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FCC Sets Stage for Auction of 65 MHz of Spectrum for Mobile Broadband

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Released: March 31, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 14-31

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with
)
GN Docket No. 13-185
Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-
)
1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz
)
Bands
)

REPORT AND ORDER

Adopted: March 31, 2014

Released: March 31, 2014

By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel issuing separate
statements; Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly approving in part, concurring in part and issuing separate
statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY................................................................................................... 1
II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 3
A. Demand for Flexible Use Spectrum................................................................................................. 3
B. National Broadband Plan and Presidential Memoranda .................................................................. 4
C. Section 6401 of the Spectrum Act ................................................................................................... 5
D. CSEA Transition Planning Process ................................................................................................. 8
E. CSMAC Working Groups.............................................................................................................. 11
F. DoD Proposal................................................................................................................................. 12
G. NTIA Endorsement of CSMAC Reports and DoD Proposal......................................................... 13
III. DISCUSSION ...................................................................................................................................... 14
A. Bands for AWS-3........................................................................................................................... 14
1. 1695-1710 MHz ...................................................................................................................... 15
2. 1755-1780 MHz ...................................................................................................................... 30
3. 2155-2180 MHz ...................................................................................................................... 40
4. Band-Plan for 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz............................................................. 42
5. 2020-2025 MHz ...................................................................................................................... 53
B. Technical Rules.............................................................................................................................. 60
1. OOBE Limits........................................................................................................................... 62
2. Antenna Height Restrictions ................................................................................................... 75
3. Power Limits ........................................................................................................................... 79
4. Co-Channel Interference between AWS-3 Systems................................................................ 93
5. Co-Channel Interference to BRS Channels 1 and 2 ................................................................ 99
6. Base station control of mobile or portable devices in 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780
MHz bands ............................................................................................................................ 100
7. Receiver Performance ........................................................................................................... 103
8. Compliance with Industry Standard ...................................................................................... 104
9. Canadian and Mexican Coordination .................................................................................... 106
10. Other Technical Issues .......................................................................................................... 107
C. Licensing and Operating Rules; Regulatory Issues ..................................................................... 108
1. Assignment of Licenses......................................................................................................... 109

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2. Flexible Use........................................................................................................................... 111
3. Regulatory Framework.......................................................................................................... 113
4. Regulatory Status .................................................................................................................. 115
5. Foreign Ownership Reporting ............................................................................................... 119
6. Eligibility............................................................................................................................... 122
7. Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies ....................................................................................... 126
8. License Term, Performance Requirements, Renewal Criteria, Permanent
Discontinuance of Operations ............................................................................................... 130
9. Other Operating Requirements.............................................................................................. 172
10. Facilitating Access to Spectrum and the Provision of Service to Tribal Lands .................... 174
11. Competitive Bidding Procedures........................................................................................... 176
12. Non-Federal Relocation and Cost Sharing (2155-2180 MHz).............................................. 194
D. Allocation Matters ....................................................................................................................... 197
1. 1695-1710 MHz .................................................................................................................... 198
2. 2155-2180 MHz .................................................................................................................... 201
3. 1755-1780 MHz .................................................................................................................... 206
4. 2020-2025 MHz .................................................................................................................... 209
5. 2025-2110 MHz .................................................................................................................... 210
6. Statutory Requirements ......................................................................................................... 212
E. Federal/Non-Federal Coordination .............................................................................................. 216
1. Post-auction: Federal/Non-Federal Coordination Requirement ........................................... 219
2. Pre-auction Information on Federal Incumbents for Bidders................................................ 223
F. Interoperability Requirement ....................................................................................................... 225
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS.............................................................................................................. 232
A. Ex Parte Presentations.................................................................................................................. 232
B. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.......................................................................................... 238
C. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 239
D. Further Information...................................................................................................................... 241
V. ORDERING CLAUSES..................................................................................................................... 242
APPENDIX A – Final Rules
APPENDIX B – Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
APPENDIX C – List of Commenters

I.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

1.
Today we adopt rules governing use of spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780
MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands that will make available significantly more commercial spectrum for
Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). We refer to these bands as AWS-3.1 This additional 65 megahertz
of spectrum for commercial use will help ensure that the speed, capacity, and ubiquity of the nation’s
wireless networks keeps pace with industry demands for wireless service. Today’s action is another step
in implementing the Congressional directive in Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation

1 In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission revised its informal nomenclature to refer to four bands as AWS-3: the
three bands listed in the text and the 2020-2025 MHz band, which is not governed by the specific statutory
provisions and licensing deadline required with respect to the other three bands. See Amendment of the
Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-
2180 MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 13-185, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on Reconsideration, 28 FCC
Rcd 11479, 11481-11482 ¶ 1, n.1 (2013) (AWS-3 NPRM). As discussed below, we will address service rules for the
2020-2025 MHz band separately in a subsequent item, following the adjacent AWS-4 licensee’s required election
whether to use the 2000-2020 MHz band for uplink or for downlink.
2

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Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act) to make more spectrum available for flexible uses.2 It also represents a
milestone in speeding commercial access to bands through spectrum-sharing arrangements with
incumbent Federal users. In particular, 40 megahertz in the band is being made available for commercial
use pursuant to collaboration among the wireless industry and Federal agencies facilitated by the
Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) chartered to advise the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
2.
We will license the AWS-3 spectrum in two sub-bands. We will pair the 2155-2180 MHz
band for downlink/base station operations with the 1755-1780 MHz band for uplink/mobile operations.
The 2155-2180 MHz band is already currently allocated for non-Federal, commercial use. The 1755-
1780 MHz band is being made available on a shared basis with a limited number of Federal incumbents
indefinitely, while many of the Federal systems will over time relocate out of the band. We also adopt
rules to allocate and license the 1695-1710 MHz band for uplink/mobile operations on an unpaired shared
basis with incumbent Federal meteorological-satellite (MetSat) data users. We will assign AWS-3
licenses by competitive bidding, offering 5 megahertz and 10 megahertz blocks that can be aggregated
using Economic Areas (EAs) as the area for geographic licensing, except for 1755-1760/2155-2160 MHz,
which will be licensed by Cellular Market Areas (CMAs). The AWS-3 band plan is shown below.
1755
1760
1765
1770
1780
AWS-3 AWS-3 AWS-3
AWS-3
AWS-1
G
H
I
J
Federal
CMA
EA
EA
EA
Mobile Transmit/Base Receive
2155
2160
2165
2170
2180
AWS-3 AWS-3 AWS-3
AWS-3
AWS-1
G
H
I
J
AWS-4/MSS
CMA
EA
EA
EA
Base Transmit/Mobile Receive

2 See Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012) (Spectrum
Act).
3

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Block

Frequencies

Pairing

Bandwidth

Area

Licenses

G
1755-1760 and 2155-2160 MHz
2 x 5 MHz
10 MHz
CMA
734
H
MHfffffz
1760-1765 and 2160-2165 MHz
2 x 5 MHz
10 MHz
EA
176
I
1765-1770 and 2165-2170 MHz
2 x 5 MHz
10 MHz
EA
176
J
1770-1780 and 2170-2180 MHz
2 x10 MHz
20 MHz
EA
176
A1
1695-1700 MHz
1 x 5 MHz
5 MHz
EA
176
B1
1700-1710 MHz
1 x10 MHz
10 MHz
EA
176

II.

BACKGROUND

A.

Demand for Flexible Use Spectrum

3.
Wireless broadband is a critical component of economic growth, job creation, and global
competitiveness and consumers are increasingly using wireless broadband services to assist them in their
everyday lives.3 The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablet computers, combined with deployment of
high-speed 3G and 4G technologies, is driving more intensive use of mobile networks, so much so that
the total number of mobile wireless connections now exceeds the total U.S. population.4 As of the second
quarter of 2013, 64 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones.5 It is predicted that by 2019,
almost all handsets in North America will be smartphones and that total smartphone traffic over mobile
networks will increase 10 times between 2013 and 2019.6 As of June 2013, 34 percent of American
adults owned a tablet computer device, an increase from only 18 percent in September 2010.7 Tablets

3 Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 Annual Report and
Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions With Respect to Mobile Wireless, Including Commercial Mobile
Services, WT Docket No. 11-186, Sixteenth Report, 28 FCC Rcd 3700, 3929-3931 ¶¶ 361-66 (2013) (Sixteenth
Mobile Wireless Competition Report
); see also Service Rules for the Advanced Wireless Services H Block—
Implementing Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920
MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands, WT Docket No. 12-357, Report and Order, FCC 13-88 28 FCC Rcd 9483, 9484-
9485 ¶ 2 (2013) (H Block R&O); Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-
2200 MHz Bands, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Report and Order and Order of
Proposed Modification
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102, 16104 ¶ 3 (2012) (AWS-4 Service Rules R&O); Connecting America:
The National Broadband Plan at 77-79 (National Broadband Plan), available at http://www.broadband.gov/plan/
(last visited March 31, 2014).
4 See CTIA – The Wireless Association® A Wireless Industry Survey Results – December 1985 to December 2012
(estimating 326,475,248 total U.S. subscriber connections as of December 2012), available at
http://files.ctia.org/pdf/CTIA_Survey_YE_2012_Graphics-FINAL.pdf (last visited March 31, 2014). According to
the Bureau of the Census, the combined population of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as
of July 1, 2013, was estimated to be 316.1 million. See U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, available at
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2013_PEPANNRES&prod
Type=tablev (last visited March 31, 2014).
5 Nielsen Newswire, The Nielsen Company, Smartphone Switch: Three-Fourths of Recent Acquirers Chose
Smartphones,
(Sept. 17, 2013), available at http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2013/smartphone-switch--three-
fourths-of-recent-acquirers-chose-smart.html (last visited March 31, 2014); Nielsen Newswire, The Nielsen
Company, Two Thirds of New Mobile Buyers Now Opting for Smartphones, July 12, 2012, available at
http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2012/two-thirds-of-new-mobile-buyers-now-opting-for-smartphones.html
(last visited March 31, 2014).
6 Ericsson Mobility, Ericsson Mobility Report on the Pulse of the Networked Society, Nov. 2013 at 7 and 11,
available at http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2013/ericsson-mobility-report-november-2013.pdf (last visited
March 31, 2014).
7 See Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet & American Life Project, “Tablet Ownership 2013” (June 10, 2013), available
at
http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Tablet-Ownership-2013.aspx (last visited March 31, 2014).
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generated on average approximately 2.6 times the amount of mobile traffic as the average smartphone in
2013.8 All of these trends are resulting in more demand for network capacity and for capital to invest in
the infrastructure, technology, and spectrum to support this capacity.9 The demand for spectrum,
moreover, is expected to continue increasing.10 In response, both Congress and the President have issued
directives to make available additional spectrum for flexible uses, including mobile broadband. The
Commission continues to work to make available additional licensed and unlicensed spectrum to meet
this growing demand.11

B.

National Broadband Plan and Presidential Memoranda

4.
Anticipating the growing demand for additional spectrum, the National Broadband Plan
recommended that the Commission undertake to make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for
broadband use within 10 years.12 The National Broadband Plan also recommended that 300 megahertz
of this spectrum between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz be made available for mobile use within 5 years.13 And
it specifically recommended that the NTIA, in consultation with the Commission, conduct an analysis, of
the possibility of reallocating a portion of the 1755-1850 MHz band to pair with the 2155-2175 MHz
band.14 In 2010, the President directed the NTIA to collaborate with the Commission to “make available
a total of 500 MHz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum over the next 10 years, suitable for both mobile
and fixed wireless broadband use.”15 Then, in 2013, the President released another memorandum stating
that where technically and economically feasible, spectrum sharing can and should be used to enhance
efficiency among all users and to expedite commercial access to additional spectrum bands, subject to

8 See Cisco White Paper, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013-2018
at 2 (Feb. 5, 2014), available at
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.pdf
(Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast) (last visited March 31, 2014).
9 See CTIA Semi-Annual Data Survey Results (detailing growth in cumulative capital investment and cell sites).
10 The Council of Economic Advisors has found that “the spectrum currently allocated to wireless is not sufficient to
handle the projected growth in demand, even with technological improvements allowing for more efficient use of
existing spectrum and significant investment in new facilities.” Council of Economic Advisors, The Economic
Benefits of New Spectrum for Wireless Broadband at 5 (Feb. 21, 2012), available at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/factsheets-reports (last visited March 31, 2014).
11 See, e.g., H Block R&O; Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive
Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 12357 (2012) (Incentive Auctions
NPRM
) (proposing to hold the world’s first incentive auction of repurposed television broadcast spectrum); AWS-4
Service Rules R&O
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102 (making 40 megahertz of spectrum available for mobile broadband);
Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless Communications Services
in the 2.3 GHz Band; Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-
2360 MHz Frequency Band, WT Docket No. 07-293, IB Docket No. 95-91, Order on Reconsideration, FCC 12-130,
27 FCC Rcd 13651 (2012) (acting to free up 30 megahertz of spectrum for mobile broadband); Amendment of the
Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 3550-3650 MHz Band, GN Docket No. 12-354,
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 15594 (2012) (pursuing opportunities for innovative
sharing use of small cells in 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band); Revision of Part 15 of the
Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5 GHz Band,
ET Docket No. 13-49, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 1769 (2013) (examining the potential to free up
195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band suitable for “Gigabit Wi-Fi”).
12 National Broadband Plan, Recommendation 5.8 at 84-85.
13 Id.
14 Id. at 76 and Recommendation 5.8 at 84-87.
15 Memorandum of June 28, 2010 - Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution, 75 Fed. Reg. 38387 (July 1,
2010).
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adequate interference protection for Federal users, especially users with national security, law
enforcement, and safety-of-life responsibilities.16

C.

Section 6401 of the Spectrum Act

5.
In February 2012, Congress enacted the Spectrum Act. That Act includes several
provisions designed to make more spectrum available for commercial use.17 It established, among other
things, deadlines applicable to both the Secretary of Commerce and the Commission to identify,
reallocate, auction, and license, subject to flexible use service rules, spectrum for commercial use.18
Specifically, the Spectrum Act requires the allocation of spectrum in the following bands for services that
support commercial use:
 25 megahertz at 2155-2180 MHz;
 an additional contiguous 15 megahertz to be identified by the Commission;
 15 megahertz between 1675-1710 MHz, to be identified by NTIA by
February 2013;
 10 megahertz at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz, if the Commission finds
no harmful interference to the neighboring Personal Communications Service
(PCS) band.19
The Spectrum Act states that the Commission shall grant new initial licenses for all of these bands by
February 2015.20 In June 2013 the FCC adopted service rules for the last of these four bands listed above
(1915-1920 and 1995-2000 MHz, or the H Block) in a separate FCC proceeding.21 The Commission
completed the H Block auction on February 27, 2014.22
6.
The Spectrum Act also amended the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA).23
In 2004, the CSEA created the Spectrum Relocation Fund (SRF) to streamline the process by which
Federal incumbents can recover the costs associated with relocating their spectrum-dependent systems
from spectrum bands authorized to be licensed under the Commission’s competitive bidding authority.24

16 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Expanding America’s Leadership in
Wireless Innovation (rel. Jun. 14, 2013), published at 78 Fed. Reg. 37431 (June 20, 2013) (“2013 Presidential
Memorandum”).
17 Spectrum Act §§ 6001-6703.
18 See generally id.
19 Id. § 6401.
20 Id. § 6401(b).
21 See H Block R&O. See also Service Rules for the Advanced Wireless Services H Block – Implementing Section
6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000
MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 12-357, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 16258 (2012) (H Block NPRM).
The auction of the H-block licenses started on January 22, 2014. See Auction for H Block Licenses in the 1915-
1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands Rescheduled for January 22, 2014 Notice of Changes to Auction 96
Schedule Following Resumption of Normal Commission Operations, AU Docket No. 13-178, Public Notice,
(WTB/AU rel. Oct. 21, 2013).
22 See Auction of H Block Licenses in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Band Closes; Winning Bidder
Announced for Auction 96, AU Docket No. 13-178, Public Notice, DA 14-279 (WTB/AU rel. Feb. 28, 2014).
23 Pub. L. No. 108-494, 118 Stat. 3986, 3991 (2004), codified at 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j), 923(g), 928.
24 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j), 928.
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The Spectrum Act extended the CSEA cost reimbursement mechanism for Federal incumbents to include
sharing as well as relocation costs, and to facilitate Federal incumbents sharing of spectrum with
commercial users by expanding the types of expenditures that can be funded or reimbursed from the
SRF.25 These changes are intended to permit agencies to receive funds associated with planning for
Commission auctions and relocations, spectrum sharing, the use of alternative technologies, the
replacement of existing government-owned equipment with state-of-the-art systems, and the research,
engineering studies, and economic analyses conducted in connection with spectrum sharing arrangements,
including coordination with auction winners.26 The Spectrum Act also created a new category of
allowable pre-auction costs that may, in certain circumstances, be funded before the start of a
Commission auction of licenses for applicable eligible frequencies.27
7.
The conclusion of any auction of eligible frequencies reallocated from Federal use to
non-Federal use or to shared use is contingent on obtaining from such auction cash proceeds amounting to
at least 110 percent of the total estimated relocation or sharing costs provided to the Commission by
NTIA.28 Once the relocation and sharing costs of the Federal incumbents are covered, however, the
remainder of the proceeds attributable to eligible Federal frequencies required to be auction under the
Spectrum Act must be deposited in the Public Safety Trust Fund (PSTF) rather than the SRF. 29

D.

