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Sprint, Dish continue spat over PCS, MSS rules

Tue, 10/23/2012 - 2:43pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint and Dish Network continue to lobby the FCC on regulations for 40 MHz of satellite AWS-4 spectrum that Dish wants to use for an LTE-Advanced network.

The FCC is evaluating changes to the AWS-4 block that would allow Dish to use the band for a wireless network. Without the changes, Dish has said it cannot move forward with its LTE plans.

The proposal has sparked controversy between the two companies, as the final rules for the spectrum block could affect the potential use of the PCS G-block, an adjacent swath of spectrum Sprint has long hoped to purchase for LTE.

The regulations will also affect how much of the AWS-4 band Dish will be able to use for its wireless network, as protections for the G-block will limit the use of its uplink spectrum.

Documents filed with the FCC yesterday show each company continues to push the Commission to adopt rules favorable to their individual wireless plans.

Sprint has offered to compromise on some of the more restrictive protections it has sought for the G-block, and it’s now calling on the FCC "to take a holistic approach by creating a framework to resolve potential G-block, H-block and AWS-4 interference concerns in conjunction with each other so that this spectrum is used as fully as possible to serve wireless consumers."

However, Sprint is still encouraging the Commission to adopt measures opposed by Dish, such as limits on out-of-band emissions and signal strength.

Dish appeared unappeased by Sprint's softer stance.

"Sprint’s proposal to predetermine the future use of the H-block for full-power LTE by imposing unwarranted technical restrictions on Dish will threaten Dish’s ability to enter the wireless market with no offsetting benefits to the public interest or competition," it said in an ex parte filing.

Up to 25 percent of Dish's uplink spectrum could be rendered unusable by Sprint's proposal and could require the 3GPP to overhaul its standards for the AWS-4 band, Dish said.

Dish wants the FCC to adopt rules that will preserve its entire AWS-4 spectrum for LTE, "rather than prematurely setting technical rules now that would harm Dish's chances for success." Dish suggested the H-block be evaluated for low-power use, like small cell deployments, a proposal that could take Sprint's H-block LTE ambitions off of the table.

The FCC has given little indication on when it plans to ratify the new set of regulations for the AWS-4 band. Commissioner Ajit Pai said in September that he was "optimistic" the rules could be in place this month, but with just one week left in October, the chances seem slim.

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