Amazon, Qualcomm Welcome FCC’s Spectrum Sharing Plans

August 2, 2023

Written by Caio Castro

Amazon, Qualcomm, and other companies and institutions have welcomed the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to prepare for 6G and experiment with spectrum sharing between 42GHz and 42.5GHz.

According to the federal agency, the 500MHz range is ideal for trials due to the lack of incumbent licensees today.

The FCC sought comments on the following:

  1. A nationwide non-exclusive licensing approach, in which licensees coordinate specific deployment sites with a third-party database;
  2. A site-based licensing approach, in which licensees would apply for each deployment site directly with the FCC and
  3. A technology-based sensing approach, in which operators would employ such technologies to avoid harmful interference from one another.

Big Tech Is All In

Among the companies that contributed with suggestions, chipset manufacturer Qualcomm pointed out that the proposed regulatory framework would work well in the Lower 42 GHz band.

According to the company, it would permit multiple licensees, each using any air interface, to share on a licensed basis the entire 500 MHz-wide Lower 42 GHz band in the same location, on the same frequencies, and at the same time, by taking advantage of the highly directional nature of millimetre wave communications.

“The regulatory proposal can enable fixed point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links; terrestrial mobile operations; private networks; device-to-device connections; and mobile hotspots, with each use case supporting access to all 600 MHz by multiple shared licensees who can consistently maintain a baseline Quality of Service,” the official document with comments states.

“Qualcomm has conducted […] extensive simulations demonstrating that the proposed approach will allow for substantial gains in overall system throughput.”

The manufacturer also recommended that the FCC consider adopting a proposal for the Lower 37 GHz band to allow indoor unlicensed operations to permit property owners to deploy private networks supporting industrial IoT and smart factory applications.

“These indoor operations may be secondary to future outdoor use of the Lower 37 GHz band, and enabling such operations prior to full-scale outdoor deployments also allows federal users of the band to, in the near term, experience the value of millimetre wave connectivity on the path to fully opening this band,” the document reads.

The company added that “high levels of building entry and exit signal losses in this millimetre wave band, coupled with the highly directional nature of millimetre wave connections, would allow indoor operations to use the entire band without impacting future outdoor uses.”

Kuiper Systems, an Amazon subsidiary aimed at increasing connectivity through satellites, was another one to praise the FCC approach.

“Amazon agrees with the Commission that ‘as more advanced, spectrum-intensive technologies develop, finding new ways to increase access to spectrum will only become more important.’ It, therefore, recommends that the FCC seek comment on whether to also open the 42 GHz Band for secondary use,” the company suggested.

Image courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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