Spectrum Dealings

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The FCC asked questions about a potential technical fix to resolve Sprint's spectrum interference concerns with DISH's plan to use 40 Mhz of MSS/satellite spectrum for mobile broadband, according to a recent Sprint Nextel filing. The fix involves toughening mobile broadband emission restrictions on the lower edge of DISH's spectrum to protect 2 nearby frequency bands: a “G Block” that Sprint controls and an adjacent “H Block” that it covets, the filing said. “Reading between the lines,” Stifel Nicolaus analysts suspected “this could head off proposals to shift DISH's lower 20 MHz band up by 5 MHz, a move DISH vigorously opposes.” However, DISH's ability to use its lowest 5 MHz could be constrained,” the analysts said. Currently, the FCC is looking at allowing DISH to repurpose its MSS spectrum for terrestrial mobile broadband service, but issues like Sprint's interference concerns remain. DISH owns 40 Mhz of the S-band spectrum, which the company hopes to use for an LTE Advanced network by '16. In a string of tit-for-tat filings between Sprint and DISH, Sprint suggested that the FCC shift DISH's band up as one way to protect the G and H Blocks. DISH argued if its spectrum is shifted, it will need to go through a 3GPP standard-setting process, which will set back its launch plans.

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