After the U.S. Department of Defense agrees to an agreement to share the 3450 – 3550 MHz spectrum, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will auction the 50 MHz sharing rights of the 3300 – 3500 MHz secondary amateur radio allocation for allocation to commercial 5G networks. This band used to support military operations, and Amateur Radio and the Department of Defense were used as secondary users of this spectrum.
In the second half of last year, the FCC proposed to delete the amateur secondary allocation of 3300-3500 MHz and the amateur satellite allocation of 3400-3410 MHz. The FCC may auction 100 MHz spectrum in early 2022. This latest move enables continuous spectrum of 3450-3980 MHz to be used for commercial 5G networks.
"For many years, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC have always regarded the 3450-3550 MHz frequency band as the spectrum most conducive to sharing with commercial users," said David Siddall, AR3's Washington legal counsel. "Monday's statement announced that a sharing framework has been developed."
In December 2019, the FCC passed the Proposed Rulemaking Notice (NPRM) in WT Docket 19-348, proposing to delete the 3300 – 3500 MHz secondary amateur band. ARRL strongly opposes its comment on NPRM, which puts forward the FCC’s plan to cancel the “existing secondary radiolocation and amateur allocation” in the 3300 – 3500 MHz frequency band and consider redeploying existing non-federal operations Plan.
Siddall said that the spectrum below 3450 MHz presents a more difficult government/commercial sharing scenario, and future sharing is still uncertain. He said: "We continue to argue that amateur secondary allocation should not be deleted in this band." "We recognize that our visit is secondary, and only requires the opportunity to use our extensive technical skills to resolve within this range. Any future use that may be achieved."
The re-adjustment of the spectrum is in response to the Bill of Excessive and Unnecessary Obstacles to Create Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limit Wireless in 2018, so that the new spectrum can be used for mobile and fixed wireless broadband.
"Together with the spectrum available for 5G in the C-band and 3.5 GHz bands, we are now expected to provide 530 MHz mid-band spectrum for 5G in the 3.45 to 3.98 GHz range," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "The FCC looks forward to taking swift action to adopt the 3.45 GHz band service rules and then holding an auction to bring this main mid-band spectrum to the market."