The Top 20 U.S. Stories of 2020
Tuesday, January 05, 2021 | Comments
2020 was a busy year for the industry as the COVID-19 pandemic forced first responder to find new ways to provide services and a variety of regulatory actions drastically changed the spectrum landscape.

The most read story of 2020 for MissionCritical Communications was something the industry has been waiting for since 2012. At the end of the year, Congress passed a massive spending and coronavirus relief bill that included the repeal of the mandate to the FCC to auction the T-band spectrum by 2021. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), mandated that the FCC auction the spectrum. Public-safety and business organizations have fought against the mandate for nine years, and those efforts finally paid off with the passage of the bill.

The other top five stories of the year all concerned the ongoing legal battle between Motorola Solutions and Hytera Communications. Motorola first sued Hytera in 2017, alleging theft of trade secrets. In February, a jury awarded Motorola $764.6 million in damages in the case.

But that wasn’t the end of the legal proceedings. Due to the large amount of damages, Hytera’s U.S. subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a bankruptcy court approved a sale of the entities to a newly formed Hytera entity. Motorola also asked the court for a permanent injunction to prevent Hytera from selling, distributing or importing products determined to include Motorola’s trade secrets, but the judge denied the motion, instead granting a royalty for continued use of those secrets.

Outside of the legal proceedings, the industry watched the spectrum landscape change drastically thanks to several major actions by the FCC. First, the FCC realigned the 900 MHz band to allow for broadband in the spectrum. Following that, the FCC approved new rules to allow unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band, despite concerns from public safety and critical infrastructure about interference.

Other top stories for the year included the FirstNet Authority’s continued commitment of funds to upgrading the network core to 5G, Florida’s ongoing process of replacing its statewide law enforcement network, the cancellation of industry events due to COVID-19 and the rollout of multiple MCPTT services, including from FirstNet and Verizon.

The top 20 stories for 2020 were:
1. Spending Bill Repeals T-Band Auction Mandate, Fights 9-1-1 Fee Diversion
2. Judge Denies Motorola Motion for Permanent Injunction, Grants Reasonable Royalty
3. Illinois Jury Awards Motorola $764.6M in Theft of Trade Secrets Case Against Hytera
4. Hytera America Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
5. Carriers Propose Handset-Based 9-1-1 Indoor Location Requirements
6. Approves 900 MHz Realignment Rules
7. FirstNet Board Approves $218M to Upgrade Core to 5G, Add Deployables
8. Motorola Cancels Channel Partner Expo, JVCKENWOOD Drops Out of IWCE
9. NIST, NSF to Award $3.1M for Disaster-Related Research
10. Indiana Connects Statewide P25 Core to AT&T’s EPTT Platform
11. Future of Florida SLERS Still Unclear, Business Case Near Completion
12. FCC Proposes T-Band Auction Rules, Asks for Industry Input on Relocation
13. Act Would Direct Florida DMS to Renew Statewide Radio Contract with L3Harris
14. FCC’s Annual Report Finds 5 States Diverted More Than $200M in 9-1-1 Fees
15. FirstNet Authority Board Authorizes Funds for Initial Core Upgrade
16. Hytera Asks Court to Approve Sale of U.S. Subsidiaries to Other Hytera Entity
17. Verizon Releases MCPTT Solution
18. FCC Denies Petitions for Stay of New 6 GHz Rules
19. Report Finds NG 9-1-1 Plan Adoption, ESInet Implementation, Text to 9-1-1 Growing
20. Verizon, Motorola Announce MCPTT Solution

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