Feature Article

May 21, 2012

TIA Supports the 2GHz Band FCC Plan

Frequencies in the mobile industry have always been a torn issue. The spectrum that each carrier has for each technology they use is very limited, because the total amount of frequencies is also limited. Traditionally, it's the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, that oversees which company gets which frequency. But as new technologies get added to the pile, like 3G, HSPA+, WiMax, and now 4G LTE, more frequencies are needed, but the FCC simply don’t have any to allocate. So instead, they have been trying to get some spectrums back at different frequencies, including the lucrative 2GHz band, so that they can provide them to pressing needs. This week, the Telecommunication Industry Association filed a supportive brief of the proposed plan.

The plan includes several features and the TIA supports all of them with appropriate comments where needed. For example, the brief talks about the need for a careful incorporation of next generation technologies, such as 4G and beyond, into the allocation plans. Also, the plan proposes the allocation of contiguous bandwidth blocks to various companies. This is especially important since as frequencies have been getting rare, companies who need new allocations often are left with various blocks at random frequencies, which in turn have a higher risk of conflicting with other applications, like satellite phones, radio bands, and so on. With the new plan, the 2GHz band would be allocated in a more future proofing way.

Another problem that U.S. - based cell phone users are all too familiar with is the lack of a common spectrum between American carriers and those abroad. Most of Europe and Asia use the same frequencies for GSM phones, which means a phone bought into one country can be used in another. But the U.S. has completely different bands, and this has stayed true for both 3G and 4G, mainly because of a severe lack of frequencies. Thanks to this new 2GHz band, the FCC now has the chance to harmonize the spectrum with the rest of the world. The plan proposes this chance, and TIA supports those goals as well.

The proposal right now is still open for comments and public review until June 25, and TIA has submitted its review as part of this process. The Telecommunications Industry Association is an industry group of several manufacturers and suppliers of mobile equipment, along with networks, satellite, and other technologies.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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