CSEA Transition Planning Process

8.
The CSEA also requires the Commission to notify NTIA at least 18 months before the
start of an auction of eligible frequencies and for NTIA to notify the Commission of estimated relocation
and sharing costs associated therewith, and timelines for such relocation or sharing, at least 6 months
before the start of the auction.30 On March 20, 2013, the Commission notified NTIA that it “plans to
commence the auction of licenses in the 1695-1710 MHz band and the 1755-1780 MHz band as early as
September 2014”31 in order to satisfy the Spectrum Act licensing deadline of February 2015. NTIA
subsequently notified the affected agencies of their requirement to prepare transition plans.
9.
As noted above, the Spectrum Act amended the CSEA to expand the types of costs for
which Federal agencies can be reimbursed from the Spectrum Relocation Fund. It also required the
Department of Commerce to adopt a common format for Transition Plans, create an expert Technical
Panel to review the sufficiency of these transition plans, and adopt a process to resolve disputes regarding
the execution, timing, or cost of transition plans.32 The Technical Panel consists of three members, one
appointed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), one appointed by the
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and one appointed by the
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.33 Each member must be a radio engineer or a

25 Id. § 923(g)(3).
26 Id.
27 47 U.S.C. §§ 923(g)(3) and 928(d)(3).
28 Proceeds attributable to the 2155-2180 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, and 1995-2000 MHz non-Federal bands must also
be deposited in the PSTF. The Spectrum Act establishes the priority for making payments or deposits from the
PSTF as amounts are deposited into the Fund. Spectrum Act § 6413(b), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 1457(b).
29 Id. § 6401(c)(3), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(8)(D)(ii).
30 47 U.S.C. § 923(g)(4).
31 Letter from Julius Genachowski, Chairman, FCC, to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for
Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce at 1 (Mar. 20, 2013) (FCC March 2013 Letter to
NTIA
) (available at http://go.usa.gov/2VR5) (last visited March 31, 2014).
32 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(1)-(3).
33 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(3)(B); see 47 C.F.R. § 301.100.
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technical expert.34 The Technical Panel reviews each Federal entity’s transition plan and reports on its
sufficiency.35
10.
The Spectrum Act amendments to the CSEA require Federal agencies authorized to use
eligible frequencies to submit a Transition Plan to NTIA and the Technical Panel no later than 240 days
(i.e., 8 months) before the auction start date.36 The amendments further require the Technical Panel to
submit to NTIA and the applying Federal agency a report on the sufficiency of the Transition Plan no
later than 30 days after the submission of the plan (i.e., 7 months, or 210 days, before the auction start
date).37 NTIA must make the Transition Plans available on its website with the exception of classified
and other sensitive information, no later than 120 days (i.e., 4 months) before the auction start date.38

E.

CSMAC Working Groups

11.
As discussed in the AWS-3 NPRM, NTIA established five joint government/industry
working groups within its CSMAC to facilitate the implementation of services that support commercial
use in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1850 MHz bands.39 Working Group 1 (WG1) was charged with
addressing sharing issues related to the 1675-1710 MHz band,40 while Working Groups 2-5 were charged
with addressing sharing issues related to Federal operations in the 1755-1850 MHz band.41 WG1’s final

34 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(3)(B); see 47 C.F.R. § 301.100.
35 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(4); see 47 C.F.R. § 301.120.
36 47 U.S.C. § 923 (h)(1).
37 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(4); see 47 C.F.R. § 301.120(a).
38 47 U.S.C. § 923(h)(5). See also Common Format for Federal Entity Transition Plans, Notice of Inquiry in Docket
No. 130809701–3701–01, 78 Fed. Reg. 50396 (Aug. 19, 2013), available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-
2013-08-19/pdf/2013-20149.pdf.
39 See U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Framework
for Work within CSMAC
(NTIA Framework) (available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/meetings/framework_for_work_within_csmac_20120525.pdf ) (last visited May
14, 2013). NTIA chartered the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) in 2004 to advise
it on a range of spectrum policy issues. See http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/csmac. In January 2011, NTIA
amended CSMAC’s Charter to permit CSMAC to focus on how best to execute the 2010 Presidential Memorandum
and NTIA’s Fast Track Plan. See U.S. Department of Commerce, Charter of the Commerce Spectrum Management
Advisory Committee
(CSMAC Charter) (available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/csmac_charter_04012011.pdf ) (last visited March 31, 2014). NTIA
amended CSMAC’s Charter again in 2013. See
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/csmac_2013_charter.pdf.
40 NTIA charged WG1 with recommending proposals that would allow commercial use of the band while lowering
any transfer costs and protecting incumbent Federal missions. In July 2012, WG1 began to meet extensively in
order to:
(1) provide refined Long-Term Evolution (LTE) system parameters that more accurately reflect
real world deployment scenarios; (2) review operating parameters of Federal systems affected by
commercial operations in the 1695-1710 MHz band; (3) modify the existing simulation model
used by NTIA to reach the conclusions about use/sharing of the 1695-1710 MHz band; and
(4) Identify areas for further consideration of possible alternatives that may maximize availability
of the spectrum in major market areas.
The full CSMAC approved WG1’s Final Report at its February 23, 2013, meeting. WG1 Final Report at 1.
Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee Final Report Working Group 1 — 1695-1710 MHz
Meteorological-Satellite, Final Report at 1 (WG1 Final Report) (available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-
publication/2013/csmac-wg-1-final-report-v2) (last visited March 31, 2014).
41 See U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Third Interim
Progress Report on the Ten-Year Plan and Timetable at 5-8 (Nov. 2012) (NTIA Fast Track 3rd Interim Report)
(continued….)
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report, adopted by CSMAC on February 21, 2013,42 recommended that the Commission adopt a
framework for reallocating the 1695-1710 MHz band for commercial use with “Protection Zones”43
Under this framework, commercial operations could be freely deployed outside of these “Protection
Zones.”44 Operations inside these “Protection Zones,” however, would require prior successful Federal
coordination.45 With respect to the 1755-1850 MHz band,46 only WG2’s final report was completed
before the AWS-3 NPRM was released. The Commission noted that the record of the instant proceeding
would be informed by NTIA’s subsequent recommendations regarding CSMAC’s then ongoing study of
the potential for Federal/non-Federal spectrum sharing.47 If NTIA endorsed these reports, the
Commission would add them to the record for commenters to discuss in comments, reply comments, or
ex parte presentations, as appropriate, depending on the timing.48

F.

DoD Proposal

12.
The AWS-3 NPRM also sought comment on two specific proposals for facilitating
wireless industry access to the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the 1755-1850 MHz band, including the
Department of Defense Alternative Proposal (DoD Proposal).49 Under the DoD Proposal, the
Commission would be able to auction licenses in the 1755-1780 MHz band in the near term, while
protecting DoD’s critical capabilities and preserving the flexibility necessary to address the long-term
status of the remaining (1780-1850 MHz) portion of this band.50 DoD proposed to relocate most of its
operations out of the 1755-1780 MHz band by shifting and compressing some operations now at 1755-
(Continued from previous page)
(available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/third_interim_progress_report_final.pdf ) (last visited
March 31, 2014).
42 Minutes of the CSMAC Meeting on Feb. 21, 2013 at 42 (CSMAC Feb. 2013 Minutes) (available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/0221ntia.pdf) (last visited March 31, 2014). CSMAC adopted
version 2 of the WG1 Final Report, which, relative to the earlier version, had a “slight difference in Appendix 1 for
the distances” that define the Protection Zones. Id.
43 See WG1 Final Report at 2, 5.
44 Id. at 2.
45 Id.
46 NTIA Framework at 3-4. See also NTIA Fast Track 3rd Interim Report at 5-8. See generally U.S. Department of
Commerce, An Assessment of the Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband in the 1755-1850 MHz Band at
1-5 (Mar. 2012) (NTIA 1755-1850 MHz Assessment Report”) (available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/report/2012/assessment-viability-accommodating-wireless-broadband-1755-1850-mhz-
band) (last visited March 31, 2014). See generally U.S. Department of Commerce, An Assessment of the Near-
Term Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband Systems in the 1675-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 3500-
3650 MHz, 4200-4220 MHz, and 4380-4400 MHz Bands at 2-3-2-4 (Oct. 2010) (NTIA Fast Track Report) available
at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/fasttrackevaluation_11152010.pdf ) (last visited March 31, 2014).
47 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11491 ¶ 19.
48 Id. See also Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology Exempt Certain Ex
Parte
Presentations in GN Docket No. 13-185, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 12268 (2013).
49 Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, to Julius P. Knapp,
Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, at 1 (July 22, 2013) (GN Docket No. 09-51, ET Docket 10-123)
(NTIA July 2013 Letter). See also id., Enclosure 1 (Letter from Teresa M. Takai, Chief Information Officer, DoD,
to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of
Commerce (July 17 2013). The other proposal was the “Industry Roadmap.” See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at
11514 ¶ 78.
50 NTIA July 2013 Letter at 1. See also id., Enclosure 1 (Letter from Teresa M. Takai, Chief Information Officer,
DoD, to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of
Commerce (July 17 2013).
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1850 MHz into the 1780-1850 MHz band and by relocating other operations on a shared basis to the
2025-2110 MHz band.51 DoD estimated the cost of implementing its proposal at $3.5 billion.52

G.

NTIA Endorsement of CSMAC Reports and DoD Proposal

13.
In a letter filed with the Commission on November 25, 2013, NTIA endorsed the
remaining CSMAC reports and transmitted final versions of all five reports to the Commission, which we
added to the record of this proceeding.53 NTIA also fully endorsed the DoD Proposal to relocate most of
its operations out of the 1755-1780 MHz band and to gain additional access to the 2025-2110 MHz band
by adding primary fixed and mobile allocations to the Federal Table of Frequency Allocations limited to
certain military operations with protection and priority for non-Federal fixed and mobile operators in the
Television Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS), the Cable Television Relay Service (CARS), or the Local
Television Transmission Service (LTTS).54 NTIA clarified that coordination between military and these
non-Federal operations should occur via a memorandum of understanding between the Federal and non-
Federal fixed and mobile operators.55 Under this framework DoD operations would share the 2025-2110
MHz band with BAS, CARS, and LTTS, thus enabling DoD to relocate some military operations from the
1755-1780 MHz band to the 2025-2110 MHz band for those operations that could not compress into the
1780-1850 MHz band or could not relocate to other bands allocated for Federal use.56

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Bands for AWS-3

14.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed AWS-3 service rules for the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. We discuss each band below.57
1.
1695-1710 MHz
15.
As discussed in the AWS-3 NPRM, in accordance with the Spectrum Act’s mandate to
identify new commercial spectrum for auction, NTIA identified 1695-1710 MHz for commercial
services.58 The 1695-1710 MHz band is immediately below the AWS-1 uplink band at 1710-1755 MHz.
The 1675-1700 MHz band segment is allocated to the meteorological aids service and restricted to
radiosonde operation. This portion of the band is also allocated to the MetSat service and is restricted to
space-to-Earth operation on a primary basis for Federal and non-Federal use.59 The 1700-1710 MHz

51 NTIA July 2013 Letter, Enclosure 1.
52 Id. Under the DoD Proposal, DoD would not seek access to the 5150-5250 MHz band for telemetry. Id.
53 Letter from Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, NTIA Office of Spectrum Management to
Julius Knapp, Federal Communications Commission at 1 (dated Nov. 25, 2013) (NTIA November 2013 Letter).
54 Id. at 2, n.7.
55 Id.
56 See infra ¶¶ 210-211.
57 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11481 ¶ 1.
58 See U.S. Department of Commerce, Identification of 15 Megahertz of Spectrum between 1675 and 1710 MHz for
Reallocation from Federal Use to Non-Federal Use Pursuant to Section 6401(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and
Job Creation Act of 2012 (Feb. 2013) (NTIA 1695-1710 Identification Report) (available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/1675-1710_mhz_report_to_president_02192013.pdf) (last visited
March 31, 2014.
59 The 1660-1670 MHz band is allocated to the radio astronomy service on a primary basis. 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
Footnote US211 states that, in the 1670-1690 MHz band, applicants for airborne or space station assignments are
urged to take all practicable steps to protect radio astronomy observations in the adjacent bands from harmful
interference. Id.
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segment is allocated to the fixed and MetSat service on a primary basis for Federal and on a secondary
basis for non-Federal use, and restricted to space-to-Earth operation.60
a.

Uplink Designation, Block Size and Service Area Size

16.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, to implement NTIA’s endorsement of the CSMAC
WG1 Final Report, the Commission proposed to limit use of the 1695-1710 MHz band to mobile/uplink
operations subject to successful coordination with Federal incumbents prior to operation within 27
Protection Zones.61 To implement this coordination requirement, the Commission proposed to require all
uplink operations in this band to transmit only when controlled by an associated base station.62 Such base
stations located within the 27 Protection Zones would be subject to successful coordination prior to
operation of the 1695-1710 MHz uplinks. Additionally, the Commission proposed to license the band in
5 megahertz blocks, noting that a minimum bandwidth of 5 megahertz was necessary to implement the
technologies contemplated for the band, and proposed geographic area licensing utilizing 176 Economic
Areas (EAs) as the service area size.63
17.
Commenters generally agree that we should allow only uplink operations in 1695-1710
MHz. 64 Raytheon points out that the record is supportive of the Commission’s proposal to limit
operations in the band to uplink only while prohibiting fixed operations in these frequencies.65 T-Mobile
does not oppose a requirement that uplink/mobile devices be under the control of, or associated with, a
base station as a means to facilitate shared use of the band and prevent interference to Federal
operations.66
18.
Regarding block and area sizes, most commenters agree with the Commission’s proposal
to license AWS-3 spectrum in 5 megahertz blocks and to implement geographical area licensing utilizing
EAs for the 1695-1710 MHz band.67 Verizon supports auctioning the AWS-3 spectrum in a combination
of 5 and 10 megahertz blocks as these offerings will facilitate the deployment of multiple technologies.68
DISH favors auctioning 1695-1710 MHz as a single, unpaired 15 megahertz band.69
19.
Discussion. We conclude that operations in the 1695-1710 MHz should be limited to
mobile/uplink operations for commercial operators, and that the band will not be available for fixed uses
or air-to-ground operations. We note that the Commission’s proposal in this regard was based on NTIA’s
endorsement of the CSMAC report, which assumed mobile operations up to 20 dBm EIRP,

60 The use of the Federal fixed service allocation in this band is restricted by n.G118, which states that Federal fixed
stations may be authorized in the 1700-1710 MHz band only if spectrum is not available in the 1755-1850 MHz
band. 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, n.G118.
61 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11493 ¶ 25; 11500-01 ¶ 46.
62 Id., at 11501 ¶ 48.
63 Id., at 11501 ¶ 47; 11502 ¶ 52.
64 TIA Comments at 11; AT&T Comments at 12; DISH Ex Parte dated March 7, 2014, Attach. at 2. One
commenter proposed ground-to-air use of 1695-1710 MHz, see GoGo, Inc. Comments at 1, but it later determined
that such use would not be practical at the mobile power level proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM.
65 Raytheon Reply Comments at 4. See also T-Mobile Comments at 26 ("T-Mobile agrees that the 1695-1710 MHz
and 2020-2025 MHz bands are properly characterized as uplink bands given current Information"); Verizon
Comments at 24 ("[T]he Commission should prohibit fixed stations in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz
uplink bands"); TIA Comments at 12; Nokia Comments at 20.
66 T-Mobile Comments at 29. T-Mobile proposes an exception that we address in section III.B.6 below.
67 Mobile Future Comments at 15; AT&T Comments at 12; T-Mobile Comments at 28; USSC Comments at 21-23.
68 Verizon Comments at 15.
69 DISH Ex Parte dated March 7, 2014, Attach. at 2.
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recommending that commercial use of this band be limited to low-power mobile (uplink) transmission.
Furthermore, as Verizon notes, in determining the Protection Zones for these bands, the CSMAC did not
consider the impact of high gain or tall antennas on government operations.70 Additionally, operations in
the band will be subject to successful coordination with Federal incumbents in the 27 Protection Zones
that we are adopting based on NTIA’s endorsement of the CSMAC WG1 Final Report.71 We believe that
the combination of low power, mobile uses along with the designation of the protection zones with
coordination requirements will allow commercial and Federal users to co-exist successfully in the band
protecting in-band and adjacent band meteorological-satellite receive stations. We also understand that
Federal incumbents plan to develop and deploy real-time spectrum monitoring systems for the 1695-1710
MHz band.72 We will also require that uplink/mobile devices be under the control of, or associated with,
a base station as a means to facilitate shared use of the band and prevent interference to Federal
operations.73 We discuss this requirement further in section III.B.6 below (Base station control of mobile
or portable devices in 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands).
20.
We will authorize and license the 1695-1710 MHz band by Economic Areas (EAs)74 in
one 5 megahertz and one 10 megahertz block, which may be aggregated. Specifically, we will offer a 5
megahertz block at 1695-1700 MHz and a 10 megahertz block at 1700-1710 MHz. Offering the spectrum
in 5 and 10 megahertz blocks will support the wide range of technologies contemplated for the band, and
will match the configuration of other AWS-3 spectrum. The small 5 megahertz block will also facilitate
the opportunity for new entrants and smaller businesses to acquire the right to use this spectrum. Because
the blocks can be aggregated, potential bidders and future licensees also have the option to acquire the
rights to use both blocks within an EA, i.e., a 15 megahertz band as DISH suggests.
b.

