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FCC grants STA to T-Mobile for government-commercial spectrum sharing

The Federal Communications Commission Aug. 14 granted wireless carrier T-Mobile special temporary authority to begin testing the 1755MHz to 1780MHz band to determine the possibility of using that spectrum for commercial mobile broadband services.

The STA is a first step towards government spectrum users sharing bands with commercial spectrum users. The STA allows testing in any location within the United States, provided there is prior frequency coordination and the consent of the federal government.

“Today, we take an important step forward in our effort to enable greater government-commercial spectrum sharing, a new tool that joins clearing and reallocation as part of an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to address our nation’s spectrum challenges,” said Julius Genachowski in a statement released to the press.

The chairman said that by granting the STA for the test his agency hopes to make possible commercial mobile broadband services in the 1755MHz-1780MHz band, “which would significantly benefit millions of U.S. wireless consumers and help drive the mobile innovation economy.”

In July, a presidential advisory board recommended President Barack Obama that he make it the policy of the government to share “underutilized Federal spectrum to the maximum extent possible.”

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) asked the administration to issue a policy memorandum requiring the Secretary of Commerce to “to immediately identify 1000MHz of Federal spectrum in which to implement” the new spectrum architecture proposed in its report. The report advised the president that spectrum capacity could be multiplied by a factor of 1000 if its spectrum sharing recommendations were implemented.

In May, T-Mobile asked the commission for the STA to test LTE service in the spectrum. Genachowski pledged to continue collaborating with NTIA, the Department of Defense and other government agencies, and private sector companies to “gain greater spectrum efficiency and unlock the many potential benefits of government-commercial spectrum sharing.”