FCC Ends Incumbent-Only Filing Window, Opens T-Band to New Applicants
Monday, April 04, 2022 | Comments

The FCC officially opened the window for new applicants for T-band spectrum on April 2.

There has been a freeze on new applicants in the T-band since 2012. The commission implemented a freeze on the acceptance and processing of most T-band applications that year because the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 mandated the FCC auction that spectrum by 2021. The FCC implemented that freeze to preserve a stable spectrum environment prior to the auction.

However, at the end of 2020, after years of efforts from the industry, Congress passed legislation that repealed the auction mandate. In January 2021, the commission then modified the freeze and announced a 90-day period for incumbent licensees in the band to submit applications. That filing window was then extended twice to April 1.

“After a 375-day incumbent-only filing window, the bureaus believe it now appropriate to modify the application suspension and open the band to new entrants,” the FCC said in its order modifying the freeze.

The FCC will now accept new applications characterized as major under Part 22 of the FCC’s rules. The FCC will also accept new applications under Part 90 of the commission’s rules as long as they propose operation bandwidth of 12.5 kilohertz or narrower or use a technology that achieves the “narrowband equivalent of at least one channel per 12.5 kilohertz of channel bandwidth for voice and transmission rates of at least 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kilohertz for data systems operating with bandwidth greater than 12.5 kilohertz.”

Incumbent licensees can still submit applications, as well. Applications that do not meet the spectral efficiency requirements will not be accepted by the FCC.

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