Pairing

21.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission noted that the new AWS-3 band
segments could be configured in any number of pairings or even auctioned on an unpaired basis and
sought comment on a range of options.75 Commenters were asked to address whether and how the AWS-
3 band segments should be paired, and were also asked to discuss the competitive effects of the available
options. The Commission specifically noted CTIA’s earlier proposal to designate 2095-2110 MHz for
AWS downlink operations paired with 1695-1710 MHz76 and sought comment on CTIA’s

70 Verizon Comments at 7.
71 See infra, App. A, 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, footnote US88.
72 CSMAC WG1 recognized that as a part of the sharing framework there is a need for a clear and consistent
coordination process and that a key component of the coordination process is the implementation of a real-time
spectrum monitoring capability. See WG 1 Final Report at Appendix 1-2.
73 The Protection Zones for the 1695-1710 MHz band are premised on the distance between the incumbent Federal
operations and non-Federal base station(s) that will enable the AWS-3 uplink/mobile operations. Thus, even though
the base station is receiving rather than transmitting in the 1695-1710 MHz band, its location inside a Protection
Zone triggers the coordination requirement. As discussed in the CSMAC WG1 Final Report the 27 Protection
Zones actually protect 47 individual federal MetSat receive stations. See WG 1 Final Report at Appendix 1.1 Table
1 for a complete list of MetSat receive stations that are protected.
74 Economic Areas are geographic areas established by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of
Commerce and used by the Federal Communications Commission to define the coverage of spectrum licenses for
certain services. There are 172 EAs, plus 4 EA-like areas, which have been assigned Commission-created EA
numbers: 173 (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands), 174 (Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands),
175 (American Samoa), and 176 (the Gulf of Mexico). See 47 C.F.R. § 27.6(a).
75 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11501 ¶ 48.
76 See id., at 11491-2 ¶ 20 citing Letter from Steve Largent, President, CTIA, to Julius Genachowski, Chairman,
FCC, GN Docket No. 09-51, (dated Mar. 13, 2013) (CTIA Letter) (attaching “Finding the FCC’s 15 MHz
(continued….)
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recommendation.77 In this regard, the Commission also noted prior opposition to CTIA’s proposal
including a feasibility study that NASA had prepared (NASA Study)78 and NTIA’s statement that the
NASA Study showed that high-density terrestrial base stations or user equipment operating co-frequency
in the 2025-2110 MHz band would exceed established protection criteria for the Tracking and Data Relay
Satellite System (TDRSS) spaceborne receivers by an average of 16.4 dB to 40.7 dB and that analysis of
sharing with satellite systems of other administrations will likely show similar results.79
22.
Commenters strongly favor pairing the 1695-1710 MHz band.80 Moreover, commenters
note that pairing the spectrum would allow aggregation of AWS-3 spectrum with AWS-1 spectrum,
which would create significantly larger blocks of contiguous paired spectrum that would accommodate
higher bandwidths offered by technologies.81 USCC points out that access to paired spectrum is
particularly critical for small and regional carriers, who typically lack sufficient spectrum holdings to pair
with newly-acquired spectrum blocks on an asymmetric basis.82 Thus, commenters state that offering
1695-1710 MHz on a paired basis would boost auction participation, provide for the creation of a single
band class, internationally harmonize the spectrum, and result in significant economies of scale.83 Put
differently, Verizon and other commenters state that auctioning the 1695-1710 MHz band as stand-alone
uplink spectrum would render it “virtually useless, as it is the downlink spectrum that carriers, both new
and incumbent, most require to meet the skyrocketing demand for mobile broadband bandwidth.”84 They
note that auctioning 1695-1710 MHz as stand-alone supplemental uplink would significantly decrease the
value of the spectrum, relative to auctioning it paired with downlink spectrum, and would limit both its
uses and interested bidders.85 T-Mobile opines that seeking a brief delay of the statutory deadline would
(Continued from previous page)
Implementation of Section 6401(b)(2)(E) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 –
Identification of 15 Megahertz of Contiguous Spectrum for Mobile Broadband”) (CTIA White Paper).
77 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11498-99 ¶ 39.
78 Id at 11492 ¶ 21 citing Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management,
NTIA, to Julius P. Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, at 1-2 (July 22, 2013) (GN Docket
No. 09-51, ET Docket 10-123) (“NTIA July 2013 Letter”). See also id., Enclosure 2 (United States of America,
Feasibility Assessment for Accommodation of Mobile Broadband Long Term Evolution (LTE) Systems in the 2 025-
2 110 MHz Band
, Document 4-5-6-7/170-E (dated 16 July 2013)).
79 NTIA July 2013 Letter at 2.
80 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 13-14; CEA Reply Comments at 2.
81 CEA Reply Comments at 5, n.15.
82 USCC Comments at 8; USCC Reply Comments at 6-7; Verizon Comments at 4; 4G Americas Comments at 3-4;
TIA Comments at 10; T-Mobile Comments at 26-27; AT&T Comments at 4-5.
83 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 4-5; TIA Comments at 10; Verizon Comments at 7-8; T-Mobile Comments at 13;
T-Mobile Reply Comments at 13, n.46.
84 Verizon Comments at 4-5; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 13, n.45.
85 T-Mobile Comments at 12 (“[T]he band’s usefulness for commercial operations will be significantly undermined
if it is not paired.”); TIA Comments at 12 (noting that the option of auctioning 1695-1710 MHz as a stand-alone
uplink band “would make very inefficient use of this block of spectrum,” because the “current demand and expected
future demand is for additional downlink spectrum . . .”); AT&T Comments at 4-5 (noting that a bidder would be
unlikely to bid on separate shards of unpaired spectrum that each might require its own standard as part of a carrier
aggregation combination); T-Mobile Reply Comments at 13, n.44. In addition, Verizon points out that because
WG-1’s evaluation of sharing between certain incumbent operations in 1695-1710 MHz and mobile operations was
predicated on use of that band as uplink, the feasibility of using the spectrum for time-division duplex (TDD)
operations was not studied. Thus, Verizon believes that because the 1695-1710 MHz band is directly adjacent to the
AWS-1 uplink, TDD operations in this band would cause mobile-to-mobile interference from AWS-1 into 1695-
1710 MHz and base station-to-base station interference between both bands. As a result, Verizon posits that to
support TDD operations, the Commission would need to create an internal guard band in the 1695-1710 MHz band
(continued….)
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be preferable to auctioning and licensing the band unpaired.86 In contrast, Raytheon notes that there is no
requirement in the Spectrum Act to pair this band.87
23.
Many commenters strongly preferred pairing 1695-1710 MHz with 2095-2110 MHz,
which CTIA previously advocated due to the pair’s important ability to use the same duplex spacing as
the existing and adjacent AWS-1 band.88 Verizon likewise notes that because 2095-2110 MHz is directly
adjacent to AWS-1, adopting this pairing configuration will provide a solid foundation for the next
generation of wireless networks and services, including those that will utilize LTE-Advanced technology
and “could ultimately lead to a unified band plan for the 2 GHz spectrum: 1695-1920 MHz for uplink
operations and 1930-2200 MHz for downlink operations.”89 For this reason, T-Mobile and other
commenters initially urged limited relocation of DoD’s systems to 2095-2110 MHz.90
24.
In contrast, Raytheon and Boeing state that 2095-2110 MHz is not an acceptable pairing
option for 1695-1710 MHz because the former band supports critical TDRSS communication, which may
become critical for manned spaceflight programs,91 and is currently occupied by Federal users for satellite
and non-Federal BAS operations.92 Raytheon notes that the NASA Study is a comprehensive analysis
showing that shared use of 2095-2110 MHz with AWS operations is infeasible.93 In addition, Raytheon
notes that DoD has proposed to relocate some operations in the 1755-1780 MHz band to the 2025-2110
MHz band.94 Verizon and others contend that the NASA Study is incomplete and that more information
is needed from NASA to properly evaluate any technical challenges with additional uses of that band.95
(Continued from previous page)
to prevent or limit the potential interference described above, thereby rendering part of this band unusable for
mobile operations. Verizon Comments at 7. See also TIA Comments at 12.
86 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 4. 13.
87 Raytheon Reply Comments at 7.
88 CTIA Comments at 13; T-Mobile Comments at 12; TIA Comments at 11; CCA Comments at 6; NSN Comments
at 5.
89 Verizon Comments at 7-8; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 13 & 14, n.49.
90 See, e.g., T-Mobile Comments at 15-16, Reply Comments at 14. See also AT&T Comments at 8 (“[R]elocation
of government systems to 2095-2110 MHz should not be considered at all.”); Ericsson Comments at 19-20 (noting
that DoD’s “proposed relocation to 2025-2110 MHz would likely impact the pairing of 1695-1710 MHz with 2095-
2110 MHz,” and therefore encouraging the Commission to investigate the potential to accommodate Federal
operations in the 2025-2095 MHz band so that 2095-2110 MHz can be left available for commercial services);
Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum Comments at (raising concerns regarding
additional sharing of the 2095-2110 MHz band between existing BAS operations and potentially relocated DoD
systems).
91 Raytheon Reply Comments at ii, 2, 7-9; Boeing Comments at 2-5; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 14, n.50.
92 See, e.g., NAB Comments at 3; Raytheon Comments at 39.
93 Raytheon Comments at 39.
94 See Raytheon Reply Comments at 8.
95 Verizon states that while the study raises concerns that co-channel mobile services could cause satellite-to-satellite
interference in the forward-link transmissions from NASA geostationary Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System
(TDRSS) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, it is impossible to assess the validity of modeling of propagation,
antenna performance, LTE system characteristics, and satellite system characteristics without additional information
from NASA. Verizon Comments at 8. NASA subsequently provided additional information and updated its study
to address the most current internationally-agreed parameters of commercial broadband mobile (LTE) systems. See
NTIA November 21013 Letter
Enclosure 6 “NASA’s reply to comments filed with the FCC in response to its AWS-3
NPRM regarding NASA’s feasibility assessment for accommodation of mobile broadband long term evolution
(LTE) systems in the 2025-2110 MHz band.” Boeing states that the Updated NASA Study addresses the concerns
raised about the initial NASA Study with respect to assuming unrealistically high numbers of transmitting handsets,
(continued….)
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25.
Notwithstanding the fact that the 2095-2110 MHz band initially received the most
support as the pairing match for the 1695-1710 MHz band, the wireless industry subsequently recognized
difficulties with pairing the 2095-2110 MHz band with the 1695-1710 MHz band. Specifically, the
industry acknowledged that the challenges associated with Federal and BAS incumbents in the band
would lead to extreme difficulties with allocating, auctioning and licensing 2095-2110 MHz in time to
meet the February 2015 deadline for licensing the 1695-1710 MHz band.96 Additionally, CTIA, the
original proponent of this pairing now asserts that the Commission’s highest priority is the clearing of the
DoD services at 1755-1780 MHz, and points out that the DoD is actively working with the FCC,
broadcasters and other Federal agencies to relocate from the 1755-1780 MHz band into a portion of the
Broadcast Auxiliary Services at 2025-2110 MHz.97
26.
Commenters provided other suggestions on possible candidate bands for pairing with
1695-1710 MHz, but also identified serious or insurmountable obstacles with each suggested match. For
example, citing a recent NTIA spectrum-monitoring report that, according to T-Mobile, suggests that the
1370-1390 MHz sub-band is lightly used, T-Mobile identified the 1370-1390 MHz band as a possible
candidate for pairing with 1695-1710 MHz. But T-Mobile acknowledges technical limitations that weigh
against this pairing, in that the 1370-1390 MHz band suffers from a lack of synergy with existing bands,
which in turn would require the use of additional base station amplifiers and antennas.98
27.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission noted SBE’s opposition to CTIA’s proposal to use
2095-2110 MHz and its ensuing suggestion to instead consider 2360-2390 MHz as an option for pairing
with 1695-1710 MHz. In response to this suggestion, AFTRCC responds that this is a principal band
used for flight test telemetry and that an LTE allocation at 2360-2390 MHz would create threats to the
continued effective operation of safety-of-life Aeronautical Mobile Telemetry (AMT) operations in the
band, and would also jeopardize the successful deployment of Medical Body Area Network (MBAN)
devices in hospitals and clinics throughout the country.99 Raytheon agrees that the 2360-2395 MHz band
is not suitable for pairing with 1695-1710 MHz, not only because of its designation for primary flight
testing, but also because it is designated for secondary medical telemetry uses. Moreover, Raytheon notes
that the flight test operations occurring in 2360-2395 MHz are incompatible with both the fixed and
mobile high density terrestrial operations that are contemplated for 1695-1710 MHz.100
28.
Finally, as another possible alternative, TIA suggests pairing 1695-1710 MHz with 2000-
2020 MHz for downlink.101 However, TIA acknowledges that this pairing option is challenging in that it
would require the adjustment of incumbents licensed for 2000-2020 MHz as well as the utilization of
(Continued from previous page)
and correspondingly high aggregate per city handset transmitter power levels. Specifically, Boeing explains that the
initial NASA Study relied on the number of handsets specified by CSMAC Working Group 1, prior to the release of
updated specifications by Working Party 5D of the International Telecommunications Union Radiocommunication
Sector. Boeing Reply Comments at 6. Because CTIA and other wireless commenters are no longer pursuing the
proposal to pair 2095-2110 MHz as the downlink band to be auctioned and licensed paired with 1695-1710 MHz,
we reach no conclusions today regarding the initial or updated NASA Studies.
96 Verizon Reply Comments at 2.
97 CTIA Reply Comments at 12.
98 While acknowledging that there would be technical issues with the use of 1370-1390 MHz, T-Mobile asserts that
the Commission should nonetheless further evaluate the potential use of this band while, at the same time, also
exploring if there are other more optimal pairing options. T-Mobile Reply Comments at 15-16 and n.53.
99 AFTRCC Comments at 5.
100 Raytheon Reply Comments at ii, 2, 9-10.
101 TIA Comments at 11.
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different duplex spacing and filters.102
29.
Discussion. The comments do not identify any particular 15 megahertz of spectrum that
can readily pair with 1695-1710 MHz. In the absence of any substantial record support for any such
workable pairing at this time, we conclude that the 1695-1710 MHz band should be licensed in an
unpaired configuration. We note that no regulation would prohibit licensees from pairing this uplink band
with another present or future licensed downlink band. Indeed, our secondary markets and flexible use
policies are designed to facilitate the configuration of licenses in their most productive economic use.
2.
1755-1780 MHz
a.

