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CTIA Report Finds Military Systems Can Coexist with 5G in 3 GHz Band

The lower 3 GHz spectrum can be made available for full power wireless based on successful deployment in foreign countries.



Photo of Meredith Baker of CTIA

WASHINGTON, August 15, 2023 – Research commissioned by the wireless trade association CTIA shows that U.S. military systems successfully coexist with full power 5G networks in the lower 3 gigahertz band in over 30 countries. 

The research shows that at least 150 megahertz of spectrum in the lower 3 GHz band can be made available for exclusive, full-power, licensed commercial use in the United States while protecting key military radar and systems. 

“The best evidence that 5G can co-exist with the Pentagon’s operations is what is happening around the globe in allied nations,” said Meredith Baker, CTIA president and CEO. “These real-world examples demonstrate a clear path forward to make available at least 150 megahertz of lower 3 GHz spectrum for full power 5G services while safeguarding the military systems protecting Americans.” 

According to the report, more than 50 countries, including several U.S. allies, operate full power 5G networks in the lower 3 GHz band and 20 more countries are expected to join them in the coming years. 

“Throughout Asia, nearly 20 countries have deployed in the lower 3 GHz band, with several demonstrating successful coexistence between 5G and U.S. military radar systems,” read the report. Japan reportedly features several U.S. radar systems amid extensive 5G deployments with a well-established host nation agreement that coordinates with the U.S. military to ensure systems do not interfere. Other countries include South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. 

The CTIA also cites studies that show how 5G operates today alongside the same Department of Defense systems that are used domestically, which highlights that 5G can operate in the 3.3-3.45 GHz band in the U.S. while fully preserving national security, read the press release. 

According to the report, the real-world evidence demonstrates how proven coordination methods are “already facilitating simultaneous use of the band by 5G and military radars.” It said that coordination techniques – such as retuning, compression, and frequency coordination – provide assurance that 5G networks can be deployed in the U.S. at full power in lower 3 GHz spectrum without harmful government interference. 

“It is well-established that the U.S. needs additional commercial mid-band spectrum to meet increasing consumer demands for wireless data, enhance our national security and secure our leadership of the innovations and industries of the future,” said Baker. “We should ensure U.S. policy promotes 5G deployment in the United States in a manner consistent with how spectrum is being used in the rest of the world.” 

“The clear trend of growing commercial use of the lower 3 GHz band internationally, as well as the actual use of 5G near military bases around the globe, should be fully reflected in the Administration and Congress’s evaluation of future commercial access to the lower 3 GHz band,” suggested the support.  

It added that “innovation unlocked by high capacity 5G is expected to generate economic growth of up to $1.5 trillion in GDP and 4.5 additional jobs by 2030.”  

A global economics consultancy Brattle Group report in April found that the U.S. needs 400 MHz of full power, licensed spectrum in the next five years to meet projected demand. It found that the deficit will grow by more than 3 times to 1,400 MHz by 2032 to keep up with expected consumer demand.  

“Commercial access in the lower 3 GHz band would help address this shortfall, while also helping to ensure that American consumers benefit from the economies of scale resulting from using internationally harmonized spectrum bands,” read CTIA’s press report. 

“Lower 3 GHz band is a critical component of the spectrum pipeline needed to fuel the growth of 5G, to the benefit of U.S. consumers, enterprises, and government agencies, including the DoD,” read the report. 

The report follows a coalition letter last week in which more than a dozen public interest groups urged the Federal Communications Commission to finalize key issues to free up the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi use. Experts have called for better spectrum regulation and innovation to coordinate better spectrum sharing between commercial use and federal agencies.  

Teralyn Whipple, who joined Broadband Breakfast in 2022, studied marketing at Brigham Young University. She has reported extensively on broadband infrastructure, investments and deployment. She has also headed marketing campaigns for several small companies.


FCC Hears Need for More Flexible 12 GHz Band to Support Fixed Wireless Applications

Rulemaking could unlock critical capacity in the 12.2 GHz spectrum band.



Photo from Adobe Stock

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2023 – Commenters urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt its proposed rules that would open the 12.2-12.7 GHz and 12.7-13.25 GHz bands for fixed wireless broadband use. 

The 5G for 12 GHz Coalition, a coalition of telecommunications industry and public interest leaders committed to policies to improve federal spectrum use, said the proposal will preserve America’s edge in the race to 5G, eliminate barriers to meeting the full potential of the 12.2 GHz band, empower an ecosystem where mid-band spectrum drives innovation and next-generation connectivity for American businesses, and “supercharges” broadband deployment by empowering new technologies without harming existing services operating in the band. 

The coalition asked the FCC to “reconsider decades-old rules that have prevented the commercial incumbents from deploying next generation services in the 12.2 GHz band.”

