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T-Mobile Granted Experimental License to Test in Government Spectrum

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski this week announced the grant of the first authorization for testing in the 1755-1780 MHz band currently used by the government. In An Assessment of the Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband in the 1755-1850 MHz Band, the NTIA said the Department of Defense determined “it can accommodate commercial broadband systems in the 1755-1780 MHz band within five years with exclusion zones for the entire 1755-1850 MHz band at three high-density training areas (Fort Irwin/NTC, Fort Polk/Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and WSMR).”

The Chairman's announcement provided no details on the grant. A search of the FCC's Experimental Licensing database revealed the Application for Special Temporary Authority from T-Mobile License LLC for use of frequencies in the 1755-1780 MHz band, mobile only, with an ERP of 320 milliwatts. This was paired with fixed transmitters in the 2155-2180 MHz band. The bandwidths range from 4.47 MHz to 18 MHz with QPSK and 16-QAM modulation. 

The WF9XQW STA Authorization is valid until Dec. 1, 2012 for operation in the continental United States. The authorization has a special condition regarding interference to NTIA operations which states, “T-Mobile will coordinate all specific locations prior to use; therefore, prior to any operation the licensee shall coordinate, through NTIA, with any potentially impacted authorized users and obtain approval from those users.”

The conditions also include coordination which includes “the area and time of operation as well as necessary technical parameters.” Also, T-Mobile operations are restricted “to whatever is agreed in the case-by-case coordination,” with the instruction that the “licensee shall discontinue any operations in the event an authorized user notifies the licensee of harmful interfere, and shall not commence until further approval is received.”

T-Mobile must also provide a “Stop buzzer” phone number approved for specific locations when coordinating the location with the NTIA.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.