Requirement to Identify 15 Megahertz of Contiguous Spectrum for
Commercial Use

30.
Background. As noted above, the Spectrum Act requires the Commission to identify
15 megahertz of contiguous spectrum for commercial allocation and licensing by auction.103 In the AWS-
3 NPRM
, the Commission sought comment on appropriate candidates to identify an additional 15
megahertz of contiguous spectrum for commercial use.104 The Commission proposed, as an example, the
identification of the 25 megahertz of contiguous spectrum comprising the 1755-1780 MHz band.105 The
Commission also sought general comment on the allocation of other frequencies in order to meet or
surpass this requirement of the Spectrum Act, including CTIA’s recommendation of 2095-2110 MHz as
the additional 15 megahertz to be paired with 1695-1710 MHz.106 While several commenters supported
CTIA’s recommendation,107 as noted above the record developed on this issue reflects that neither the
band identified by CTIA nor any other spectrum is readily available to auction and license paired with
1695-1710 MHz by the statutory deadline of February 2015.108
31.
Several commenters claim that the Commission cannot identify 1755-1780 MHz to meet
the statutory requirement and/or that the statute requires us to identify a band that can be used for
downlink operations paired with 1695-1710 MHz. According to CTIA, the legislative history of the
Spectrum Act makes clear that Congress intended for the Commission to identify 15 megahertz in
addition to the 1755-1780 MHz band.109 CTIA notes that an earlier version of the House bill would have
required the Commission to identify 15 megahertz of contiguous spectrum as well as the 1755-1780 MHz
band if technically feasible.110 This version of the bill also stipulated that the 15 megahertz identified by

102 Id. at 12.
103 See 47 U.S.C. § 1451(b)(2)(E).
104 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11497-99 ¶¶ 36-40 174, n.395.
105 Id. at 11497, 11548 ¶¶ 36, 174, n.395 (noted that the 1755-1780 MHz band “could be identified to meet or
exceed the Spectrum Act requirement . . . .”).
106 See id at 11491-2, 11498-9 ¶¶ 20, 39.
107 See, e.g., Mobile Future Comments at 13; Ericsson Comments at 8; USCC Comments at 7; United States Cellular
Corporation Reply Comments at 13-18; CTIA-The Wireless Association Comments at 12; and Telecommunications
Industry Association Comments at 11.
108 See supra ¶¶ 21-29.
109 CTIA Comments at 21; AT&T Reply Comments at 11-12 (“[a]s CTIA notes, Congress’ intent was that the
Commission reallocate 15 megahertz from commercial allocations to go along with the 15 megahertz between 1675-
1710 MHz to be contributed by NTIA for reallocation.”). See also USCC Reply Comments at 15.
110 CTIA Comments at note 52 (citing H.R. 3630, 112th Cong. §§ 4101(a)(2)(A), (b)(2) (2011) (as passed by the
House, December 13, 2011).
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NTIA and the 15 megahertz identified by the FCC were to be paired together and, according to CTIA,111
“this is a logical interpretation of the Spectrum Act, as an alternative reading would cause the 1695-1710
MHz band to be orphaned.”112 T-Mobile agrees with CTIA that, based upon the Spectrum Act’s parallel
mandates that NTIA and the FCC each identify 15 megahertz of spectrum to be made available for
commercial use, “it seems ‘apparent that Congress intended for these two 15 megahertz spectrum bands
to complement one another through ready pairing for base and mobile station communications.’”113
Mobile Future contends that, with the exception of the 2095-2110 MHz band, other spectrum bands
considered in the AWS-3 NPRM should not be found to satisfy Spectrum Act’s directive that the
Commission identify another 15 megahertz of spectrum for commercial use.114
32.
Raytheon and NAB disagree with this statutory interpretation. According to Raytheon
Section 6401 of the Spectrum Act simply requires [that 15 MHz of contiguous
spectrum] be allocated by the Commission and auctioned in 2015. There is no
guidance as to where that spectrum is to be located or indication that it be paired
with 1695-1710 MHz band or any other band. (Nothing precludes such a pairing,
either.) Similarly, Section 6401 does not provide any direction that the 15 MHz
to be auctioned from the 1675-1710 MHz band is to be auctioned on a paired
basis. Were the Commission to allocate 1755-1780 MHz, for example, to AWS-
3, that action would fully satisfy the unambiguous letter of the statute that an
"additional 15 MHz" of spectrum be allocated for commercial broadband use,
regardless of which band, if any, 1755-1780 MHz is paired. CTIA's argument
that the legislative history supports a paired allocation for 1695-1710 MHz is
unavailing [cite omitted]. Indeed, the fact the final House bill included a
provision for 15 MHz in addition to 1755-1780 MHz, whereas the final
legislation was silent on allocating 1755-1780 MHz and where the additional 15
MHz is to come from actually leads to the opposite conclusion, namely that
1755-1780 MHz can be the source of the "additional 15 MHz" that Congress
requires be auctioned in addition to the specific spectrum bands identified in the
Spectrum Act for auction.115
NAB avers that if the Commission were to allocate 1755-1780 MHz, for example, to AWS-3, that
action would fully satisfy the unambiguous letter of the statute that an “additional 15 MHz” of

111 CTIA Reply Comments at 15 (citing H.R. 3630, 112th Cong. § 4101 (b)(2)(D) (2011) (as passed by the House,
December 13, 2011); AT&T Reply Comments at 11; USCC Reply Comments at 14-15.
112 CTIA Reply Comments at 15. USCC adds that “[p]airing the 1755-1780 MHz band with the 1695-1710 MHz
band, however, would be illogical. Not only do these bands have disparate bandwidths, but their immediate
adjacency to the AWS-1 uplink band weighs strongly in favor of designating both as uplink spectrum.” USCC
Reply Comments at 15.
113 T-Mobile Comments at 12 (quoting Finding the FCC’s 15 MHz: Implementation of Section 6401(b)(2)(E) of the
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 – Identification of 15 Megahertz of Contiguous Spectrum for
Mobile Broadband
(CTIA Proposal), attached to Letter from Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA The Wireless
Association, to Julius Genachowski, et al., Chairman, FCC, GN Docket No. 09-51 (filed March 13, 2013)).
114 Mobile Future Comments at 12; n.51. Specifically, Mobile Future states that (i) the 1755-1780 MHz band
already has been under evaluation for allocation to commercial use for several years, and should not now be
considered to satisfy the requirement adopted only last year to allocate and license an additional 15 megahertz of
spectrum; and (ii) the 1780-1850 MHz band is not a viable candidate for spectrum to be promptly reallocated and
licensed, as NTIA and industry are working toward using that band to accommodate federal operations relocated
from the 1755-1780 MHz band. Mobile Future Comments at n.51.
115 Raytheon Reply Comments at 7-8, n.18.
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spectrum be allocated for commercial broadband use.116
33.
Discussion. We agree for the reasons set forth above by Raytheon and NAB that the
language of the Spectrum Act permits the Commission to “identif[y]” any “[f]ifteen megahertz of
contiguous spectrum,” without regard to its current use or whether it is paired or unpaired. The legislative
history is not inconsistent with this plain language, as it shows that Congress did not adopt the House bill
reflecting the contrary view.117 Accordingly, we are today adopting rules to allocate and license the 1755-
1780 MHz band for commercial use, in satisfaction of the Spectrum Act’s requirement for us to identify
15 megahertz of contiguous spectrum in addition to the bands specifically identified in the Act.118 To the
extent this entire 25 megahertz band exceeds the requirement of the Spectrum Act to identify 15
megahertz, our action in coordination with NTIA to identify the entire band for commercial use is
warranted as integrally related and reasonably ancillary to our mandate under the Spectrum Act (given its
pairing with the 2155-2180 MHz band specified in that Act) as well as pursuant to our broad spectrum
management authority under Title III of the Communications Act, as amended.119
b.

Designation for AWS

34.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission, noting NTIA’s report on Federal
government use of the 1755-1780 MHz band (as part of the larger 1755-1850 MHz band)120 and the
band’s potential as an extension to existing AWS spectrum,121 proposed uplink mobile use of the band
under technical rules similar to AWS-1 uplinks in the adjacent 1710-1755 MHz band. Such use would be
subject to Federal requirements, including coordination with incumbent Federal users, emerging from the
CSMAC process, if transmitted by NTIA.122 The Commission sought comment on various methods of
sharing the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the 1755-1850 MHz band, including the use of Protection Zones,
Exclusion Zones, and other measures.123 In case the CSMAC and NTIA were unable to recommend
clearly defined sharing parameters, the Commission also sought comment on whether to issue “overlay”
licenses that would permit new licensees to gain access to the 1755-1780 MHz band only if they are able
to reach coordination agreements with affected Federal users, i.e., “operator-to-operator” coordination.124
The Commission also sought comment on two additional proposals that addressed commercial use of the
1755-1780 MHz band: the “Industry Roadmap” submitted by members of the wireless industry and the
“DoD Proposal” submitted by DoD.125 In the “Industry Roadmap” the wireless industry assessed Federal

116 Raytheon Reply Comments at 7-8, n.18; NAB Reply Comments at 2, NAB Comments at 3-4.
117 See note 110, supra. We note that where Congress intended to signal the pairing of bands (as some commenters
suggest is the case for 1695-1710 MHz and the 15 megahertz to be identified by the Commission), it used explicit
language. See, e.g., the provision cited in note 110, supra; S. 911, 112th Cong. 2d Sess., § 302(c) (authorizing the
Commission to combine 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz “in an auction of licenses for paired spectrum
blocks”). Tellingly, the bill as enacted did not include any requirement to auction “paired” spectrum.
118 47 U.S.C. § 1541(b)(2)(E).
119 The Spectrum Act grants the Commission authority to implement and enforce that Act “as if . . . a part of the
Communications Act of 1934.” 47 U.S.C. § 1403(a). See also id. §§ 154(i), 303.
120 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11495-6 ¶ 32 citing NTIA Fast Track Report at vi. NTIA 1755-1850 MHz
Assessment Report
at 4.
121 Id. at 11496 ¶ 33 citing, e.g., National Broadband Plan at 86-87.
122 Id. at 11496 ¶¶ 33-34.
123 Id. at 11513 ¶ 75. As discussed above in para. 11, most of CSMAC’s reports on the 1755-1850 MHz band were
completed after release of the AWS-3 NPRM.
124 Id. at 11513 ¶ 76.
125 Id. at 11514-11515 ¶¶ 78-79.
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operations in the band and proposed to provide industry early access to the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the
band.126 In the “DoD Proposal,” DoD also proposed to make the 1755-1780 MHz band available for
auction in the near term, while protecting critical military capabilities.127 Specifically, DoD proposed to
modify selected systems operating in the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the band to operate at both 1780-
1850 MHz and 2025-2110 MHz, including Small Unmanned Aerial Systems, Tactical Targeting Network
Technology, Tactical Radio Relay, and High Resolution Video Systems.128 DoD also proposed that its
Precision Guided Munitions systems would be modified to operate at 1435-1525 MHz; that its Point-to-
Point Microwave Links would be modified to operate at 7125-8500 MHz; and that its DoD Video
Surveillance/Robotics systems would be modified to operate at 4400-4940 MHz.129 DoD further
proposed that specific systems, namely Satellite Operations (SATOPS), Electronic Warfare (EW), Air
Combat Training System (ACTS) (where required), and Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) at six sites,
would continue to operate in the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the band, but would share that spectrum with
commercial users.130 Finally, DoD proposed to compress its remaining operations into the 1780-1850
MHz portion of the band.131
35.
Apart from the statutory issue described above concerning the “additional 15 megahertz
of spectrum to be identified by the Commission,” most commenters strongly favored the Commission’s
proposal to designate the 1755-1780 MHz band for commercial use.132 Commenters oppose the use of an
overlay license approach to licensing the 1755-1780 MHz band, arguing that the use of such a licensing
regime is premature until it is determined that clearing the spectrum for commercial users by relocation is
not feasible and that mutual sharing mechanisms cannot be adopted.133 Issuing overlay licenses, the
commenters further argued, would amount to consigning commercial mobile operations to secondary
status, would create uncertainty about the nature of rights the licensee would obtain, and would be
inconsistent with the Spectrum Act’s preference to relocate Federal users to the maximum extent
feasible.134 On the other hand, commenters were generally supportive of the Industry Roadmap and
DoD’s Proposal and urged the Commission to coordinate with NTIA to clear Federal operations from the
1755-1780 MHz portion of the 1755-1850 MHz band.135 CTIA argues, however, that DoD has not

126 Id., AWS-3 NPRM, citing Letter from Steve Sharkey, T-Mobile U.S., Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket Nos. 10-123, 07-195 (dated Jun. 24, 2013), at Attachment,
Industry Roadmap to Assessing the 1755-1850 MHz Band. This plan considers making the lower band (1755-1780
MHz) available first, but also addresses the rest of the band up to 1850 MHz in order to meet Federal agencies’
concerns. The plan takes into account the NTIA instructions given to the CSMAC Working Groups, which were
directed to consider a plan that lowers the repurposing costs and/or improves or facilitates industry access while
protecting Federal operations from adverse impact. See id., T-Mobile Letter, at 1.
127 Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, to Julius P.
Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, at 1 (July 22, 2013) (GN Docket No. 09-51, ET Docket
10-123) (NTIA July 2013 Letter).
128 Id. at Attachment.
129 Id.
130 Id.
131 Id.
132 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 6. See also CTIA Comments at 10-11; CTIA Reply Comments at 4-5; Mobile
Future Comments at 3; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 7; CCA Comments at 3; 4G Americas Comments at 3-5;
Nokia Solutions and Networks Comments at 3; Verizon Comments at 5; CEA Reply Comments at 2; DISH Reply
Comments at 2, 7-8; Motorola Mobility Comments at 4CCA Comments at 3; USCC Comments at 11.
133 AT&T Comments at 10.
134 AT&T Comments at 10. See Spectrum Act § 6401(a)(3) (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 923(j)).
135 See CTIA Comments at 17-18. See also Ericsson Comments at 19; AT&T Comments at 8; and T-Mobile
Comments at 14.
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adequately explained or justified the need for the use of the 2025-2110 MHz band and asks why DoD
needs to replace access to 25 megahertz of spectrum with access to 85 megahertz of spectrum.136
36.
On November 25, 2013, NTIA filed a letter enclosing and endorsing CSMAC’s final
reports and stating that it fully supports the DoD Proposal submitted to the Commission in July 2013,
including DoD’s proposal to modify certain military systems to operate at both 1780-1850 MHz, which is
currently allocated for Federal use, and at 2025-2110 MHz, which is currently allocated for non-Federal
fixed and mobile use and used by operators in the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS), the Cable
Television Relay Service (CARS), and the Local Television Transmission Service (LTTS).137
37.
Discussion. We note at the outset that some of CSMAC’s recommendations regarding
sharing are overtaken by the DoD Proposal, under which DoD will relocate most of its operations out of
the 1755-1780 MHz band. NTIA has fully endorsed the DoD Proposal and submitted additional details
into the record. In light of these actions, we authorize the use of the 1755-1780 MHz band for
commercial services in conformance with NTIA’s endorsements, the DoD Proposal, and the Spectrum
Act.
38.
Regarding non-DoD Federal incumbents, NTIA endorsed the findings of WG2 that the
two primary video surveillance systems operating in the 1755-1850 MHz band operate in all portions of
the band at any time and at any location and thus cannot share the band with commercial operators.138
NTIA also endorsed WG2’s recommendation that EAs to be transitioned should be ranked according to
industry implementation priorities, but then clarified that the industry’s prioritized list would serve as an
input for consideration as agencies develop their transition plans.139
39.
NTIA responded to CTIA’s claims that DoD has not explained the need for access to the
2025-2110 MHz band or why it needs to replace 25 megahertz of spectrum with access to 85 megahertz
of spectrum. NTIA explained that because the military systems that are relocating from the 1755-1780
MHz band to the 2025-2110 MHz band must share the latter band with operators in the BAS, CARS, and
LTTS services and must comply with the conditions in two new proposed footnotes to the Table of
Frequency Allocations, DoD needs the additional spectrum to ensure that it can maintain comparable
capability of current activities.140 Furthermore, according to NTIA, by having access to 85 megahertz of
spectrum, the Federal operations will have the flexibility they need without limiting the existing non-
Federal users.141 Under the two new footnotes that NTIA has proposed to the U.S. Table of Frequency
Allocations, Federal operations would be limited to the military, and new military operations would be
required to be coordinated, via a memorandum of understanding between the Federal and non-Federal
fixed and mobile operators in the BAS, CARS, and LTTS.142
3.
2155-2180 MHz
40.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed downlink/base station use
of the 2155-2180 MHz band.143 Because the 2155-2180 MHz band is immediately above the AWS-1

136 CTIA Comments at 17-18.
137 Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, NTIA Office of Spectrum Management to Julius Knapp,
Federal Communications Commission at 1-2 (dated Nov. 25, 2013) (NTIA November 2013 Letter). There are also
existing Federal allocations in the band. See infra ¶ 210.
138 WG2 Final Report at 6.
139 NTIA Recommendations Letter at 2. WG2 Final Report at 12.
140 NTIA November 2013 Letter at 3 and n.10.
141 Id.
142 Id. at 2 and n.7 (dated Nov. 25, 2013) (NTIA November 2013 Letter).
143 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11495 ¶ 30.
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downlink band (2110-2155 MHz) and immediately below the AWS-4 downlink band (2180-2200 MHz),
the Commission proposed to license the 2155-2180 MHz band under rules similar to those it adopted for
AWS-1 and AWS-4.144 Commenters agreed with the Commission’s proposal.145
41.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal in the AWS-3 NPRM to authorize downlink/base
station use of the 2155-2180 MHz band. Licensing the 2155-2180 MHz band under technical rules
similar to those for the adjacent AWS-1 and AWS-4 spectrum efficiently manages the spectrum, will
improve economies of scale for mobile device equipment manufacturing, and is consistent with global
standards activity in this frequency range.146 Moreover, downlink operations in the 2155-2180 MHz band
would be compatible with similar operations in the adjacent AWS-1 band (2110-2155 MHz) and AWS-4
band (2180-2200 MHz), thus avoiding the need for guard bands. It would also harmonize the rules
applicable to 2155-2180 MHz with AWS-1 and AWS-4 downlink spectrum, thus efficiently managing the
spectrum and improving economies of scale for mobile device equipment manufacturing. It would also
permit stations already designed for AWS-1 to be easily modified to operate at 2155-2180 MHz band,
thus allowing operators to quickly deploy this spectrum for consumer use.147
4.