The band is already allocated for terrestrial mobile service domestically, is only lightly used by fixed satellite and mobile service, and there is only a single federal incumbent at one site, Sweden-based telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson said in its comments, applauding the FCC for identifying bands for 5G and 6G applications. Its comments said that the 12.7 GHz band will be especially useful as a complement band. 

Ericsson urged the FCC to largely adopt the proposal with changes in the technical rules that will promote more expansive and flexible use of the band. The FCC should repurpose the band for flexible, exclusive-use licenses and refrain from adopting sharing rules for the band, “which would limit the ability of licensees’ to deploy robust networks to support advanced technologies,” it said. 

By repurposing this band, the U.S. and the wireless industry will be “well-positioned to take a leading role in pursuing global harmonization,” Ericsson concluded.  

Fixed wireless services are often deployed in economically challenging areas as an alternative to laying cables.

Nokia also expressed its support for the proposed rules. “Continued availability of spectrum for 5G will lay the foundation for the successful evolution to 5G-advanced and 6G,” Nokia wrote. “The nation must find ways to ensure a steady supply of spectrum in different frequency ranges – low, medium and high bands. Spectrum is the lifeblood for communications services, and it also drives U.S. competitiveness.” 

The 5G for 12 GHz Coalition sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ranking Member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, expressing its interest in working with them and the FCC to “act quickly on this critical issue.” 

“This rulemaking represents a significant opportunity for the Commission to modernize decades-old rules and unlock critical capacity in the 12.2 GHz spectrum band for the next generation of high powered, two-way terrestrial fixed service,” read comments by telecom trade association INCOMPAS.  

It added that increased competition in mid-band spectrum will “encourage more innovation, more choices, and greater opportunities for customers, particularly those that stand to benefit in unserved and underserved communities.” 

INCOMPAS added that the proceeding can represent a “win-win situation for the U.S. by accommodating satellite and terrestrial operations in the 12.2 GHz band. By allowing industry to bring its sharing technologies to this mid-band spectrum, the FCC can expand its flexible use of the band, connect more Americans to the next generation of technologies, and protect existing licensees from harmful interference.” 

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association urged the FCC in comments to enable access to the 12.2 GHz band for fixed terrestrial use on a secondary, shared basis with operations coordinated through an automated frequency coordination system to ensure incumbent licensees are protected from harmful interference.  

In July, the FCC proposed rules that would make it easier for satellite service providers to get across to already-licensed mobile wireless spectrum to help on-the-ground mobile wireless companies cover dead spots they can’t reach. Commenters expressed concern that the proposed rules are “premature” and could be competitively harmful. 

Earlier this month, the FCC also released an inquiry into non-federal spectrum usage, particularly how new data sources and artificial intelligence technology can aid spectrum management.

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Experts Call for New Approach to Spectrum Coordination

Experts suggest partitioned spectrum and receiver innovation.



Screenshot of John Hunter, vice president of global security and technology policy at AT&T

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2023 – Spectrum sharing needs a new approach, agreed panelist at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Tuesday. 

More thought should be given to regulation and innovation surrounding receivers of radio signals rather than simply the transmitters, said Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. The FCC in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is tasked with allocating spectrum bands for commercial use. Its authority to auction spectrum lapsed earlier this year for the first time since it was given to the agency. 

The United States must identify everything that it can do differently to be more effective with spectrum sharing, Rosenworcel continued. She emphasized the need for the U.S. to maintain its global leadership in the tech space, particularly in preparation for the world radio conference in December. Many countries, including China, are trying to outpace the United States in this area, which would be detrimental to its global competitiveness, she said.  

Dynamic spectrum sharing is still years away, said John Hunter, vice president of global security and technology policy at AT&T. “We need to change the vernacular of what sharing is,” he said, claiming that technology to enable different signals on the same frequency band of spectrum in a coexistence model is not available.  

Hunter suggested focusing research on ways to partition the band, meaning that instead of sharing the band between government and private use on a dynamic system, the band is separated into different segments and reduces probability of harmful interference.  

Other sharing techniques include a coordinated time-based approach that splits the time each user has access to operate on a specific frequency and a geographic approach that limits the usage of certain bands in areas that have high risk of harmful interference.  

“Economic security is equally as important as national security,” said Hunter, advocating for Congress to allocate more spectrum for commercial use.  

Hunter claimed that current spectrum research fails to consider the harmful interference that private companies face and creates a false narrative that spectrum sharing is plausible. The reality is any interference creates an unsustainable spectrum sharing solution, he said. 

A large portion of this debate centers on the Department of Defense’s use of spectrum. While AT&T doesn’t want to see the DoD lose critical functionality, it is essential that Congress finds ways to balance their needs with consumer needs, said Christopher Boyer, vice president of global security and technology policy at AT&T. 

