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Wireless Innovation Forum: CBRS Initial Commercial Deployment Has Arrived

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) announced today that members Amdocs (NASDAQ: DOX), CommScope (NASDAQ: COMM), Federated Wireless, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Sony (NYSE: SNE) have received FCC Spectrum Access Systems (SAS) approval to begin Initial Commercial Deployment (ICD) in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. This watershed event, which signifies that each organization has met lab testing requirements, marks the beginning of commercial operations within the band.

WInnForum’s Spectrum Sharing Committee (SSC) was specifically formed to develop the solutions and standards that will encourage rapid development of the CBRS ecosystem, protect incumbent operations, and benefit all potential stakeholders in the band. The SSC benefits from participation of a broad-based group that includes wireless carriers, network equipment manufacturers, potential SAS Administrators, federal government incumbents, satellite operators, existing 3650-3700 MHz band licensees, and other parties with an interest in the 3.5 GHz band.

On the heels of the group’s release of the complete baseline standards package in January 2018, the WInnForum delivered test code to the government’s test lab, the Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (ITS), in May of that year. ITS completed its laboratory testing of the SAS operational models provided by the above SAS administrators in May of the current year.

This event marks the culmination of years of standards development and subsequent equipment development and testing.

What the Stakeholders are Saying:

Don Stockdale, Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Julius Knapp, Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone for Initial Commercial Deployments of services and devices in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. It is the result of a successful coordinated effort between industry and government that breaks new ground in spectrum management and is a major step in paving the way for 5G. We extend our congratulations to all of the many people who played a role in getting us to this point.”

Dr. Eric Schmidt, ex-CEO and Chairman of Google and Alphabet, and Co-Chair of the PCAST study
“The initiation of ICD validates the ability of Federal and civil users to work together to share spectrum, a feat that many had claimed could not be accomplished. When we proposed this joint cooperation in the PCAST report, it was unclear how it would occur. But, with the work of the FCC in establishing CBRS, and the WInnForum in creating this cooperation, we now see the PCAST vision happening. I look forward to seeing the innovation in wireless services, business models, and technologies that this will enable.”

Claude Aiken, CEO and President of WISPA
“With SASs now fully lab tested and Initial Commercial Deployment a reality, new broadband innovation will soon storm the marketplace. WISPs will play a vital role in the CBRS landscape bringing new access and enhanced high-speed broadband choices, especially in under and un- served areas. WISPA is encouraged by the newly forged success of CBRS and spectrum sharing. We believe it enables the future for fair and broad use of sharing techniques in other bands for maximum efficiency.”

Paul Challoner, VP Network Product Solutions, Ericsson
“Initial Commercial Deployment is really a key milestone in the mass rollout of CBRS OnGo technology. This unlocks a tremendous opportunity for Ericsson to innovate in Mobile Network Offload, Fixed Wireless Access, Enterprise Networking, and Industrial IoT for LTE and 5G.”

Chris Stark, Head of Business Development, Nokia North America, and Chairman of the CBRS Alliance
“The ICD phase of CBRS is upon us, and now all of our hard work to create the platform for success, in this band, will bear fruit. Nokia is proud to have been at the forefront of this groundbreaking effort.”

Morgan Kurk, CTO, CommScope
“The commencement of CBRS Initial Commercial Deployment marks not only a major milestone in the FCC’s SAS certification process, it’s one of the last steps in the full commercialization of CBRS. CommScope is looking forward to supporting these initial deployments with our CBRS RAN solutions and delivering ICD results that will ultimately lead to the FCC’s approval of our SAS. After years of unprecedented collaborative development and hard work by many in the industry as well as government, CBRS is now mere weeks away from general availability.”

Bill Stone, Vice President Technology Development and Planning, Verizon
"With the completion of the SAS certification we are ready and excited to move forward with commercial deployment of LTE services on the CBRS spectrum. The addition of CBRS spectrum will allow our customers to benefit from more capacity, higher peak speeds and faster throughput when accessing the network. We applaud the FCC and our SAS partners for their tireless work to complete this critical variable in the CBRS deployment formula and we look forward to making service on this spectrum available to our customers in the immediate future."

Jon Pederson, Chief Technology Officer, Midco
“Midco is very enthusiastic about the Initial Commercial Deployment process. Regulatory approval allows us to deploy next-gen CBRS equipment to rural customers and close the digital divide.”

John Zidar, Corporate Vice President, North America Commercial, Channel & Carrier, Motorola Solutions
“Motorola Solutions is excited to see CBRS take this major step toward deployment. Drawing on over a decade of private broadband experience, we are proud to have been involved in the CBRS standards-setting process from the beginning, and we are grateful to the FCC for their foresight and leadership along the way. This milestone reflects industry adaptations to the evolving need for better and faster enterprise communications. We are eager to begin commercial deployments of our CBRS portfolio, to give our customers more capacity and coverage for their voice, data, and video communications.”

Eric Stonestrom, CEO, Airspan Networks Inc.
“Airspan is proud to have worked alongside so many great companies and the FCC to reach this juncture of Initial Commercial Deployment. Airspan is also encouraged by the overall confidence of operators and ecosystem manufactures for spectrum sharing. The ICD launch is the beginning of the next wave of wireless services that will touch the underserved in rural America all the way to realizing a global trend of shared spectrum.”

Iyad Tarazi, President and CEO, Federated Wireless
“This marks both a finish and a starting line in the industry’s shared journey to expand our nation’s broadband capabilities and finally deliver on the affordable spectrum needed for both 4G and 5G. Receiving the ‘green light’ for Initial Commercial Deployments from the FCC gives us and our fast-growing partner ecosystem not only the right, but the shared responsibility, to act as quickly as possible to help our customers realize the incredible benefits of CBRS shared spectrum.”

"Now that CBRS is entering commercial deployment, WInnForum members will begin to realize the value of all their hard work," concluded Lee Pucker, CEO of the WInnForum. "We are proud to have been able to support our membership in developing the standards and establishing the ecosystem necessary to reach this exciting advancement in communications."


Specifications in the baseline include:

To register technologies for use in the band:

To view WInnForum Accredited CBRS Vendors or apply for approval:

WInnForum CBSD Certification Program:

WInnForum supports the development and advancement of spectrum sharing technologies based on the three-tier architecture detailed in 3.5 GHz CBRS rules defined by the FCC. More about the WInnForum and its CBRS standards building can be found here:

About the Wireless Innovation Forum

Established in 1996, The Wireless Innovation Forum (SDR Forum Version 2.0) is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation dedicated to advocating for spectrum innovation, and advancing radio technologies that support essential or critical communications worldwide. Members bring a broad base of experience in Software Defined Radio (SDR), Cognitive Radio (CR) and Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) technologies in diverse markets and at all levels of the wireless value chain to address emerging wireless communications requirements. To learn more about The Wireless Innovation Forum, its meetings and membership benefits, visit Forum projects are supported by platinum sponsors Motorola Solutions, Leonardo and Thales.

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