Band-Plan for 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz

a.

Uplink/downlink designations and pairing

42.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to allow base and fixed,
but not mobile, operations in the 2155-2180 MHz band and to allow mobile transmit operations (but to
prohibit high-power fixed and base station operations) in the 1755-1780 MHz band.148 The Commission
sought comment on a range of options that included configuring any of the AWS-3 bands in any number
of pairings or auctioning any of the AWS-3 bands on an unpaired basis.149 Commenters favored allowing
base and fixed, but not mobile, operations in the 2155-2180 MHz band and to allow mobile transmit
operation (but to prohibit high-power fixed and base stations operations) in the 1755-1780 MHz band.150
Commenters overwhelmingly favored pairing the 1755-1780 MHz band with the 2155-2180 MHz
band.151 According to Verizon, 43 countries are using this spectrum for commercial purposes and 17 of
the G-20 countries have allocated this spectrum for commercial use.152 International harmonization will
enhance international roaming, create economies of scale that lowers device costs, speed deployment, and
reduce interference potential near international borders.153
43.
Discussion. We agree with commenters that we should allow base and fixed, but not

144 Id.
145 Mobile Future Comments at 9; 4G Americas Comments at 1-2; Ericsson Comments at 7; Nokia Solutions and
Networks Comments at 5; Verizon Wireless Comments at 4, Reply Comments at 2; and AT&T Comments at 3-5,
Reply Comments at 1.
146 See Mobile Future Comments at 9. See also 4G Americas Comments at 4.
147 See Ericsson Comments at 7. See also Mobile Future Comments 8-9.
148 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11500 ¶ 43.
149 Id. at 11501 ¶ 48.
150 See Ericsson Comments at 7; AT&T Comments at 12-13.
151 See CTIA Comments at 10-11; TIA Comments at 10; Mobile Future Comments at 3; T-Mobile Comments at 13-
14; Dish Networks Reply Comments at 2, 7-8; Nokia Solutions and Networks Comments at 3; Motorola Mobility
Comments at 4; Competitive Carriers Association Comments at 3; United States Cellular Corporation Comments at
7; Verizon Comments at 4; AT&T Comments at 3-5; TIA Comments at 10; Boeing Comments at 2; 4G Americas
Comments at 1.
152 See Verizon Comments at 5.
153 See Verizon Comments at 5-6; Mobile Future Comments at 8-9.
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mobile, operations in the 2155-2180 MHz band and to allow mobile transmit operations in the 1755-
1780 MHz band. We will also prohibit higher-power fixed and base station operations in the 1755-1780
MHz band. Designating the 1755-1780 MHz band for uplink/mobile transmit operations under service
rules similar to AWS-1 is consistent with international standards in this frequency range, while
designating the 2155-2180 MHz band for downlink operations is compatible with similar downlink
operations in the adjacent AWS-1 band at 2110-2155 MHz and the AWS-4 band at 2180-2200 MHz.154
Moreover, by designating new downlink spectrum adjacent to existing downlink, the industry avoids
having to add guard bands or impose significant technical limits between adjacent services, thereby
increasing the amount and utility of usable spectrum.155 As discussed more fully below, we conclude that
to facilitate coordination, uplink/mobile devices in the 1755-1780 MHz band must be under the control
of, or associated with, a base station as a means to facilitate shared use of the band and prevent
interference to Federal operations.156
44.
We also agree with commenters that there are many advantages to pairing these two
bands. Pairing the 1755-1780 MHz band with the 2155-2180 MHz band adds 50 megahertz of AWS-3
spectrum to the existing 90 megahertz of AWS-1 spectrum.157 Thus pairing would allow carriers to
combine AWS-1 and the 1755-1780/2155-2180 MHz band in a single 140 megahertz band.158 The 1755-
1780/2155-2180 MHz pair would use the same duplex spacing as the existing AWS-1 band, thus
facilitating the availability of new devices that can use this band.159 Allocation of the 1755-1780 MHz
band for commercial use with 2155-2180 MHz also harmonizes the U.S. spectrum allocation of this band
with international spectrum allocations.160 In summary, the record reflects that
[t]he adjacency of these bands . . . will create efficiencies by allowing the same
equipment to be used for AWS-1 and AWS-3.161 These benefits apply not only to
network infrastructure, but also to end user equipment. This, in turn, will lower
deployment costs and speed LTE buildout in this spectrum.162 As Motorola Mobility
explained, “[t]here would be significant device design benefits to pursuing this pairing.
Because the 1755-1780/2155-2180 MHz pairing is symmetrical to the AWS-1 band and

154 See Ericsson Comments at 7; 4G Americas Comments at 4.
155 See Ericsson Comments at 7.
156 See infra ¶¶ 100-102.
157 See AT&T Comments at 6.
158 See id.
159 See Motorola Mobility Comments at 4-5.
160 See Verizon Comments at 5. “By pairing the 1755-1780 MHz band with the 2155-2180 MHz band the FCC will
conform the new spectrum to a band plan that is compatible with existing AWS-1 spectrum. As a result, the AWS
band will be expanded by 50 MHz to a total of 140 MHz of the 1710-1780 MHz band for mobile uplink
transmissions and the 2110-2180 MHz band for base station downlink transmissions. This approach will make
substantial spectrum available for new entrants and allow existing licensees to leverage the investments already
being made in AWS-1, thereby creating greater economies of scale and lower-cost equipment as well as reducing
the risk of harmful interference. Ultimately, this pairing will lead to more rapid deployment of broadband networks
to the benefit of consumers and the economy.” Id. See also CTIA Reply Comments at 4-5.
161 CTIA Reply Comments at 5 citing, e.g., Mobile Future Comments at 8-9 (“Base stations already designed for the
AWS-1 band can be modified easily to use the 2155-2180 MHz band, allowing operators to quickly deploy this
spectrum for commercial use.”).
162 CTIA Reply Comments at 5 citing, e.g., Verizon Wireless Comments at 5 (“This [pairing] approach will make
substantial spectrum available for new entrants and allow existing licensees to leverage the investments already
being made in AWS-1, thereby creating greater economies of scale, and lower-cost equipment as well as reducing
the risk of harmful interference.”)
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has the same duplex spacing, this band could be supported by existing duplexers…
[t]hese efficiencies mean that 1755-1780/2155-2180 MHz capabilities likely could be
built into devices with minimal additional cost and without a significant impact on
battery life, heat production, or other performance characteristics.”163
45.
Despite these advantages, we note that the Commission is statutorily barred from
concluding an auction for “eligible spectrum” such as the 1755-1780 MHz band if the total cash proceeds
attributable to such spectrum are less than 110 percent of total estimated relocation or sharing costs.164
b.

Geographic Area Licensing; Service-area size(s)

46.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to license all AWS-3
spectrum blocks by EAs and sought comment on alternative approaches.165 The Commission also sought
comment on whether there are costs and benefits to adopting an EA licensing approach for bands to be
shared with Federal users.166
47.
Commenters supported one of three different geographic licensing plans: the EA
licensing approach proposed by the Commission;167 a licensing plan based on CMAs;168 and a hybrid
licensing approach where some licenses are based on CMAs and some are based on EAs.169
48.
Discussion. We find that there are benefits to adopting a hybrid licensing approach for
this spectrum. We note that the Commission adopted a hybrid approach in licensing AWS-1 spectrum
based on EAs, Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAGs), and CMAs.170 In this case, we adopt a
hybrid approach and license the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands on an EA and a CMA
basis.171
49.
Adopting a hybrid licensing plan for this spectrum will enable us to achieve several
statutory objectives and policy goals. Licensing some areas by CMA will encourage the dissemination of

163 CTIA Reply Comments at 5 quoting Motorola Mobility Comments at 11.
164 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j)(16)(B), 1451(b)(3) (FCC shall not conclude any auction of eligible frequencies if the
total cash proceeds attributable to such spectrum are less than 110 percent of total estimated relocation or sharing
cost). See infra ¶¶ 190-191.
165 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11502-11503 ¶ 52.
166 Id. at 11502-11503 ¶ 52.
167 AT&T Comments at 12; Mobile Future Comments at 15; Verizon Comments at 13-15.
168 Bluegrass Cellular, Inc. Comments at 2-5; Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 1-2; Rural Wireless
Association, Inc. Comments at 3; Carolina West Wireless October Ex Parte at 3; Competitive Carrier Association
October Ex Parte at 1-2; Atlantic Seawinds Communications, LLC Comments at 1; Public Service Wireless
Services, Inc. Comments at 1; Cellcom Comments at 1; USCC Comments at 26; NTCA-The Rural Broadband
Association Reply Comments at 1-4; NTCH, Inc. Reply Comments at 1-2.
169 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 25.
170 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.6(h). See also Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz
Bands, WT Docket No. 02-353, Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 25162, 25175-25177 ¶¶ 35-40 (2003) (AWS-1
Service Rules R&O
).
171 See supra note 74. Cellular Market Areas (CMAs) were created from the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)
defined by the Office of Management and Budget (1-305), the Gulf of Mexico (306), and Rural Service Areas
(RSAs) established by the FCC which do not cross state borders (307-734). These RSAs include parts of Puerto
Rico not already in an MSA (723-729), U.S. Virgin Islands (730-731), Guam (732), American Samoa (733), and
Northern Mariana Islands (734). See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 27.6(h)(1) citing Public Notice Report No. CL-92-40
“Common Carrier Public Mobile Services Information, Cellular MSA/RSA Markets and Counties,” dated January
24, 1992, DA 92-109, 7 FCC Rcd 742 (1992).
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licenses among a variety of applicants, including small businesses, rural telephone companies, and
businesses owned by members of minority groups and women, as required by Section 309(j) of the Act.172
Licensing the 1755-1780 and 2155-2180 MHz bands by EA and CMA we have struck the appropriate
balance between the needs of large and small carriers. Licensing some areas by EAs will enable large
carriers to minimize post-licensing aggregation costs.173 Also, because EAs are nested within MEAs and
REAGs, large carriers will be able to aggregate their spectrum into even larger areas, with minimal
aggregation costs.174 We also note that EA license areas are a useful and appropriate geographic unit that
the Commission has used for similar bands. Notably, AWS-1 Blocks B and C are licensed on an EA
basis.175 Licensing three spectrum blocks on an EA basis best balances the Commission's goals of
encouraging the offering of broadband service both to broad geographic areas and to sizeable populations
while licensing one block by CMAs will enable smaller carriers to serve smaller less dense population
areas that more closely fit their smaller footprints. Thus, we further find that adopting this hybrid
licensing plan will help us to meet other statutory goals, including providing for the efficient use of
spectrum;176 encouraging deployment of wireless broadband services to consumers;177 and promoting
investment in and rapid deployment of new technologies and services.178 We designate the spectral
blocks for CMAs and EAs in the next section on Block size(s).
c.

Block size(s)

50.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to license the 1755-1780
and 2155-2180 MHz bands on a geographical area basis in 5 megahertz blocks and sought comment on
whether it should adopt a plan using different size blocks.179 Commenters favored one of two approaches:
licensing the band by 5 megahertz blocks180 or licensing the band using a combination of 5 and 10
megahertz blocks.181 Commenters favoring the first approach argue that 5 megahertz blocks align well
with a variety of wireless broadband technologies (such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE), Wideband Code
Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA), and High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)), would increase wireless
providers’ flexibility in auction bidding, and can be aggregated to enable better performance for LTE
service and greater bandwidth capacity through wider channels.182 Commenters that supported a
combination of 5x5 megahertz and 10x10 megahertz blocks argue that a combination of license sizes
maximizes both utility and efficiency.183
51.
Discussion. We conclude that licensing the 1755-1780 and 2155-2180 MHz bands in a
combination of 5 and 10 megahertz blocks will promote rapid deployment of new technologies and
services for the reasons stated below. Thus we adopt the following licensing plan: Block G at 1755-
1760/2155-2160; Block H at 1760-1765/2160-2165; Block I at 1765-1770/2165-2170 MHz; and Block J

172 See NTCA Reply Comments at 1.
173 See Verizon Comments at 14; Cellcom Comments at 1.
174 See AT&T Reply Comments at 8.
175 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16122 ¶ 50.
176 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(3)(D).
177 See id. § 309(j)(3)(A).
178 See generally id. § 309(j)(4)(C)(iii).
179 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11501 ¶ 47.
180 Mobile Future Comments at 15; T-Mobile Comments at 28; USCC Comments at 21-23; AT&T Comments at 12.
181 Verizon Comments at 15.
182 Mobile Future Comments at 15.
183 Verizon Comments at 15.
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at 1770-1780/2170-2180 MHz. We further determine to license the 1755-1760/ 2155-2160 MHz bands
by CMA, and to license the remaining paired blocks by EA.
52.
Using a combination of 5 and 10 megahertz blocks and a combination of CMAs and EAs
will permit licensees maximum flexibility. Such a combination enables both larger and smaller carriers to
participate in an auction of licenses to use this spectrum. Moreover, as commenters note, 5 megahertz
blocks align well with a variety of wireless broadband technologies, including LTE, W-CDMA, and
HSPA. The larger 10 megahertz block will afford larger carriers the ability to offer higher-bandwidth
services, as is common in the 10 megahertz AWS-1 blocks. Such a combination may also facilitate
coordination with incumbent Federal agencies. For example, designating the 1755-1760 MHz/2155-2160
MHz as the first channel block avoids frequency overlaps and minimizes potential co-channel
interference issues with the Space Ground Link System (SGLS), which operates from 1761-1842 MHz.184
5.
2020-2025 MHz
53.
Background. The 2020-2025 MHz band is already allocated for the non-Federal fixed
and mobile services and is part of the 35 megahertz (1990-2025 MHz) that the Commission repurposed in
2000 from BAS to emerging technologies such as Personal Communications Services (PCS), AWS, and
Mobile Satellite Service (MSS).185 This repurposing was possible because BAS converted nationwide
from seven analog channels (each 17-18 megahertz wide) to seven digital channels (each 12 megahertz
wide). In 2004, the Commission proposed to license 2020-2025 MHz for uplink/mobile use paired with
2175-2180 MHz.186 The Commission did not adopt this proposal and, in 2008 it proposed instead to
combine 2175-2180 MHz and 2155-2175 MHz, to make a larger unpaired block at 2155-2180 MHz.187
The Commission did not make a further proposal for the 2020-2025 MHz band immediately above the
AWS-4 uplink band (2000-2020 MHz).
54.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed uplink/mobile use of 2020-2025 MHz
under rules similar to the AWS-4 rules. Although the Commission did not propose to modify the
allocation for this band in the AWS-3 NPRM, we proposed changes to several related footnotes in the
Table of Frequency Allocations.
55.
T-Mobile agrees that 2020-2025 MHz should be cleared to the maximum extent possible
and auctioned on a paired basis. T-Mobile states that one option would be for the Commission to
consider providing DoD with access to the 2020-2025 MHz band if doing so would allow the 15
megahertz at 2095-2110 MHz to be paired with 1695-1710 MHz. However, T-Mobile states that the most
appropriate use of the 2020-2025 MHz band is contingent on the outcome of the then-pending waiver
request sought by DISH for flexibility to use 2000-2020 MHz for terrestrial downlink.188 USCC strongly
urges the Commission to focus on maximizing the amount of paired spectrum in deciding which bands to

