LMDS, 39 GHz and Other Bands Above 24 GHz May Open Door to 5G Mobile Services

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By unanimous vote at its latest commission meeting, the FCC has launched an inquiry proceeding seeking comment on the spectrum bands that would be most suitable for Fifth Generation (5G) mobile services using millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies above 24 GHz.  Acting on a recommendation from the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council, the FCC seeks to build on “significant developments” in antenna and processing technologies to examine any regulatory changes needed to ensure that this technology flourishes rather than waiting for 5G technology to develop in an inconsistent regulatory structure.  The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI) poses numerous detailed questions regarding technology developments (e.g., antenna, bandwidth, coverage, architecture); spectrum band suitability (namely LMDS and 39 GHz, among others); and possible licensing mechanisms (e.g., auctioning vacant spectrum using geographic licensing, nonexclusive licensing, licensing under Part 15).   Comments on the NOI are due by December 16, 2014 and reply comments by January 15, 2015.

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