FCC Approves Verizon Request for STA for CBRS 5G Experiment
Monday, May 10, 2021 | Comments

The FCC approved a special temporary authority (STA) request from Verizon to allow it to conduct 5G tests using pre-commercial equipment in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum.

Verizon said it is working with partner companies to develop equipment that will use 5G technologies on CBRS spectrum based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards.

The proposed tests have several goals including:
• Evaluation of 5G signal characteristics at various bandwidths up to 100 megahertz using 3.5 GHz spectrum;
• Evaluation of several 5G functional and performance-related features using 3.5 GHz;
• Evaluation of end-to-end, excluding spectrum access systems (SAS), CBRS architecture in a pre-production network;
• Evaluation of intraband and interband carrier aggregation between 3.5 GHz and licensed and/or unlicensed bands. Licensed bands are restricted to Verizon legacy licensed bands.

Verizon said all tests will be limited to the 3.55 – 3.7 GHz spectrum. Field tests will be conducted in a pre-production network, in a highly controlled field environment, in order to assist in the development of commercial 5G products. The carrier said that the testing will benefit the public interest by enabling pre-commercial testing of new products, including CBRS devices (CBSD), outside of a lab environment but in a controlled and managed manner.

“This field trial will consist of an aggregate of up to three Category B CBSDs deployed in a cluster that support mobility from cell to cell,” Verizon’s request said. “… Some of the tests, however, include 3GPP 5G base stations that may operate on 700 MHz, PCS and/or AWS, and/or n77 operating under 47 CFR Part 24 or Part 27. Transmission on 700 MHz, PCS and/or AWS spectrum will be constrained to VZ’s legacy licensed spectrum, while n77 is operated under an experimental license.”

The carrier said it and a mobile device partner plan to conduct testing with no more than 10 mobile 5G prototype devices to support the field trial testing. The mobile devices will operate within the RF coverage area of the small cell CBSDs. Of those tests, some with mobile stations will only be using CBRS spectrum, but the majority of tests will include mobiles and base stations with LTE transmitters that operate in carrier aggregation mode with the CBRS band.

Verizon said that the mobile devices will only be used by test engineers from either Verizon or its vendor partners. It said that all the equipment used in the trials will be compliant with FCC rules. Verizon said it plans to operate the evaluation devices, both small cells and mobile units, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week during the testing period. If interference is identified, the equipment can be shut down quickly, Verizon said.

The trial is expected to occur from May 15 to November 14. The FCC granted the STA May 6. Find Verizon’s full proposal here.

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