184 The space operation service (Earth-to-space) is limited to the band 1761-1842 MHz, and is limited to space
command, control, range and range rate systems.
185 See 47 C.F.R. § 74.690. Of the total 35 megahertz of spectrum, 5 megahertz was authorized for PCS and held by
Sprint Nextel; 10 megahertz was authorized for AWS and to be auctioned and licensed as AWS-2; and 20 megahertz
was authorized for MSS, though it is now part of the AWS-4 spectrum.
186 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz,
and 2175-2180 MHz Bands; Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz Bands; WT
Docket Nos. 04-356, 02-35, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19263 (2004) (2004 NPRM).
187 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2155-2175 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 07-195, Service
Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180
MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 04-356, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd 9859, 9860 ¶ 3 (2008)
(2008 FNPRM).
188 T-Mobile Comments at 27. According to T-Mobile, reversing direction of 2000-2020 MHz would generally
require that 2020-2025 MHz also be used for downlink. T-Mobile Comments 27-28.
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license under the AWS-3 service rules. It argues that access to paired spectrum is particularly critical for
small and regional carriers that typically lack sufficient spectrum holdings to pair with newly-acquired
spectrum blocks on an asymmetric basis.189
56.
The 2020-2025 MHz band is adjacent to the AWS-4 uplink band at 2000-2020 MHz and
BAS/CARS/NASA uses at 2025-2110 MHz band. These adjacent uses create challenges with respect to
the allocation of this spectrum. EIBASS notes that the band may be at risk of interference from higher-
power Electronic News Gathering (ENG) transmitters operating in the 2025–2110 MHz TV BAS band
(up to 65 dBm EIRP for ENG platforms vs. 33 dBm EIRP for AWS handsets).190 This interference would
come and go on a seemingly random basis as a mobile ENG transmitter is used near an AWS base station
location.191 This could be a challenge to the AWS user as it appears cellular/AWS use is higher at or near
locations of newsworthy events, the same events that ENG trucks would be transmitting from.192 EIBASS
notes that DISH has raised the same concern but notes that broadcasters have dealt with high-power
PCS/AWS, specialized filters have been developed, and TV BAS into AWS interference should be a
manageable problem.
57.
DISH states that designating mobile operation in the 2020-2025 MHz band would make
this band vulnerable to significant interference from adjacent Federal government and BAS users above
2025 MHz.193 DISH states that EIBASS agrees that BAS operations would cause interference to 2020-
2025 MHz uplink operations.194 Regarding EIBASS’s view that such interference would be manageable
based on PCS/AWS filtering solutions, DISH responds that the existing PCS/AWS to BAS scenario is not
representative of the more problematic scenario of interference from BAS into base stations receiving
low-power, mobile uplink transmissions in the 2020-2025 MHz band.195 On the other hand, if 2020-2025
MHz is used for downlinks, DISH agrees with EIBASS that coordination and filtering similar to that used
for AWS-1 could be used to protect BAS.196 Referencing its then-pending waiver request to be able to
elect to utilize the 2000-2020 MHz band for downlink operations,”197 DISH suggests that the Commission
designate 2020-2025 MHz for downlink use if the adjacent AWS-4 band is also used for downlink.198 If
adjacent AWS-4 band is used for uplink operations, DISH states that 2020-2025 MHz also should be
designated for uplinks because downlink operations would cause interference to AWS-4 uplink
operations, absent severe power and OOBE restrictions to protect AWS-4 uplink operations.199
58.
T-Mobile and other commenters believe that the Commission may wish to evaluate how
best to use the 2020-2025 MHz band but the future use of the 2020-2025 MHz band is uncertain until
DISH decides whether it will be using the adjacent AWS-4 spectrum at 2000-2020 MHz for uplink or

189 USCC Comments 8; USCC Reply Comments 6-7; see also Verizon Comments at 4; 4G Americas Comments at
3-4; TIA Comments at 10; T-Mobile Comments at 26-27; AT&T Comments at 7.
190 EIBASS Comments at 10.
191 Id.
192 Id. at 9-10.
193 See DISH Reply Comments at 3-4.
194 Id. at 4-5 (citing EIBASS Comments at 9-10).
195 Id. at 4.
196 Id. at 5. DISH notes that T-Mobile and Ericsson state that use of the J Block should be contingent on outcome of
the DISH waiver. DISH Reply Comments at 6 (citing T-Mobile Comments at 27-28; Ericsson Comments at 24).
197 See DISH Network Corporation, Petition for Waiver of Sections 27.5(j) and 27.53(h)(2)(ii) and Request for
Extension of Time, WT Docket No. 13-225 (filed Sept. 9, 2013).
198 DISH Reply Comments at 2; n.6 citing DISH Petition for Waiver.
199 DISH Reply Comments at 5-6.
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downlink operations.200 Sprint supports the auction of 2020-2025 MHz, and recommends that the
Commission postpone making a determination on whether the band should be uplink or downlink until
after it resolves DISH’s waiver petition and Dish makes its election.201 T-Mobile states that until that
time, it is premature to consider whether it may be used to support commercial wireless operations.202
59.
Discussion. On December 20, 2013, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted
DISH’s request, subject to certain conditions, for flexibility to elect to use 2000-2020 MHz for either
uplink or downlink operations.203 One of the conditions requires DISH to file its uplink or downlink
election, which shall apply to all AWS-4 licenses, as soon as commercially practicable but no later than
30 months after the December 20, 2013, release date of the Bureau’s order. Auctioning and licensing of
the 2020-2025 MHz band is not governed by the February 2015 deadline in the Spectrum Act. We agree
with some commenters that the public interest is best served by deferring action on the 2020-2025 MHz
band, without prejudice to the ultimate disposition of service rules for that band.

B.

Technical Rules

60.
In addition to protecting other operations that will remain in the AWS-3 bands, as
discussed above, we noted in the AWS-3 NPRM that our AWS-3 rules must take into account the potential
for AWS-3 operations to cause harmful interference to operations in other service areas, in other AWS-3
blocks and in adjacent frequency bands, including both Federal and non-Federal operations.204 The AWS-
3 NPRM
therefore sought comment on what technical and operational rules were needed to protect these
various services from harmful interference. Where possible, we proposed to adopt for AWS-3 the same
technical requirements as apply to AWS-1, where our experience indicates that the requirements have
facilitated good service while minimizing undesirable interference, and to AWS-4.205 However, we
recognized that specific AWS-3 spectrum considerations may warrant different requirements, and we
asked commenters to address any specific technical rules that they believe necessary for specific AWS-3
bands.206
61.
With respect to adjacent bands, two predominant types of interference can occur. The
first is caused by out-of-band emissions (OOBE) that fall directly within the passband of an adjacent-band
receiver.207 Such emissions cannot be “filtered out,” and can only be mitigated through appropriate
operation of the transmitter. The second type of interference is caused by “receiver overload.” Receiver
overload interference occurs when a strong signal from an adjacent band transmission falls just outside
the passband of a receiver, where the front-end filter of the receiver can provide only limited attenuation
of the unwanted signal.208 Our rules generally limit the potential for both kinds of interference by
specifying OOBE and power limits.

200 Ericsson is concerned that the Commission’s proposed duplex direction of the 2020-2025 MHz band could create
coexistence issues in the 2000-2020 MHz band depending on the outcome of the DISH waiver petition.
201 Sprint Reply Comments at 2.
202 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 17.
203 See DISH Network Corporation, Petition for Waiver of Sections 27.5(j) and 27.53(h)(2)(ii) and Request for
Extension of Time, WT Docket No. 13-225, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 16787 (WTB 2013).
204 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11516 ¶ 83.
205 Except as noted below, commenters generally supported mirroring AWS-1 technical rules insofar as possible,
See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 11-12; T-Mobile Comments at 30; Verizon Comments at 23-24.
206 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶ 85.
207 A passband is “[t]he portion of spectrum, between limiting frequencies, that is transmitted with minimum relative
loss or maximum relative gain." See Alliance for Industry Telecommunications Solutions, Glossary, available
online at: http://www.atis.org/glossary/definition.aspx?id=2835.
208 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11516 ¶ 84.
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1.

OOBE Limits

62.
For situations where adjacent spectrum blocks are put to similar uses, our rules
commonly require that out-of-band emissions be attenuated below the transmitter power in watts (P) by a
factor of not less than 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB outside of the licensee’s frequency block.209 Where stricter
OOBE limits apply, it is typically because adjacent spectrum blocks are put to different uses—high-power
downlink in one block and low-power uplink in the other, for example—or because other special
protection requirements exist.210 Section 27.53(h)(1) of our rules applies this standard limit to AWS-1,211
and section 27.53(h)(3) specifies the measurement procedure required to determine compliance with the
OOBE standard.212 The AWS-3 NPRM sought comment on extending these requirements to the AWS-3
bands.213
a.

Interference Protection between Adjacent Block AWS-3 Licensees

63.
As the AWS-3 NPRM noted, we anticipate that the characteristics of the future AWS-3
band systems will be essentially identical to those of AWS-1. For this reason, the AWS-3 NPRM
proposed that the typical OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB is appropriate to protect AWS-3
services operating in adjacent spectrum blocks.214 No commenter objected to this proposal, and the record
does not suggest the presence of any circumstances requiring special OOBE protection for adjacent AWS-
3 spectrum blocks. We therefore adopt an attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB for emissions outside
of AWS-3 licensees’ frequency blocks into other AWS-3 frequency blocks.
b.

Interference Protection to Services in Other Bands — Uplink
Stations Operating in 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz

(i)

Interference protection to operations below 1695 MHz

64.
Meteorological operations: The 1695-1710 MHz AWS-3 uplink band is adjacent to
satellite downlink spectrum at 1675-1695 MHz, which is allocated for Federal and non-Federal satellite
use. The rules for the AWS-1 uplink band at 1710-1755 MHz include an OOBE attenuation factor of our
standard 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB in order to protect satellite downlink spectrum currently below 1710
MHz.215 In addition, section 27.1134(c) of the rules provides that should AWS-1 operations in the 1710-
1755 MHz band cause interference to Federal Government operations below 1710 MHz, the AWS-1
licensee must take steps to eliminate the interference.216 The AWS-3 NPRM stated that the services used
in this AWS-3 band will be similar to those in the AWS-1 band, and that the repurposing of 1695-1710
MHz essentially just shifts the boundary between AWS uplink and satellite downlink services down from

209 “[T]he OOBE limit that requires licensees to attenuate power levels (P) by at least 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB at the
edges of their spectrum blocks is commonly employed in other wireless services, and it has generally been found to
be adequate in preventing adjacent channel interference.” AWS-1 Service Rules R&O, 18 FCC Rcd at 25198 ¶ 91.
47 C.F.R. § 27.53(i) provides that the Commission has authority to require greater attenuation when an OOBE
causes harmful interference.
210 For example, the standard OOBE attenuation factor applies generally to AWS-4, but with an additional restriction
to provide greater protection to the adjacent 1995-2000 MHz band, since the 2000 MHz boundary separates the
AWS-4 uplink band (2000-2020 MHz) from the H-Block downlink band (1995-2000 MHz). 47 C.F.R. §
27.53(h)(1), (2).
211 47 C.F.R. § 27.53(h)(1).
212 Id. § 27.53(h)(3).
213 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517-19 ¶¶ 86-95.
214 Id. at 11517 ¶ 87.
215 47 C.F.R. § 27.53(h).
216 Id. § 27.1134(c).
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1710 to 1695 MHz.217 Accordingly, the AWS-3 NPRM proposed to specify the same OOBE attenuation
factor for this AWS-3 uplink band as applies to the adjacent AWS-1 uplink band, the standard 43 + 10
log10 (P) dB,218 and to extend the obligations of section 27.1134(c) to AWS-3 operations in the 1695-1710
MHz band.219
65.
One commenter expressed concern that the standard OOBE limit may not provide
adequate protection for adjacent-band Meteorological Satellite operations. Raytheon argued that,
“[b]efore the Commission adopts an OOBE limit applicable at the 1695 MHz band edge for AWS-3
systems, sufficient testing and/or analysis should be completed to support the Commission's
determination in light of the [Emergency Managers Weather Information Network] and other operations
below 1695 MHz.”220 Raytheon errs in focusing on just one part of the regime we are establishing to
protect the 1675-1695 MHz band. The OOBE attenuation factor functions together with the interference-
resolution provisions of section 27.1134(c). This combination has worked satisfactorily for the AWS-1
service, and we believe it will serve equally well for AWS-3
66.
Global Positioning System operations: The GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) argued
that the proposed OOBE limit for the 1695-1710 MHz band “is no longer effective [in preventing
interference to the Global Positioning System (GPS)] given the dramatic increase in RF devices and the
[RF] noise floor.”221 It recommended that the Commission defer adopting an OOBE limit, and instead
participate in a multi-stakeholder task group to develop new GPS spectrum interference standards.222
CTIA countered that “these issues are best addressed in other fora, and [that] the Commission should not
allow these speculative interference concerns to delay this critical spectrum auction.”223
67.
The Commission has long recognized the importance of GPS and our responsibility to
ensure that it receives appropriate interference protection from other radiocommunication services.
However, GPSIA’s arguments that the proposed OOBE limit may present some risk of interference do not
warrant deferring action on the proposed OOBE limit. GPSIA does not support its claims with technical
studies and apparently makes worst-case assumptions regarding emissions from AWS-3 mobiles; i.e., “if
appropriate standards are not adopted, manufacturers could begin to produce devices designed with
degraded OOBE performance . . . .”224 In fact, as GPSIA implicitly concedes, industry standards
developed for each radio interface meet or exceed the Commission’s OOBE limits, often by significant
amounts, and thereby provide an additional margin of interference protection.225 These standards are
developed through open working groups, which GPSIA would be free to participate in.226 Most
significantly, however, there is no evidence—in either the record here or our experience generally—that
operations in the AWS-1 band have resulted in harmful interference to GPS. AWS-1 handsets and GPS

217 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶ 88.
218 Id.
219 Id. at 11566, App A.
220 Raytheon Reply Comments at 6.
221 GPSIA Comments at 10. GPS operates in the 1559-1610 MHz Radionavigation-Satellite band, (47 C.F.R.
§ 2.106) with a center frequency of 1575.42 MHz and a maximum bandwidth of 20.46 MHz, thus occupying the
frequencies 1565.19-1585.65 MHz.
222 GPSIA Comments at 10; GPSIA Reply Comments at 6.
223 CTIA Reply Comments at 15-17.
224 GPSIA Comments at 9.
225 Id.
226 In addition, parties are free to negotiate private agreements for additional protection, as was the case with the
AWS-4 spectrum. AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16152-53 ¶¶ 121-22.
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receivers coexist satisfactorily, even when they reside on the same device.227 The technical operation in
the AWS-1 band is virtually identical to what was proposed for this AWS-3 band: both bands would be
populated by low-power mobile devices, both would be governed by the standard 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB
OOBE attenuation factor, and both are similarly separated in frequency from the GPS band. In short, for
all these reasons, we believe the possibility of harmful interference to GPS is extremely unlikely.
68.
Further, suspending this proceeding to reexamine interference standards would likely
make it impossible to meet the statutory requirement that this spectrum be licensed by February 2015.228
In light of our findings above, we believe that the better course is to proceed based on the record herein.
Of course we will continue to explore new ways to maximize spectrum efficiency. For example, in ET
Docket No. 13-101 we are considering recommendations of the Commission’s Technological Advisory
Council regarding the use of harm claim thresholds to improve the interference tolerance of wireless
systems.229 Such proceedings provide a more appropriate vehicle to consider evolution of regulatory
requirements, including how to transition incumbents to new standards, if that should be necessary.230
69.
We therefore adopt for the 1695-1710 MHz band an OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10
log10 (P) dB below 1695 MHz.
(ii)

Interference protection to operations above 1710 MHz

70.
The 1695-1710 MHz AWS-3 uplink band is adjacent to AWS-1 uplink spectrum at 1710-
1755 MHz. Because we anticipate that the services used in these adjacent bands will be similar, the AWS-
3 NPRM
proposed to specify the same OOBE attenuation factor for this AWS-3 band as applies to the
adjacent AWS-1 band, the standard 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB.231 No commenter objected to this proposal, and
the record does not suggest the presence of any circumstances requiring special OOBE protection for the
adjacent AWS-1 band. We therefore adopt for this band an OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P)
dB above 1710 MHz.
(iii)

Interference protection to operations below 1755 MHz

71.
Likewise, the 1755-1780 MHz AWS-3 uplink band is adjacent to AWS-1 uplink
spectrum at 1710 -1755 MHz, where we anticipate similar use. Thus the AWS-3 NPRM again proposed
the same OOBE attenuation factor for this AWS-3 uplink band as applies to the adjacent AWS uplink
band, 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB.232 Again, no commenter objected to this proposal, and the record does not
suggest the presence of any circumstances requiring special OOBE protection for the adjacent AWS-1
band. We therefore adopt for this band an OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB below 1755
MHz.
(iv)

Interference protection to operations above 1780 MHz

72.
The 1755-1780 MHz AWS-3 uplink band is adjacent to Federal operations at 1780-1850
MHz. The AWS-3 NPRM observed that the proposal to designate this band for AWS-3 use would merely
shift the boundary between AWS and adjacent-band services, with no significant change in the uses on
either side of the boundary. The AWS-3 NPRM therefore proposed to maintain the OOBE attenuation
factor for the present boundary (i.e., the AWS-1 limit) for this AWS-3 band, again the standard 43 + 10

227 See CTIA Reply Comments at 17.
228 Spectrum Act § 6401(b)(1)(B).
229 Office of Engineering and Technology Invites Comments on Technological Advisory Council (TAC) White
Paper and Recommendations for Improving Receiver Performance, ET Docket No. 13-101, Public Notice, 28 FCC
Rcd 5274 (2013).
230 See generally 2013 Presidential Memorandum at ¶ 5.
231 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517-18 ¶ 89.
232 Id. at 11517 ¶ 90.
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log10 (P) dB.233 No commenters dissented from this proposal, and the record does not suggest the
presence of any circumstances requiring special OOBE protection for the adjacent Federal operations.
We therefore adopt for this band an OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB above 1780 MHz.
c.

