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Feasibility of Commercial Wireless Services Sharing with Federal Operations in the 3100-3550 MHz Band

July 06, 2020

As directed by the MOBILE NOW Act of 2018, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) evaluated the feasibility of allowing commercial wireless services, on both a licensed and unlicensed basis, to share use of the radio frequency spectrum at 3100-3550 MHz, under the assumption of no changes in incumbent operations, except for possibly limiting some use of airborne radar systems over the continental United States.

This report has two principal conclusions based on the assumption of no changes in incumbent operations and the legislative mandate to look at sharing.  First, the 3450-3550 MHz portion of this band is a good candidate for potential spectrum sharing, including at the commercial system power levels sought by the wireless industry.  Second, although ultimately some sharing of spectrum below 3450 MHz may be possible as well, additional analysis of the entire band should be conducted to assess the various sharing mechanisms and the potential for relocating incumbents from  some portion of the remainder of the band for commercial use.  Currently, there are both classified and unclassified federal operations below 3450 MHz, which could be problematic for sharing with a commercial wireless system.  This would also need to be addressed, as well as the prospect that this portion of the frequency range may become even more congested if some federal operations are shifted down from above 3450 MHz to accommodate sharing at 3450-3550 MHz.