FCC to investigate 700MHz interoperability, may allow Dish to build LTE network

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: March 21, 2012

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A couple of interesting tidbits of news have come out of an FCC meeting that took place this morning. First up, the FCC has said that it'll begin looking into the possibility of reassigning the 2GHz band that's currently classified as Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) to Advanced Wireless Service (AWS). That's a move that'd please Dish Network, which happens to own some of that 2GHz satellite spectrum and would like to use it to build a 4G LTE network here on earth.

The other proposal to come out of the FCC today is one that has to do with spectrum already in use for LTE networks. The FCC has gotten the ball rolling on a process that may eventually lead to rules on the interoperability of the 700MHz spectrum that's currently used by some carriers, including AT&T and Verizon. Both carriers own different blocks of the 700MHz band, but interference concerns have so far prevented devices from being able to be used on the different blocks and carriers. That's a bit of an issue for smaller carriers that also own parts of the 700MHz band but aren't able to get manufacturers to craft devices specifically for their spectrum blocks. T-Mobile recently requested that the FCC look into FCC interoperability to make things like roaming easier for smaller carriers.

AT&T today put up a post on its blog explaining that it's in favor of 700MHz interoperability, but only if the aforementioned interference issues get worked out first. Of course, whether or not 700MHz interoperability and the conversion of MSS spectrum to AWS will actually go down remains to be seen. If they do, though, they could be big for the wireless realm, and it good to see that the FCC is looking into both of them. If you'd like some help in passing the time until we hear more on the subjects, go ahead and grab a bag of popcorn and a cold beverage and watch the FCC's meeting from earlier today right here.

Via Engadget, The Verge, FCC, Public Knowledge, AT&T