Interference Protection to Services in Other Bands — Base Stations
Operating in 2155-2180 MHz

73.
The 2155-2180 MHz AWS-3 downlink band lies between AWS-1 downlink spectrum at
2110-2155 MHz and AWS-4/MSS downlink spectrum at 2180-2200 MHz. Because we anticipate that
operations in 2155-2180 MHz and in the adjacent downlink bands will be similar, the AWS-3 NPRM
proposed that our standard OOBE attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB would be sufficient to protect
AWS-1 and AWS-4/MSS receivers operating in the adjacent bands.234 No commenters objected to this
proposal, and the record does not suggest the presence of any circumstances requiring special OOBE
protection for the adjacent AWS-1 and AWS-4/MSS bands. Therefore, we adopt for this band an OOBE
attenuation factor of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB both below 2155 MHz and above 2180 MHz.
d.

Measurement of OOBE

74.
The Commission’s rules generally specify how to measure the power of the emissions,
such as the measurement bandwidth. For AWS-1, AWS-4 and PCS, the measurement bandwidth used to
determine compliance with this limit for fixed, mobile, and base stations is generally 1 megahertz, with
some modification within the first megahertz immediately outside and adjacent to the licensee’s
frequency block.235 The AWS-3 NPRM proposed to apply this same method to all transmissions in the
AWS-3 bands, and sought comment on this proposal.236 The only party commenting on this proposal
supported it.237 Since there is no opposition to our proposal, and in order to treat the AWS-3 bands in an
equivalent manner to other similar bands, we therefore adopt the same requirement for AWS-3 emission
limits.
2.

Antenna Height Restrictions

75.
The AWS-3 NPRM proposed that the flexible antenna height rules applicable to AWS-1
base stations should also govern AWS-3 base stations.238 In addition, since the AWS-3 NPRM proposed
not to authorize fixed operations in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands, it tentatively
concluded that no special antenna height restrictions are needed for those bands.239
a.

Base Stations (2155-2180 MHz)

76.
Part 27 of the Commission’s rules does not set out specific antenna height restrictions for
AWS-1 base stations. However, pursuant to section 27.56, all services operating under Part 27 are
required to limit base station antenna heights to elevations that do not present a hazard to air navigation.240
Additionally, the limitations of field strength at the geographical boundary of the license discussed below

233 Id. at 11517 ¶ 91. See also 47 C.F.R. § 27.53(h).
234 Id. at 11517 ¶ 94. See 47 C.F.R. §27.53(h). See also AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27 FCC Rcd at 16147 ¶ 106.
When held by different licensees, the standard attenuation factor also governs OOBE at the AWS-1 and AWS-4
block edges, e.g., between AWS-4 A and B blocks. See AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27 FCC Rcd at 16125 ¶ 59.
235 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.53(h) (AWS bands), 24.238(b) (PCS).
236 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 95.
237 T-Mobile Comments at 30.
238 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 97.
239 Id. at 11519-20 ¶ 98.
240 47 C.F.R. § 27.56.
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effectively limit antenna heights.241 As a result, because of these inherent height limitations, the AWS-3
NPRM
proposed that unique antenna height limits were not needed for AWS-3 facilities, and that the
general height restrictions of Part 27 would be sufficient.242
77.
The only comments addressing the issue supported this proposal.243 As the AWS-3 NPRM
noted, two rules effectively limit base station antenna heights: section 27.56 regarding safety of air
navigation and section 22.55(a) limiting the field strength of base station signals at the edge of a
licensee’s geographic service area. In addition, Motorola commented that “the need for spectral reuse”
provides a third inhibitor of base station antenna height.244 For all these reasons, we find no need for a
special restriction on the antenna height of AWS-3 base stations operating in the 2155-2180 MHz band.
b.

Fixed Stations (1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz)

78.
The AWS-3 NPRM proposed to prohibit fixed stations245 in the 1695-1710 MHz and
1755-1780 MHz bands, because in defining Protection Zones, CSMAC’s assumptions did not consider
the possibility of commercial fixed uplinks.246 The AWS-3 NPRM therefore tentatively concluded that no
antenna height limit would be necessary for these bands.247 Only one party specifically addressed this
issue: Verizon stated that “the authorization of fixed high gain antennas in these bands could cause
interference to government operations and thus the FCC should prohibit their use in these bands.”248 We
believe that permitting fixed stations in these uplink bands would unduly complicate sharing with
Government incumbents, and that the lack of comments asking us to provide for fixed station use in these
bands indicates there is no significant demand for it. We therefore adopt the AWS-3 NPRM’s proposal to
prohibit fixed stations from operating in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands. And with no
fixed stations in these bands, there is no need for an antenna height limit, so we will not adopt antenna
height restrictions for the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands at this time.249
3.

Power Limits

79.
We will apply the existing AWS-1 EIRP limits to the AWS-3 downlink band at 2155-
2180 MHz, as proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM.250 The AWS-3 NPRM proposed to depart from the AWS-1
EIRP limits for the AWS-3 uplink bands at 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz, because CSMAC and
NTIA recommendations for sharing these bands with Federal incumbents were based on assumed

241 Id. § 27.55(a).
242 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 97.
243 Motorola Comments at 6; T-Mobile Comments at 31; Verizon Comments at 24.
244 Motorola Comments at 6.
245 A fixed station is “a station in the fixed service,” which consists of stations at specified fixed points that
communicate with each other. 47 C.F.R. § 27.4.
246 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11500 ¶¶ 44-46. “A fixed station with a relatively high transmitting antenna is,
with regard to the out-of-band emissions it can place into an adjacent band receiver, indistinguishable from a base
station operating at the same antenna height.” AWS-1 Service Rules R&O, 18 FCC Rcd 25162, 25204 n.279 (2003).
247 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 98. The AWS-3 NPRM did propose a height limit for fixed stations in the
2020-2025 MHz band. Id. We need not consider that proposal now, however, because we are deferring adoption of
rules for this band. See supra ¶¶ 53-59.
248 Verizon Comments at 24. No commenter opposed the AWS-3 NPRM’s proposals on this issue.
249 For AWS-1, the Commission’s rules specify a height restriction of 10 meters for fixed stations operating in
AWS-1 uplink spectrum in order to protect co- and adjacent-channel Federal operations. 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(d);
AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 98.] For AWS-4 there is no corresponding Federal coordination issue, so the
AWS-4 rules do not impose a height restriction. AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11519 ¶ 98.
250 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11520-21 ¶¶ 100-101.
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baseline LTE uplink characteristics, which specify that lower EIRP levels would be used.251 Consistent
with our policy supporting flexible use where possible, we are not adopting technical rules requiring
AWS-3 licensees to comply with LTE or any other particular industry standard. Nonetheless, we are
adopting Protection Zones for Federal incumbents based on the power levels used for the CSMAC
studies, while also requiring larger Protection Zones that would apply should AWS-3 licensees propose to
operate uplink stations above 20 dBm EIRP.252
a.

Base Stations (2155-2180 MHz).

80.
Background: The current AWS-1 rules limit base station power in non-rural areas to
1640 watts EIRP for emission bandwidths less than 1 megahertz and to 1640 watts per megahertz EIRP
for emission bandwidths greater than 1 megahertz,253 and double these limits (3280 watts EIRP or 3280
watts/MHz) in rural areas.254 The AWS-1 rules also require that licensees with base stations employing
transmit power above 1640 watts EIRP and 1640 watts/MHz EIRP coordinate with affected licensees
authorized to operate within 120 kilometers (75 miles) and with certain satellite entities.255 Parallel
provisions apply to broadband PCS and AWS-4 stations.256
81.
The AWS-3 NPRM proposed to apply similar requirements to AWS-3 base stations
operating in the 2155-2180 MHz band because these rules have provided good service while avoiding
harmful interference.257 Specifically, the AWS-3 NPRM proposed to limit base station power in non-rural
areas to 1640 watts EIRP for emission bandwidths less than 1 megahertz and to 1640 watts per megahertz
EIRP for emission bandwidths greater than 1 megahertz, and double these limits (3280 watts EIRP or
3280 watts/MHz) in rural areas. For AWS-3 base stations with transmit power above 1640 watts EIRP
and 1640 watts/MHz EIRP, the AWS-3 NPRM proposed to require coordination with the following
licensees authorized to operate within 120 kilometers (75 miles) of the AWS-3 base or fixed station: all
Broadcast Radio Service (BRS) licensees authorized in the 2150-2162 MHz band and all AWS licensees
authorized to operate on adjacent frequency blocks in the AWS-3 band, the 2110-2155 MHz band or the
2180-2200 MHz band.258 Because of the spectral separation between the 2155-2180 MHz band and the
2025-2110 MHz satellite band, however, the AWS-3 NPRM did not propose to require coordination with
these operators.259
82.
Discussion: Commenters generally supported the Commission’s proposed technical
rules, specifically advocating adoption of regulations consistent with those applicable to the AWS-1

251 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11521-22 ¶¶ 102-103. These assumptions were set out in Appendix 3 of the WG1
Final Report
. WG1 Final Report, App. 3 (Baseline LTE Uplink Characteristics). This document reflects the
consensus of the LTE Technical Characteristics group of the CSMAC Working Groups. Participants included
numerous Federal and non-Federal representatives. Id. at 1.
252 See infra, App. A, 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, footnote US88.
253 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(d)(2).
254 Id. § 27.50(d)(1).
255 Id. § 27.50(d)(3). See Facilitating the Provision of Spectrum-Based Services to Rural Areas and Promoting
Opportunities for Rural Telephone Companies to Provide Spectrum-Based Services, WT Docket No. 02-381, Report
and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making
, 19 FCC Rcd 19078, 19133-34 ¶ 100-101 (2004).
256 47 C.F.R. §§ 24.232(a), (b) (PCS), 27.50(d) (AWS-4). The AWS-4 limits supersede a 32 dBW limit that
previously governed ATC stations in the 2180-2000 MHz band. See ICO Waiver Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 188 ¶ 47;
TerreStar Networks Inc., 25 FCC Rcd 228, 235-36 ¶ 23-24 (IB 2010).
257 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶ 88.
258 Id. at 11517 ¶ 101. BRS stations’ primary rights to operate in this band will sunset in 2021. See infra ¶ 99.
259 Id.
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spectrum;260 no commenter opposed the proposals for base station power limits. The Commission
typically adopts the same rules for similar adjacent band services, and we see no compelling reason to do
otherwise here. Accordingly we adopt the AWS-3 base station power limits proposed in the AWS-3
NPRM
and described in the preceding paragraph.
b.

Mobile and Portable Stations (1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz)

83.
Background: For AWS uplink bands, our rules specify different power limits for
different bands, depending on each band’s particular circumstances. AWS-4 uplinks are generally limited
to 2 watts EIRP,261 while AWS-1 uplinks are limited to 1 watt EIRP262 in order to simplify coordination
with Government operations that remain in the AWS-1 uplink band,263 a situation that the AWS-4 band
did not present.264 In this respect the two AWS-3 uplink bands under consideration here are similar to the
AWS-1 uplink band in that they all contain Government operations, and this circumstance requires
careful consideration of the power limit in order to assure satisfactory sharing of the bands with
Government incumbents.
84.
As described above, in conducting studies for coexistence of commercial and Federal
systems in the AWS-3 uplink bands, CSMAC made assumptions about the power output of typical
commercial user equipment for the purpose of defining Protection Zones. Specifically, CSMAC assumed
that typical commercial user equipment will be LTE devices.265 The LTE standard sets a maximum
transmitter power output (TPO) of 23 dBm.266 CSMAC’s analysis indicates that such devices will have
an actual EIRP varying between -40 dBm and 20 dBm,267 however, due to power control and typical
antenna gains/losses. CSMAC used these EIRP values to assume a maximum power of 20 dBm EIRP
(100 mW) for the purpose of defining the Protection Zones.268 For this reason, the Commission proposed
to limit power to the 20 dBm EIRP for mobiles and portables operating in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-
1780 MHz bands.269
85.
The Commission also noted its intent to adopt flexible-use service rules for the AWS-3
band supporting terrestrial wireless service and that it was not proposing to mandate the use of any
industry standard. In this regard, the Commission observed that similar commercial mobile services such
as PCS, AWS-1, and the 700 MHz band deploy handsets using a variety of technologies, including
CDMA and UMTS, as well as LTE, whose devices most commonly operate at a maximum EIRP of 23

260 See, e.g., Mobile Future Comments at 9; Motorola Comments at 5; 4G Americas Comments at 12; TIA
Comments at 10; AT&T Comments at 11; Verizon Comments at 23; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 19, n.70.
261 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(d)(7) (fixed, mobile, and portable (hand-held) stations operating in the 2000–2020 MHz band
are limited to 2 watts EIRP, except that the total power of any portion of an emission that falls within the 2000–2005
MHz band may not exceed 5 milliwatts). The former ATC rules originally specified a power limit of 1 dBW (1.25
watts) EIRP in a bandwidth of 1.23 megahertz for mobiles operating in 2000-2020 MHz. Id. § 25.252(b)(1) (2003).
262 Id. § 27.50(4).
263 AWS-1 Service Rules Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25200 ¶ 98.
264 AWS-4 Service Rules Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16157-60.
265 WG1 Final Report at 1.
266 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); User Equipment (UE) radio transmission and reception (Release 11)
Table 6.2.2-1 (3GPP TS 36.101 v11.1.0, June 2012) (LTE Standard, Table 6.2.2-1), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.101/36101-b40.zip (last visited March 31, 2014).
267 WG1 Final Report, App. 3 at 2-4, (Table, Tabulated CDF Data).
268 Id., App. 7 at 2.
269 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11522 ¶ 103.
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dBm (200 mW) regardless of higher FCC power limits270 such as the maximum EIRP limit of 1 watt (30
dBm) for the AWS-1 uplink band. Recognizing that the Commission’s technical rules will govern all
devices nationwide, rather than typical devices operating near Federal incumbents, the Commission
sought comment on whether the benefits of a higher power limit would outweigh the increased burden of
having to coordinate more commercial operations with Federal incumbents.271 The AWS-3 NPRM further
proposed that mobile and portable stations operating in these bands must employ a means for limiting
power to the minimum necessary for successful communications.272
86.
Discussion: While the 20 dBm EIRP figure is a reasonable assumption from which to
determine the area where the potential for interference requires coordination with incumbents, a power
limit higher than proposed is feasible, so long as the size of the Protection Zones reflects whatever limit
we adopt so that, if a licensee proposes to operate above 20 dBm EIRP, this higher power factors into the
coordination analysis.
87.
Wireless industry commenters nearly unanimously supported the benefits of a higher
power limit over the increased burden of coordination. AT&T suggested that a 20 dBm EIRP limit
“would effectively require the adoption of a separate 3GPP standard for AWS-3.”273 Motorola argued that
the proposed 20 dBm limit is inherently flawed because it was based on the 23 dBm total power output
limit set by the LTE standard, less 3 dB in assumed losses from issues such as negative antenna gain.
Actual losses, it said, will be greater, which justifies a higher power limit in the Commission’s rules.274
Further, Motorola notes the important role of automatic power control in mobile networks, citing a 3GPP
simulation showing that “the average transmit power across all devices in a mobile network is below 1
dBm and that 95 percent of all devices transmit with a power below 7 dBm.”275 DISH makes a similar
argument regarding automatic power control, and also notes that the Interference Power Spectral Density
level can be controlled by limiting the number of simultaneously transmitting mobiles around Protection
Zones, rather than restricting the mobile maximum power to 20 dBm, thus preserving the current
Protection Zone boundaries. DISH adds that limiting the number of simultaneous mobile transmissions
has an added advantage of providing protection while preserving wireless coverage footprints typical LTE
devices can support.276 These commenters suggest a range of alternatives for the AWS-3 uplink power
limit, including 23 dBm, 23 dBm +/- 2 dB or 25 dBm (all based on the LTE standard),277 and 30 dBm (the
AWS-1 limit).278
88.
On the other hand, Raytheon argued that “[f]ailure to mandate an LTE standard could
impact directly the validity, already qualified, of the analysis determining the proposed contours of the
Protection Zones. . . . [I]f the Commission chooses to forego mandating use of the LTE standard by

