U.S. wireless industry trade association CTIA has reportedly released a statement encouraging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue freeing up high-band spectrum for 5G. That follows the FCC's decision to free up portions of the 37 GHz band for non-exclusive sharing as well as the entire 24 GHz band and a further 2.75 GHz of the 26 and 42 GHz bands. All of that, in turn, falls under the commission's wider effort to help the country's operators to win the ongoing "race to 5G." The CTIA says is going to be a key part of encouraging the growth of new industries, especially with regard to autonomous vehicles and the ever-growing Internet of Things. The association was hardly the only group to applaud the FCC's efforts, either. In particular, the decision to free up the lower 600 MHz of the aforementioned 37 GHz spectrum drew feedback from the Wireless Future Program at New America’s Open Technology Institute. Specifically, the institute said the move should open plenty of opportunities for small operators and local users.
Meanwhile, other groups have expressed concerns about plan proposals stemming from the regulatory body. Those appear to relate to suggestions that federal use of spectrum could be expanded into the upper end of the 37 GHz band, among other things. According to Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, the government should be reducing its spectrum footprint instead of expanding on it. Another area of concern, voiced by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, is raised by a decision to replace preauction limits with postauction case-by-case reviews. Both concerns have valid points to be made since further sharing of the bands with federal operations will limit spectrum available to operators. On the other hand, reviews that are conducted after the auction has already been conducted could feasibly result in missed opportunities to diversify the use of the spectrum. Conversely, it could slow down the process in the long-term.
Setting all of that aside, Rosenworcel says that the regulatory agency is going to continue moving forward and auction millimeter wave bands one at a time. That's despite industry leaders requestion that the bands be auctioned together. Statements from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appear to indicate that decision is, at least in part, to allow for the pursuit of infrastructure policies that will bolster 5G and for planning each auction. The auctions themselves are set to begin taking place this fall.