FCC Seeks Comments on Current Trends in LTE-U and LAA Technology


The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”), and Office of Engineering and Technology (“OET”) are seeking information on current trends in LTE-U and LAA technology.  Comments are due no later than June 11, 2015, with reply comments due by June 26, 2015.

Participants in the wireless industry are developing a version of LTE technology named “LTE-U” or “LTE-Unlicensed.”  LTE-U equipment would operate in conjunction with licensed commercial wireless services “using a technique called Licensed Assisted Access (“LAA”) whereby a channel in an operator’s licensed spectrum is used as the primary channel for devices operating on an unlicensed basis.”  Some of these entities have asked the FCC to consider the development of LTE-U and LAA in the context of the ongoing 3.5 GHz and 5 GHzproceedings.

Not surprisingly, some entities express concern that LTE-U and LAA “may have a detrimental impact on existing and future use of unlicensed or shared spectrum.”  But others claim “LTE-U and LAA are more efficient than other currently available unlicensed technologies, that LTE-U and LAA include features to share the spectrum fairly with no detrimental impact on existing users of the spectrum, and that consumers will ultimately benefit from increased access to spectrum.”

Also, the FCC notes there are significant differences in the two spectrum bands, with 3.5 GHz being generally new and unused, with 5 GHz having significant use by Wi-Fi devices. 

Standards bodies are investigating LTE-U and LAA use, but may not necessarily be moving in the same direction.  Accordingly, the FCC has opened a new proceeding (ET Docket No. 15-105) intended to enable all interested parties to discuss “LTE-U and LAA technologies and how they will coexist with other technologies, including Wi-Fi.”  It is generally believed this proceeding will ultimately result in binding rules governing LTE-U and LAA technologies.

As well as seeking whatever information a party wishes to place in the record in this new docket, the FCC asks a series of questions that are set forth in the May 5, 2015 Public Notice.

Who might be interested in reviewing the FCC’s questions and considering filing comments and/or reply comments?  Manufacturers of LTE-U equipment.  Manufacturers of other equipment that do or will operate in the 3.5 GHz or 5 GHz bands.  Service providers that use or are considering use of the 3.5 GHz or 5 GHz bands.  Private parties that use or are considering use of the 3.5 GHz or 5 GHz bands.

If you have any questions about the FCC’s May 5, 2015 Public Notice or have an interest in filing comments with the FCC in ET Docket No. 15-105, please contact either Robert Jackson 703-714-1316 rhj@commlawgroup.com or Ronald Quirk 703-714-1305 req@commlawgroup.com

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