The NTIA is scheduled to complete its national spectrum strategy, which represents a government-wide approach to maximizing the potential of the nation’s spectrum resources, by the end of the year. The FCC is considering ways to implement artificial intelligence for coordinating spectrum sharing.  

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Artificial Intelligence

Increase US Competitiveness with China Through AI and Spectrum, Experts Urge

‘If the U.S. doesn’t lead, China will.’



Screenshot of Representative Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin.

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2023 – Maintaining U.S. competitiveness with China requires leveraging artificial intelligence for supply chain monitoring and allocating mid-band spectrum for commercial use, said experts Thursday. 

It is critical that the United States reduces its dependency on China in key areas including microelectronics, electric vehicles, solar panels, pharmaceutical ingredients, rare earth minerals processing, and more, said Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, at a Punchbowl News event. He added that it is essential that American companies and governments are aware of their own supply chain risks and vulnerable areas.  

Artificial intelligence can be deployed to understand vulnerabilities in the supply chain, said Carrie Wibben, president of government solutions at supply chain management software company Exiger. 

American adversaries have been using AI for a long time to understand where to penetrate American supply chain ecosystem to obtain a strategic advantage over the country, said Wibben. She reported that the Department of Defense is moving quickly to increase visibility in its supply chain and implement new technology.  

AI and supply chains are the two fronts the U.S. competes in to maintain global dominance, said Wibben. She encouraged the coordination of the two to develop a strategy to keep U.S. global competitiveness and increase national security. 

A major concern in Congress is the nation’s reliance on China for its supply chain, added Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois. He said that the best solution is diversifying in the private sector, meaning that companies have redundant suppliers.  

In many cases, this can be done without government intervention but where the private sector doesn’t have the knowledge base to replicate these systems, it is essential that the government step in and provide incentives, Krishnamoorthi said. Congress has passed several laws, including the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act that invest billions of dollars into American-made clean energy and semiconductors. 

Krishnamoorthi said that the White House is doing what it can to prevent aggression from the Peoples Republic of China materializing into conflict.  

Need more spectrum 

Allocating more licensed spectrum for commercial use to support 5G is essential to maintaining US competitiveness with China, said panelists at a separate American Enterprise Institute event Thursday.  

Next generation wireless mobile network, 5G, enables higher speeds with low latency and more reliability. For a democratic state, 5G will enable more expression, innovation, human freedom, and opportunities to solve world challenges of health and climate, said Clete Johnson, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. For an authoritarian state, the same technology will enable policing of citizens, social control, and an overarching understanding of what people are doing, said Johnson.  

If the U.S. is behind China in allocating the spectrum that 5G rides on, then China will dominate cyber and information operations, including force projections and more capable weaponry, warned Johnson. “If we don’t lead, China will.” 

“Commercial strength is national security,” said Johnson, referring to the need to allocate spectrum for commercial use.  

China recognizes the value of 5G and how this kind of foundation will enable industrial and commercial activity, said Peter Rysavy, president of wireless consultancy Rysavy Research. The country has allocated three times as much spectrum in the mid-band areas for commercial use than the U.S. has, he said.  

No amount of spectrum efficiency and sharing mechanisms will replace having more spectrum available, added Paroma Sanyal, principal at economic consultancy Brattle Group. The U.S. government needs to get more spectrum into the pipeline, she said. 

A former administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said on a panel last week that national security depends on commercial access to spectrum. “If you take economic security out of the national security equation, you damage national security and vice versa,” John Kneuer said. 

Kneuer suggested that allowing the commercial sector access to more spectrum is beneficial to this goal as it spurs innovation that is a byproduct of increased economic activity that can then spill back into the federal agencies for new capabilities they would not have had otherwise.   

The Federal Communications Commission is evaluating how artificial intelligence can be used in dynamic spectrum sharing to optimize traffic and prevent harmful interference. AI can be used to make congestion control decisions and sense when federal agencies are using the bands to allow commercial use on federally owned spectrum without disrupting high-priority use. 

This comes as the FCC is facing spectrum availability concerns. In its June open meeting, the FCC issued proposed rulemaking that explores how the 42 –42.5 GHz spectrum band might be made available on a shared basis. The agency’s spectrum auction authority, however, expired earlier this year. 

The head of the NTIA announced this week that the national spectrum strategy is set to be complete by the end of the year. It will represent a government-wide approach to maximizing the potential of the nation’s spectrum resources and takes into account input from government agencies and the private sector. 

Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., is heading two bills, the Spectrum Relocation Enhancement Act and the Spectrum Coexistence Act, that would make updates to the spectrum relocation fund that compensates federal agencies to clear spectrum for commercial use and would require the NTIA to conduct a review of federal receiver technology to support more intensive use of limited spectrum.    

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