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US telco regulator FCC chief Jessica Rosenworcel called on industry stakeholders to give equal focus on transmitting and receiving for mobile communications. Speaking at MWC, she also revealed that the US will hold its auction for the 2.5 GHz spectrum later this year and pushed for 6G developments.
Delivering her keynote speech on March 01, Tuesday, the FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel has pointed to the need to focus on transmitters and receivers for better spectral efficiency. Currently, the industry mostly focuses on transmitters in wireless communications. But an improvement on the ‘receiving’ end will allow for better spectrum performance and thus improve mobile broadband.
Besides, she revealed that FCC will hold the mid-band spectrum auction in July 2022.
“I’m excited to announce that the US will hold another mid-band spectrum auction. This July we’ll kick off our auction of the 2.5GHz band. This is the single largest swathe of continuous mid-band spectrum we have below 3 GHz. The airwaves available from this auction are going to help extend 5G services beyond our most populous cities,” Rosenworcel said.
Besides, she gave telling stats into the growing 5G horizon. She informed that till now, fifth-generation mobile communication has expanded across 112 countries. That has included 190 telecom operators and 98 thousand deployments. She followed that the 5G network has helped tease newer possibilities into the smart grid, industry equipment, healthcare, warehouses, application with high-speed low latency. That goes without saying how it has impacted people’s day-to-day lives.
She later added that FCC will work with partners to commercialize the spectrum. This, in turn, should “make available for auction airwaves in the 3.1 GHz to 3.4 GHz band” and admitted that the mid-band spectrum is the way to go to achieve the true potentials of the latest mobile standards.
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The FCC chief said pivoting the 5G spectrum to the US is on one of her to-do-list. “This spectrum is key to delivering on the promise of 5G services and ensuring that it reaches as many people as possible,” she said.
The auction will release a possible 200 MHz of spectrum for the operators to improve on their 5G services. The auction for 2.5 GHz is not new though. It has stood in plans for FCC for over a year and is known as Auction 108. In the US, it is the single largest swath of contiguous mid-band spectrum below 3 GHz. This, she said will help telcos reach beyond the most populous cities in the country.
US operators have lately improved their 5G game with the C-Band spectrum. More frequencies will allow it to impose a more convincing mobile broadband out of the fifth-generation wireless standard.
T-Mobile the second largest operator in the US, already uses a large chunk of frequencies in 2.5 GHz. The telco will reportedly make its bid when the FCC begins its 2.5 GHz spectrum auction later this year.
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More significantly, Rosenworcel urged industry stakeholders for more innovative frequency strategies. For this, she pointed to the need to equally focus on both transmitting and receiving for efficient spectral management.
So far telco developers have mostly focused on transmitting. But Ms. Rosenworcel called for a paradigm shift with an improved focus on the “receiving” end. She said that connection happens when transmitters connect with receivers but much emphasis has gone to the former. This is also to control interference levels with rules for power transmission. She says “minimally performing receivers can make it more difficult to introduce new services in the same or nearby frequencies, they can diminish broader opportunities with radiofrequency and put constraints on what is possible in the new wireless world.”
Pitching innovative spectrum management, she called for more efforts into the receivers. This will help to exploit the available spectrum and improve its performance efficiency. Comparing wireless communications to two-way streets, she emphasized that improvement on the ‘receivers’ will ensure continued access to airwaves and help telcos realize new possibilities.
“In the past, our discussions on spectrum efficiency have been a one-way effort, they have focused almost exclusively on transmitters.. But wireless communication is like a two-way street. It only exists when transmitters are connected to receivers. Both are vital, both matter. Going forward, policymakers need to focus on both transmitting and receiving…I believe it is time to take the next step in innovative spectrum management,” she said.
For this, she said she will propose to lunch an inquiry to explore receiver performance and standards. This inquiry will explore how receiver improvements could provide greater opportunity for access to the spectrum. She added it will assess how those specifications come in form of incentives, guidelines, regulatory requirements in “some or all spectrum bands.”
Speaking at MWC, Ms. Rosenworcel also stressed the time to gear up for 6G developments. Many parts of the world are yet to launch 5G and others trying to improve their performance. And 6G is not likely to come around till 2030 at least. But the FCC chair said industry leaders prepared for it will likely retain an advantage for the transition.
“These are early days, but if we’ve learned anything from our experience rolling out 5G, it’s that wireless service matters for economic and national security,” she said.
Like with any other standards, the 6G spectrum will be another hurdle for the operators as carriers will crowd up for them. To address this, Rosenworcel said FCC will look for airwaves in the 7 GHz to 15 GHz band.
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Do you think mobile communications is accelerating at an unjustifiably fast pace? The 5G has not hit the ground yet for many parts of the world, but 6G is creating the buzz. Do leave your opinions in the comments below.