FCC Aims To Auction H Block Spectrum As Soon As January

The FCC said in a public notice that it could be ready to auction the 1900 MHz PCS H Block of spectrum as soon as January 2014, its first major spectrum auction since 2008. The commission is seeking public comment on its proposed rules for the auction, which could draw interest from Sprint (NYSE:S), Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and others.

The FCC said the auction, which will be designated Auction 96, will be held “by or as early as January 14, 2014.” The auction could take place by that date or sometime thereafter. The FCC said comments on the auction rules are due on or before Aug. 5, and reply comments are due on or before Aug. 16. Last month the FCC voted to approve draft rules for the auction.

The H Block is a 10 MHz block of paired airwaves that runs from 1915-1920 MHz (for the uplink) and from 1995-2000 MHz (for the downlink). The H Block is part of 65 MHz of spectrum Congress mandated the FCC to auction by February 2015. As Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel noted last month, of the 65 MHz that has been identified, the H Block is the only block that is paired and not in use by government agencies, so revenue generated from the auction of the H Block will not have to be used to pay government users to move off the spectrum.

The FCC said the auction, which will be designated Auction 96, will be held “by or as early as January 14, 2014.” The auction could take place by that date or sometime thereafter. The FCC said comments on the auction rules are due on or before Aug. 5, and reply comments are due on or before Aug. 16. Last month the FCC voted to approve draft rules for the auction.

The spectrum will be auctioned in 176 individual Economic Areas across the country. In its public notice, the FCC is asking for comment on what the reserve price should be as well as the minimum opening bids.

Sprint has repeatedly expressed its interest in bidding for the H Block and using the spectrum to enhance its LTE service. Dish, which controls spectrum adjacent to a portion of the H Block, could also bid for the spectrum.

Republic FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a statement that he hopes the auction will be conducted quickly. “The sooner we get the currently fallow H Block spectrum into the commercial marketplace, the sooner it can be used to deliver bandwidth-intensive mobile services and applications, and the sooner the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will receive its initial infusion of funds from auction revenues,” he said. “Of course, getting the auction rules and procedures right is extremely important. I encourage commenters to provide comprehensive feedback so that there is a robust record upon which to issue final auction procedures, and I hope that we will commence the H Block auction on January 14, 2014.”

LTE and Wearable Tech Give Users Ultimate Personalization

Thu, 08/01/2013 – 4:36pm By Steve Shaw, Director of Mobile Solutions, Juniper Networks, from http://www.wirelessweek.com

As smartphone users, we want immediate gratification and expect ultimate customization based on our preferences. We’re starting to see that dream become a reality as our smartphones evolve to offer new features like live streaming and content updates based on our app preferences. Many people are still using 3G or slower connections and aren it realizing the potential that LTE brings. LTE means instant streaming and uploading of your favorite videos based on your preferences. We have only scratched the surface of personalization on our devices and LTE can take us to that next step.

There are already 198.1 million LTE subscribers worldwide, up a remarkable 115 percent from 92.3 million last year, according to an IHS iSuppli Wireless Communications Special Report. The subscriber base is expected to reach 1 billion as early as 2016, according to the same report.

Juniper Networks predicts that in the next five years, consumers will rely solely on LTE as they use their devices for social and work updates on the go. LTE will pave the way for wearable technologies, taking the issue of service personalization up a notch. The data immersion experience enabled through wearable devices is relevant only when the network is aware of the subscriber “context.” There is need for a far more dynamic policy framework that can deal with the rapid changes in context as the subscriber moves say from a restaurant to a sports bar to a mall. Context-based content and services will keep the subscriber engaged in this new world of data immersion creating new sources of revenue in a competitive market. Furthermore, the combination of social experience with wearable devices will drive new use cases, resulting in new requirements for network design and operation.

This means traffic flow across mobile networks will continue to rise. Taken somewhat by surprise by the data deluge, operators around the world have initiated their strategies to offload data traffic to Wi-Fi hotspots so that networks aren it feeling as much of the strain and skyrocketing our data plans. LTE gives operators a second chance for optimizing mobile data experience without resorting to data offload strategies.

From the subscriber perspective, LTE creates a level playing field where operators may not be able to solely compete on the speed, instead they need to focus on personalized services to create a competitive advantage. Gone are the days when operators were able to provide a cookie cutter service package. This is the era of “mass customization.” The mass customization is only feasible through new networking paradigms such as SDN. Therefore the operators who are slow to adapt their networks to the needs of the day will lose in this new market dynamic.

There is no doubt that the speed of innovation within mobile devices and networks will proceed at an accelerated pace within the next five years. Mobile devices have already assumed a central role in our personal and professional lives. Moving forward devices with flexible displays and wearable options will create an “instant gratification” mobile user experience environment where personalization and context will be key ingredients. To capture the maximum benefit from this demand for personalization and context, mobile operators need to accelerate LTE rollout schedules, adopt SDN-based network architectures and introduce distributed services and policy framework where services can be created and “mass customized” in real-time.




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