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Archived Event

The 3.5 GHz Future Innovation Showcase

February 13, 2018 AT&T Forum

On February 13, Joan Marsh, Chief Regulatory and State External Affairs Officer, AT&T External and Legislative Affairs, hosted an in-depth discussion of 3.5 GHz technology and policy issues.

The event included keynote remarks from FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

There was an Ericsson Technology Presentation by David Hammerwall, Head of Product Line 5G, and an Ericsson 3.5 GHz Demonstration by Keith Shank, Director, North America’s Advanced Technology Labs; Bryan Coley, Lead Engineer, Strategy & Marketing; and Suhel Patel, Engineer III, Research. Accompanying Presentation

Chris Stark, Head of Business Development, Nokia led a Nokia Technology Presentation. Accompanying Presentation

A regulatory/policy panel was moderated by Margaret Harding McGill, Technology Reporter, Politico, and featured Paul Anuszkiewicz, Vice President of Spectrum Planning, CTIA; Stacey Black, Assistant Vice President of Federal Regulatory, AT&T; Fred Moorefield, Director of Spectrum Policy, Department of Defense; Paul Powell, Assistant Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC; and Patrick Welsh, Assistant Vice President of Federal Regulatory, Verizon.

An industry panel followed and was moderated by Kurt Schaubach, Chief Technology Officer, Federated Wireless. The panel included Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Qualcomm; Paul Challoner, Vice President, Network Solutions, Ericsson; Andy Clegg, Spectrum Engineering Lead, Google; and Jeffrey Marks, Senior Counsel, Policy and Regulatory, Nokia.

Event Recap

Opening the midband spectrum frequencies in the 3.5 GHz range will help deliver on the promise of 5G for mobile broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other uses, agreed industry experts. And a hybrid approach that tailors the geographic size of licenses to the needs of different stakeholders could help speed the deployment of services so consumers can soon realize the promise and potential of 5G.

This week, AT&T’s Policy Forum hosted an in-depth discussion, The 3.5 GHz Future Innovation Showcase, as part of our continuing commitment to bring together policymakers, academia, and interested stakeholders. The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, delivered the event’s keynote remarks about the future of spectrum management and issues facing the 3.5 GHz band, including suggestions for reallocating additional spectrum. Besides two in-depth panel discussions exploring the challenges facing policymakers and technological advancements, The Policy Forum event featured two presentations by leading manufacturers of communications equipment, including the first demonstration in North America of Ericsson’s 3.5 GHz 5G NR equipment using 100 MHz of spectrum delivering 5G capabilities.

In his keynote remarks, Commissioner O’Rielly provided background on the 3.5 GHz band, explaining how the band evolved from being seen as “mere scraps” to an important component of innovative uses like mobile broadband. He also described improvements to the FCC’s rules that he supports, such as providing for larger geographic areas for licenses. Auctioning “half a million licenses” issued for smaller geographic areas could pose significant administrative burdens on both the FCC and the industry, explained Commissioner O’Rielly. He also shared an overview of international activities involving the allocation of spectrum for 5G, stressing that it’s in “America’s best interests to maintain leadership in wireless technologies.” And finally, Commissioner O’Rielly emphasized the importance of exploring the option of reallocating additional midband spectrum for commercial wireless uses.

Two leading manufacturers of broadband communications equipment highlighted their perspective on the promise of the 3.5 GHz band. “5G enables new Internet of Things use cases,” stressed Mr. David Hammerwall, Head of Product Line 5G, Ericsson, including enhanced mobile broadband and IoT applications ranging from smart cities to factory automation to remote surgery. Spectrum works as “a catalyst for innovation,” said Mr. Chris Stark, Head of Business Development, Nokia, paving the way for new consumer experiences like watching a car race through a 360-degree view inside the driver’s seat.

The policy panel discussion highlighted the history of the FCC’s actions in the 3.5 GHz spectrum frequency band, and touched on the remaining issues that are standing in the way of finalizing the timeline for auctioning this spectrum. According to Mr. Paul Powell, Assistant Chief of the Mobility Division in the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the United States is “closer than ever” to seeing new wireless broadband services in the 3.5 GHz band. The geographic size of licenses in this band is one of the main issues facing policymakers and stakeholders at this time, agreed the panelists. Recognizing the inherent flaws in a one-size-fits-all approach to geographic licensing, Mr. Stacey Black, Assistant Vice President of Federal Regulatory, AT&T, pointed out that a hybrid approach could meet the needs of all stakeholders by providing an investment-friendly approach to licensing in accordance with the safety of life needs of the Department of Defense and other incumbent users of the spectrum.

To close the afternoon, a panel discussion focused on the technological capabilities offered by 5G and the shared goal for everybody to bring better, faster mobile broadband to consumers as quickly as possible.

The AT&T Policy Forum sees an exciting future and welcomes the opportunity to host a discussion on how best to resolve the regulatory and policy issues facing the allocation of midband spectrum like 3.5 GHz. We look forward to continuing meaningful discussions on sound, common sense solutions to expanding next-generation high-speed broadband services for all Americans.

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