On Tuesday, the FCC voted on two important spectrum-related items that will help advance 5G deployment throughout the United States.
First, the Commission adopted a Report and Order that changes the licensing and technical rules governing Priority Access Licenses that will be issued in the 3.5 GHz band – including larger license areas, longer license terms, renewability, and performance requirements. By reducing the number of licenses a wireless provider must acquire and the administrative costs of renewing those licenses, these changes will promote efficient use, encourage additional investment in the 3.5 GHz band, and ultimately streamline deployment of 5G networks.
The FCC also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would open up 1,200 megaherts of spectrum in the 6 GHz band to allow unlicensed devices to operate without interfering with licensed services that will continue to use this spectrum. As Chairman Ajit Pai said in his statement: “From Wi-Fi routers to connected home appliances to retro cordless phones for those of us who still have landlines, we use devices that connect via unlicensed spectrum every day. Indeed, they’ve become so popular that there is now a shortage of airwaves dedicated for their use.”
By proposing to free up more unlicensed spectrum, the FCC's action could lead to more Wi-Fi offloading, which, in turn, frees up space on mobile networks and allows for additional next-generation services. 5G wireless deployment is projected to create 275 billion in investment, 3 million jobs, and $500 billion in gross domestic product. And both of these items adopted by the Commission this week could advance the delivery of those economic benefits.