and other federal security agencies. Continue Reading

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rosenworcel Proposes New Rules to Address Growing Risk of Space Debris

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
The FCC wants to tackle space junk. But you can’t just put a satellite whose job is completed in a recycle bin.

Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated for a vote among her colleagues new rules that would require satellite operators in low-Earth orbit to dispose of their satellites within five years of completing their missions. If adopted by the full Commission at its September monthly meeting, the new rules would shorten the existing 25-year guideline for deorbiting satellites after they stop functioning.

“Since 1957 humanity has put thousands of satellites into the sky, often with the understanding that they were cheaper to abandon than take out of orbit,” she said. “These satellites can stay in orbit for decades, careening around our increasingly crowded skies as space junk and raising the risk of collisions that can ruin satellites we count on.” Continue Reading

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

SpaceX Appeals FCC’s RDOF Subsidy Claw Back

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
SpaceX appealed to the FCC to reverse its decision to take back its initial approval of $885 million in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund subsidies from its Starlink division. The money is meant to subsidize the internet in rural areas.

SpaceX claims the decision is biased against satellite-delivered broadband. “This decision is so broken that it is hard not to see it as an improper attempt to undo the commission’s earlier decision, to permit satellite broadband service providers to participate in the RDOF program. It appears to have been rendered in service to a clear bias towards fiber, rather than a merits-based decision to actually connect unserved Americans,” SpaceX says in its appeal. Continue Reading