Industry and Government Celebrate as the Nation’s First Mid-band 5G Spectrum Becomes Commercially Available
Sunnyvale, Calif., Jan. 27, 2020 — The CBRS Alliance, an industry organization focused on driving the development, commercialization, and adoption of OnGo™ shared spectrum solutions, celebrates the authorization of Full Commercial Deployment (FCD) of OnGo service in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, announced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 27, 2020 in Public Notice DA 20-110. With this announcement, Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google and Sony are fully approved to operate commercial services in the band.
Full Commercial Deployment is the final stage in the commercialization process that started in 2013 when the FCC began pursuing an innovative shared spectrum model in the 3.5 GHz band. The success of this initiative is the result of unprecedented public-private partnerships between industry and government organizations. Federal agencies including the FCC, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), and Department of Defense, along with the Wireless Innovation Forum and the 159 members of the CBRS Alliance, have come together to foster commercial usage of the 3.5 GHz band.
“NTIA’s groundbreaking engineering work and close collaboration with the FCC, DOD and industry played a critical role in opening up the 3.5 GHz CBRS band for next-generation wireless services,” said Douglas Kinkoph, NTIA Associate Administrator performing the delegated duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “New 5G and 4G operations in the band will create tremendous value for our nation – both in terms of their contributions to GDP and further strengthening U.S. leadership in wireless technologies. We look forward to seeing the new licensed services in the band, which provides an optimal balance of capacity and coverage and will facilitate rollout of 5G.”
Prior to commercial availability, the 3.5 GHz CBRS band was used primarily by the Department of Defense (DoD), mostly for shipborne radar systems. To ensure that the DoD has continued access to the band, Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks have been deployed along the U.S. coast. The ESC networks operated by CommScope, Federated Wireless, and Google inform the SAS administrators to activate a protection zone and dynamically reassign users in the area to other parts of the band, thus protecting the incumbent’s use of the spectrum while maximizing availability of CBRS spectrum across coastal areas.
“The authorization of Full Commercial Deployments in the CBRS band is a significant milestone in our nation’s management and utilization of a vital resource, the radio frequency spectrum,” said Dana Deasy, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense (DoD). “The Defense Department worked closely with our federal partners at the NTIA and FCC, and with industry, to ensure that our mission critical operations would be protected while enabling new commercial uses. Collectively, we were able to creatively address the engineering and security challenges associated with military and commercial spectrum sharing. We look to build upon those successes going forward. Additionally, I would like to thank the men and women in DoD who have diligently worked to make today possible.”
“The FCC has made it a priority to free up mid-band spectrum for advanced wireless services like 5G. And today, I’m pleased to announce the latest step to achieve that priority: the approval of four systems that will enable the 3.5 GHz band to be put to use for the benefit of American consumers and businesses,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement issued today. “As with all of our efforts to execute on the 5G FAST plan, we’re pushing to get next-generation wireless services deployed in the 3.5 GHz band as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would like to thank Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for his leadership throughout this proceeding as well as the FCC staff and those in the private sector who have worked so hard to achieve this milestone.”
The CBRS band is estimated to directly contribute as much as $15.6 billion to the U.S. economy, while its actual value to consumers is estimated to be as much as $80-260 billion. Consumers now have access to improved wireless connectivity through OnGo-compatible mobile devices, including the Google Pixel 4, Motorola’s 5G Moto Mod, Samsung Galaxy S10, Apple iPhone 11, LG G8 ThinQ, and OnePlus 7 Pro, all of which are on the market today. The OnGo ecosystem is vast and opens a brand-new market for wireless communications and 5G services in the United States, touching rural broadband via fixed wireless providers (WISPs), enterprise IT, hospitality, retail, real estate, industrial IoT, and transportation, among other sectors.
“The 3.5 GHz band is a unifying spectrum for the 5G generation and the U.S. shared spectrum approach to using this valuable spectrum will lead to a high rate of spectrum utilization,” said Chris DePuy, founder and technology analyst at 650 Group. “The CBRS Alliance and OnGo program have captured the imagination of operators, regulators and vendors around the world as a model for using spectrum that unlocks significant value. As we enter 2020, we will see OnGo used both as a reliable backhaul mechanism to other networks, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Ethernet, and to some innovative end-user devices. As OnGo-certified device support expands, we expect to see a growing number of devices that are OnGo certified, which will open up critical communications network opportunities in vertical markets, such as transportation, healthcare and facilities management.”
“With commercial deployments of OnGo already underway, the CBRS Alliance would like to recognize the exceptional efforts of the almost 160 member companies that comprise the Alliance, as well as the extensive industry and government collaboration required to bring OnGo to market,” said Dave Wright, President of the CBRS Alliance. “Over the past six years, our members have contributed incredible amounts of time, energy, and innovation to address the need for reliable, cost-effective wireless services and have now made OnGo a reality. At its start, this industry effort consisted of a handful of companies that saw the potential for new services utilizing CBRS’ innovative access framework. It is now comprised of 159 companies representing the diversity of OnGo solutions, including mobile, cable, rural, enterprise, and industrial uses. OnGo is ready for full-scale deployments – enabling 4G LTE systems today and 5G NR solutions this year.”
“The Wireless Innovation Forum wishes to congratulate not only the SAS administrators, but also the equipment manufacturers, operators, certificate authorities, certified professional installers, and all others in the CBRS ecosystem our members have established in achieving this milestone,” said Lee Pucker, CEO of the Wireless Innovation Forum. “We are proud to have provided the venue where the baseline CBRS standards were developed and the certifications established that have made the commercialization of OnGo and other CBRS technologies possible, and look forward to continuing support for the evolution of these standards in the months to come.”
OnGo™ is uncompromised connectivity. An innovative approach to maximizing mobile broadband, OnGo is a technology that puts the power of wireless networks into the hands of those that rely on them to empower and expand business opportunities. OnGo presents nearly limitless options for enhanced customizability and allows users to tailor networks to a specific set of needs, such as Private LTE, neutral host and Industrial IoT applications, while providing investment protection as the first mid-band solution for 5G. OnGo Certified is a recognized seal of approval that indicates a product’s ability to meet a high set of quality, interoperability and security standards when tested by an independent, OnGo-Authorized test laboratory. Both the OnGo brand and the OnGo Certification Program are managed and maintained by the CBRS Alliance.