5 Responses to “Small cells will get a band of their own (when the Feds aren’t using it)”

  1. RaptorOO7

    Given the amount of spectrum the carriers currently have and how poorly managed and implemented it is (in terms of use) they should be happy to get anything further. The constraints are artificial at best and they use it to force customers to pay mightily for access.

    Perhaps the Gov’t should have taken the 700Mhz C Block and built its own LTE network and allowed all carriers to use it so it would be uniformly accessed, managed capable from device to device. Oh wait I forgot in our country its not for the people by the people, its for the corporations by the corporations and thru the lobbyists.

  2. Lynnette Luna

    The idea of tying spectrum sharing with small cells, then, makes sense on a number of fronts:

    • The propagation characteristics of the 3.5 GHz band are limited, mitigating interference and making deployments in shopping malls, train stations, retail parks, and campuses ideal.

    • Since small cells deliver targeted coverage, their chances of interfering with other services in shared spectrum are limited.

    • The 3.5 GHz band is available on a nearly global basis, offering a potential for a global LTE band.

    • It offers new opportunities for mobile competition. UK telecom regulator Ofcom was the first to propose the idea of auctioning off spectrum for small cells on a shared-spectrum basis last year. Its proposal included making 2 x 20 MHz available on a number of low-power licenses that would share spectrum at 2.6 GHz, with priority given to new entrants. The thought is that one entity builds a wholesale small cell network and sells access to others. Vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent argue that small cells should be deployed with a dedicated carrier if possible to eliminate concerns around interference between small cells and macro networks. Ofcom’s entire 4G auction plans are still under debate.

    • The use of small cells represents a highly efficient use of the spectrum because of the greater capacity that can be provided with the intensive frequency re-use that can be achieved across a given area.

    • Small cells will almost always be backed up by a macro cell layer of coverage. If a small cell is shut down in the 3.5 GHz shared band, operators can pick up coverage again in the macro network.

    Certainly, a number of questions still need to be answered when it comes to the deployments of small cells in general, particularly around backhaul and network planning. A neutral-host concept in deploying small cells could eliminate concerns over multiple small cell deployments in a particular area from a regulatory and technical standpoint, but it also could reduce some of the efficiency gains if small cells are not tightly coordinated with a macro network, a point AT&T has highlighted in its criticisms of the PCAST report.

    Check out our report on this: https://www.currentanalysis.com/f/2012/SpectrumSharing/return-spectrumsharing6g.asp

  3. Mark Kelley

    Since NextWave sold their 2.3 GHz (WCS) spectrum to AWS, that 20-30 MHz licensed spectrum is now available for their small cell deployments as they have a very large US footprint of that band. That has left the lightly licensed 50MHz at the 3.65 GHz band to “share”, and another 100 MHz here is very helpful. If the carriers were open to sharing their RAN nodes than their would be a lower likelihood of interference in that band as wel.