August 12, 2014 — Verizon Communications has stepped up to the plate in supporting FCC plans to open up the 3.5 GHz band for small cell and unlicensed services. It has filed applications with the FCC to conduct field trials, via spectrum-sharing technology, in the 3550-3650 MHz band.
The trials will combine the 3.5 GHz spectrum configured as LTE supplemental downlinks with the carrier’s existing LTE network. One major focus of the trials is to try to understand the propagation characteristics of 3.5 GHz spectrum in a real-world environment, especially with small cells and unlicensed platforms (read Wi-Fi).
AT&T is also on board, but is hedging its bets because it wants to make sure the FCC protects the licensed aspect of its 3.5 GHz plans. AT&T feels that for the carriers to invest in new small cell deployments designed to take advantage of that band, the FCC needs to make sure the licensed segments are protected.
Ernest Worthman is the editor of Small Cell magazine.