FCC Denies 800 MHz ESMR Rebanding Request
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Comments

The FCC denied a request by License Acquisitions to rescind its election under the 800 MHz rebanding program to relocate to the enhanced SMR (ESMR) portion of the band.

The request arises from the early stages of the rebanding program when 800 MHz incumbents that held geographic area licenses in the former interleaved portions of the band (809.75 – 816/854.75 – 861 MHz) were allowed to choose between two relocation options. They could remain in the interleaved portion of the band and operate high-site systems, or they could relocate to the ESMR band (816 – 824/861 – 869 MHz) and operate low-site cellular-architecture systems. Based on each licensee’s election, the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA) would then assign the licensee channels in the appropriate band, and the licensee would proceed with rebanding in accordance with its election.

Silver Palm Communications, the predecessor licensee to License Acquisitions, held several 800 MHz geographic-area licenses in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. In May 2005, Silver Palm elected to relocate those licenses to the ESMR band and notified the TA.

In October 2005, the FCC ordered that licensees that had elected to relocate to the ESMR band be given a new election window in which to either rescind or reaffirm their previous elections, and the TA opened a 20-day election window pursuant to the FCC’s directive. In February 2006, Silver Palm reaffirmed its election to relocate to the ESMR band and to construct and operate a cellular architecture system.

In July 2010, License Acquisitions acquired the Silver Palm licenses, subject to Silver Palm’s ESMR election. On Nov. 28, 2017, License Acquisitions filed a letter seeking to rescind the ESMR election and requesting that it be assigned back the non-ESMR channels that were licensed to Silver Palm prior to its election. In support of its request, License Acquisitions said events that have since transpired make License Acquisitions’ only course of action to rescind the election. License Acquisitions does not describe the nature of these events, the FCC said.

“Allowing License Acquisitions to switch from ESMR to non-ESMR spectrum 12 years after the fact would require revisions to the band plan that would be highly disruptive to the almost-completed rebanding process and would in fact unwind progress that has already been made,” the order said.

The full order is here.

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