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Sprint cleared for 1900 MHz CDMA, LTE on U.S.-Mexico border

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:36pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint will be able to deploy CDMA and LTE in the 1900 MHz band along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of new spectrum-sharing agreements between the FCC and the Mexican government.

Sprint got access to the band in 2004 in return for vacating its lower 800 MHz spectrum, but the lack of an agreement with Mexico’s telecommunications agency has so far precluded it from using the border licenses.

That changed after the FCC signed two agreements on Friday with Mexico to share spectrum in the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz bands along the countries’ border.

“The new protocol for the 1.9 GHz band allows Sprint Nextel Corp. to deploy CDMA service along the border with Mexico,” the FCC said in an announcement.

Sprint is using its 1900 MHz spectrum for both LTE and CDMA under its network modernization project, and it recently received FCC clearance to use its 800 MHz iDEN spectrum for both of the technologies.

The agreements were the result of “high-level discussions” at the State Department between FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Mexican telecommunications officials, the Commission said.

Sprint could not be immediately reached for comment on the announcement. Its online coverage map indicates it offers service across densely populated border areas in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The formalization of the protocols mark the start of the final phase for re-banding 800 MHz spectrum. The agreement for the 800 MHz band will address interference issues between public safety users and commercial licensees.

“These agreements with Mexico will unleash investment and benefit consumers near the borders by enabling the rollout of advanced wireless broadband service and advanced systems for critical public safety and emergency response communications,” Genachowski said.

The United States and Mexico also signed a joint statement for continued coordination of spectrum along the border and cooperation on telecommunications policy issues.

The new 800 MHz protocol replaces the previous agreement. It allots band segments between the United States and Mexico, specifies the technical parameters for operation on these band segments within 68 miles of the border, and creates a task force to support the transition of incumbent operators along the border to the new allotment plan.

T-Mobile USA said last week that it is testing an HSPA+ network on its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, where Apple will hold its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week.

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