270 Id. at 11521 ¶ 102.
271 Id. at 11522 ¶ 103.
272 Id.
273 AT&T Comments at 12.
274 Motorola Comments at 8.
275 Id.
276 DISH Reply Comments at 11.
277 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 12; DISH Reply Comments at 10-11; Ericsson Comments at 6-7; Verizon
Comments at 24.
278 See, e.g., CTIA Comments at 26-27; Motorola Comments at 9; Nokia Comments at 20; T-Mobile Comments at
32; TIA Comments at 13; USCC Reply Comments at 23-26.
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auction winners, the Commission should establish larger Protection Zones to create an umbrella allowing
for the use of other standards.”279
89.
Based on the record before us, we are persuaded that the benefits of a higher EIRP limit
outweigh the burden of additional coordination. Therefore, for the sake of uniformity among AWS-1 and
AWS-3 equipment requirements and to facilitate industry standard setting in accordance with the basic
interoperability requirement that we adopt herein for 1710-1780 MHz stations, we adopt an AWS-3
uplink power limit of 30 dBm EIRP. We emphasize that this EIRP limit is largely a matter of equipment
certification and that AWS-3 licensees are not authorized, as a matter of right, prior to successful
coordination, to operate mobile and portable stations up to this EIRP limit. Additionally, we agree with
Raytheon that the Protection Zones must be properly calibrated to account for any operations above 20
dBm EIRP. We also adopt the AWS-3 NPRM’s uncontested proposal to require that mobile and portable
stations operating in these bands employ a means for limiting power to the minimum necessary for
successful communications.
90.
Accordingly, the 27 Protection Zones for 1695-1710 MHz will be defined at two
maximum protection distance scenarios: operations up to 20 dBm EIRP, as proposed in the AWS-3
NPRM
,280 and operations above 20 dBm EIRP up to 30 dBm EIRP.281 The Protection Zones are the
product of consultations between the Commission and NTIA. For base stations that enable mobiles to
operate with a maximum EIRP greater than 20 dBm, up to a maximum EIRP of 30 dBm, nationwide
coordination will be required. These requirements reflect the optimum scenarios for AWS-3/Federal
sharing of these bands, and provide ample opportunity to ensure that incumbent Federal operations are
fully protected. The real-time spectrum monitoring systems that Federal incumbents are planning will
also, once deployed, help to maximize commercial use of the band while protecting Federal
meteorological-satellite receive stations.282
91.
For the 1755-1780 MHz band, the default Protection Zone is nationwide. Therefore, all
AWS-3 operations in this band, including proposals to operate above 20 dBm EIRP, will have to be
successfully coordinated with all relevant Federal incumbents. In the coming months, the Commission
and NTIA intend to jointly issue one or more public notices establishing coordination procedures and, if
possible, more refined Protection Zones for operations up to 20 dBm EIRP. This forthcoming action will
not affect operations above 20 dBm EIRP (and up to the 30 dBm EIRP limit) for which the nationwide
Protection Zone will remain applicable.
92.
We also recognize CSMAC’s suggestion that the aggregate signal level from all licensees
measured as a power flux density at the geostationary orbit (GSO) arc should not exceed -179
dBW/Hz/m2. CSMAC concluded that it is unlikely that the aggregate power flux density from user
devices at the GSO arc will reach -179 dBW/Hz/m2 and that AWS operations are unlikely to impact
Federal Space Operations reception in the GSO arc, assuming user devices operate with a maximum EIRP
of 20 dBm. Further, the WG3 Final Report indicated that there is a positive 7.6 dB margin at the -179
dBW/Hz/m2 power flux density level,283 and AWS-3 mobile devices will typically operate with
significantly lower EIRP levels than assumed in the WG3 Final Report. We nonetheless recognize the
legitimate issue of aggregate power flux density possibly affecting incumbent operations and that Federal

279 Raytheon Comments at 19-20.
280 See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11546-47 ¶ 170.
281 See infra, App. A, 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, footnote US88.
282 See text accompanying note 72, supra.
283 See WG3 Final Report at 7 (“Analysis indicated that aggregate mean interference was estimated to be -212.6
dBW/Hz (7.6 dB) below the safe level).” “In conclusion, analysis found negligible interference predicted to all
programs except possibly a few experimental spacecraft.” Id. “Analysis under current assumptions indicates that
aggregate LTE interference to SATOPS spacecraft receivers will not be harmful.” Id. at 158.
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satellite operators will routinely monitor the aggregate power flux density level at the satellites. AWS-3
licensees are on notice that the Commission will revisit the matter and take appropriate action if it is
demonstrated that the aggregate power flux density level from all mobile devices in a 10 megahertz
bandwidth in the 1761-1780 MHz band could impact Federal Space Operations reception in the GSO arc,
i.e., is approaching -179 dBW/Hz/m2.
4.

Co-Channel Interference between AWS-3 Systems

93.
Background. As discussed above, we determine to license AWS-3 on an EA and CMA
geographic license area basis.284 The Commission observed in the AWS-3 NPRM that should this
spectrum be licensed on a less than nationwide basis, it would be necessary to ensure that licensees do not
cause harmful interference to co-channel systems operating along their common geographic
boundaries.285 To resolve any such interference, the AWS-3 NPRM proposed to adopt a boundary limit
approach,286 with a boundary field strength limit of 47 dBµV/m, the same as applies to other services
similar to AWS-3, including AWS-1 and AWS-4. The AWS-3 NPRM noted that some commenters in
other proceedings have suggested that the boundary limit be adjusted to accommodate varying channel
bandwidths, and sought comment on these options.287 The AWS-3 NPRM also sought comment on its
proposal that licensees operating in adjoining areas should be permitted to employ alternative, agreed-
upon signal limits at their common borders.288 Except for T-Mobile, which argued that the field strength
limit be adjusted to accommodate for varying channel bandwidths, commenters did not oppose the
Commission’s proposals to protect adjacent licensees from co-channel interference.289
94.
Discussion. We adopt the proposed boundary limit approach for co-channel interference.
As discussed above, the Commission will license AWS-3 on a geographic area basis that is less than
nationwide, i.e., an EA and CMA basis.290 To prevent licensees that operate systems along common
geographic borders from causing harmful interference to one another, the Commission must provide
operating limits to ensure such licensees do not cause interference to co-channel systems. Adopting a
boundary limit approach establishes a default standard, which will enable licensees to deploy facilities in
boundary areas without the need for prior coordination. (Licensees may use this operating limit as a
starting point for negotiations to exceed the limits with agreement of adjacent area licensees.291)
Moreover, in other bands where spectrum has been allocated for fixed and mobile services, similar to
AWS-3, the Commission has uniformly adopted the boundary limit method to minimize harmful co-
channel interference.292 For instance, the PCS, AWS-1, AWS-4 and H-Block bands all use a boundary
limit approach.293 In response to the Commission’s proposal, no commenter supported a coordination
requirement rather than the boundary limit approach.294 Consequently, we find that a boundary limit
approach is the best method to address potential harmful co-channel interference between licensees
operating in adjacent geographic regions.

284 See supra ¶¶ 20, 48-49.
285 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11522 ¶ 104.
286 The alternative would be to require prior coordination of base stations located near geographic boundaries.
287 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11522 ¶ 105.
288 Id. at 11523 ¶ 108.
289 T-Mobile Comments at 31.
290 See supra Section III.A.4 (Band-Plan for 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz).
291 See ¶ 98, infra.
292 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11522 ¶ 104.
293 47 C.F.R. § 24.236 (PCS); id. § 27.55(a) (1) (AWS-1, AWS-4 and H Block).
294 See, e.g., T-Mobile Comments at 31.
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95.
We set the field strength limit at the boundary at 47 dBµV/m. As the Commission
observed in the AWS-3 NPRM, in other bands where spectrum has been allocated for fixed and mobile
services and licensed for flexible use, similar to AWS-3, the Commission has generally adopted a
boundary field strength limit of 47 dBµV/m.295 For example, in the PCS, AWS-1, AWS-4 and H-Block
bands, the Commission adopted a field strength limit of 47 dBµV/m at the boundary of licensed
geographic areas.296 Because this limit has worked well in limiting co-channel interference in other
bands, we find it appropriate to adopt it here for the similarly situated AWS-3.
96.
In adopting this boundary limit, we decline to adopt the alternative limit proposed by T-
Mobile. While supporting the boundary limit approach used in other bands, T-Mobile asserted that we
should modify the boundary limit to set a reference measurement bandwidth, as proposed by Sprint in
WT Docket No. 12-357. In making this recommendation, T-Mobile claimed that because today’s LTE
transmissions operate on wider channels than earlier legacy technologies, a 47 dBµV/m limit will
effectively result in a comparatively lower field strength limit. Specifically, T-Mobile proposed to adjust
the field strength limit from 47 dBµV/m to 54 dBµV/m per megahertz “which is based on GSM
technology and provides a 7 dB increase over today’s rules.”297
97.
Although we agree with T-Mobile that a boundary limit that adjusts for large differences
in channel bandwidths may be appropriate, we are not persuaded that either Sprint or T-Mobile’s
proposed limit represents the most appropriate solution. Sprint derived the value for the field strength
based on a comparison against a 30 kHz Digital Amps signal,298 and T-Mobile did not explain how it
derived its proposed limit. Other technologies may be a more appropriate reference upon which to base
the value for the field strength. Also, there are other metrics that may be used to limit the signal at the
boundary, such as power flux density. We observe that the Commission has already adopted a
bandwidth-independent approach when setting boundary limits with Canada and Mexico.299 For example,
certain international limits are expressed as a power flux density (i.e., dBW/m2/MHz), a measure of
power, whereas field strength is a measurement of voltage. As Sprint noted, other parties have proposed
to set boundary limits in a bandwidth neutral manner, but there is no established consensus on what the
value of the limit should be.300 With no consensus regarding an alternative boundary limit approach, we
are not prepared to adopt any particular approach at this time. We intend to explore the issue of whether
to apply a measurement bandwidth to co-channel boundary limits in future service rules proceedings, and
we encourage all interested parties to explore this issue in such proceedings to develop a full record of the
technical concerns and ramifications of such an approach.
98.
Finally, we adopt the Commission’s proposal that adjacent affected area licensees may
voluntarily agree upon higher field strength boundary levels than the 47 dBµV/m we adopt above.301 This
concept is already codified in the field strength rules for both PCS and AWS services. No party opposed

295 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11522 ¶ 104.
296 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 24.236, 27.55(a)(1); cf. 47 C.F.R. § 27.55(a)(2) (40 dBµV/m field strength limit is used in the
700 MHz services).
297 T-Mobile Comments at 31.
298 H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9515 ¶ 79.
299 See Letter from Ms. Helen McDonald, Senior Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies, and
Telecommunications, Industry Canada, to Mr. Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications
Commission, Attachment B, General Principle 2.8 (July 18, 2011), available at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-
gst.nsf/eng/sf10066.html (last visited March. 31, 2014).
300 Sprint Reply Comments in WT Docket No. 12-357 at 8, n.30 (citing to Verizon and Verizon Wireless comments
in the Broadcast Incentive Auction proceeding proposing 50 dBµV/m per MHz).
301 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11523 ¶ 108.
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extending this approach to AWS-3. Accordingly, to maintain consistency with the PCS and other AWS
bands, we permit adjacent area licensees to agree to a higher field strength limit.
5.

Co-Channel Interference to BRS Channels 1 and 2

99.
The AWS-1 rules include provisions that protect BRS Channel 1 (2150-2156 MHz) and
Channel 2/2A (2156-2160/62 MHz) while the band transitions from BRS to AWS use.302 Because these
BRS channels will be co-channel to some licenses in the AWS-3 downlink band at 2155-2180 MHz, the
AWS-3 NPRM proposed that the same AWS-1 provisions in sections 27.1132 and 27.1255 be applied to
future AWS-3 licensees operating in the 2155-2180 MHz band.303 No parties commented on this
proposal. Therefore, and in the absence of any compelling reason to do otherwise, we adopt the same
provisions in sections 27.1132 and 27.1255 for AWS-3 licensees operating in the 2155-2180 MHz band.
6.

Base station control of mobile or portable devices in 1695-1710 MHz and
1755-1780 MHz bands

100.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, we proposed to require mobile or portable devices
operating in bands shared with Federal incumbents to be under the control of a base station.304 T-Mobile
did not oppose this requirement, but suggested allowing an exception “to allow devices to operate that are
not under the control of a base station if that can be accomplished in a manner consistent with protection
requirements to Federal operations.”305 Raytheon opposed codifying T-Mobile’s proposed exception,
stating that such flexibility might be considered pursuant to a specific coordination scenario as long as
Federal agencies are not obligated to consent to such use.306
101.
T-Mobile also noted that any control requirement should be consistent with LTE mobile
operations, which it described as follows:
Prior to transmitting, LTE user devices listen for system information being broadcast by the base
station. Based on the system information, the user device will transmit a RACH (Random Access
Channel), in order to get the cell to grant downlink/uplink radio resources. Because the mobile
device does not transmit until receiving system information from the base station, the mobile
device is clearly under the control of the base station . . . .307
102.
Discussion. As discussed above,308 in order to facilitate Federal coordination,
uplink/mobile devices in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands must be under the control of, or
associated with, a base station as a means to facilitate shared use of the band and prevent interference to
Federal operations. We agree with T-Mobile that LTE user devices operating as T-Mobile describes
would meet this control requirement. However, we are not persuaded to codify the general exception that
T-Mobile suggests, because the proposal lacks the specificity necessary to assure us that it would prevent
interference to Federal incumbents.

302 47 C.F.R §§ 27.1132, 27.1250-27.1255. These BRS provisions will expire in 2021, 15 years after the first AWS
license was issued in the band, at which time any remaining BRS licensees in the band will lose primary status. Id.
§27.1253(a). The Commission’s licensing records reflect that there are fewer than five BRS incumbents licensed on
these channels and that most of the stations use Channels 1 and/or 2/2A for fixed broadband uplink.
303 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11523 ¶ 109.
304 Id. at 11563. See also id. at 11501 ¶ 48.
305 T-Mobile Comments at 29.
306 Raytheon Reply Comments at 16.
307 T-Mobile Comments at 29.
308 See supra ¶¶ 19, 43.
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7.

Receiver Performance

103.
The AWS-3 NPRM sought comment on the potential for AWS-3 operations to cause
receiver overload or other interference to non-AWS operations below 1695 MHz, above 1780 MHz,
above 2025 MHz, and above 2180 MHz.309 No commenter addressed this issue directly, and the only
comments suggesting the possibility of interference to adjacent non-AWS services were those urging
special OOBE protection below 1695 MHz. We have addressed these comments in connection with
finalizing the AWS-3 OOBE limits,310 and no interference issues remain to be considered.
8.

Compliance with Industry Standard

104.
In response to the Commission’s request for comment on any other technical rules that
may be required,311 some commenters encouraged us to mandate use of the LTE air interface standard in
the AWS-3 spectrum, while some urged us to adopt an equipment interoperability requirement. In the
AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission acknowledged that CSMAC made technical assumptions about
commercial operations that assumed baseline LTE uplink characteristics and that some technical rules
must accommodate CSMAC’s assumptions or the Protection Zones might have to be redrawn.312 But the
Commission emphasized that it was not proposing rules to require AWS-3 licensees to comply with any
particular industry standard such as LTE.313 Rather, in accordance with the Spectrum Act,314 the
Commission intended to propose flexible use service rules for the AWS-3 band.315 AIA expressed
concern “[w]hether spectrum sharing and coordination rules can be established when there is currently no
proposed requirement for AWS-3 licensees to comply with any particular industry standard such as
LTE.”316 And as noted above, Raytheon argued that if the Commission did not mandate use of the LTE
standard, it should “establish larger Protection Zones to create an umbrella allowing for the use of other
standards.”317 T-Mobile disagreed, stating that “While LTE is currently the favored standard, it may be
supplanted in the future. An LTE mandate would hamstring innovation and development and be contrary
to the Commission’s policy to preserve technical flexibility and refrain from imposing technical
standards.”318
105.
We agree with T-Mobile that locking licensees into a particular technology indefinitely is
not warranted. Mandating a particular industry standard such as LTE would hamstring innovation and
development and be contrary to the Commission’s policy to preserve technical flexibility and refrain from
imposing unnecessary technical standards. Instead, we seek to adopt those minimum requirements
necessary to protect against interference or effectuate other compelling public interest objectives. As
discussed above, the LTE standard was used to determine Protection Zones for the 1695-1710 MHz band,

309 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524 ¶ 112.
310 See supra ¶¶ 64-69.
311 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶ 85.
312 Id. at 11520 ¶ 99.
313 See, e.g., id. at ¶¶ 102-103.
314 See supra para. 5 (Spectrum Act requires Commission to license spectrum under flexible use service rules for
commercial use).
315 The Commission also observed that similar commercial mobile services such as PCS, AWS-1, and the 700 MHz
band deploy handsets using a variety of technologies, including CDMA and UMTS, as well as LTE. AWS-3 NPRM,
28 FCC Rcd at 11521 ¶102.
316 AIA Comments at 3 (emphasis omitted).
317 Raytheon Comments at 20 (emphasis in original). See supra 88-89.
318 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 20-21 (footnote omitted).
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but that does not require its adoption for all purposes.319 Where the rules that we adopt today differ from
proposed rules that reflected CSMAC’s assumptions, we also adopt corresponding changes to the
coordination zones. If in the future a licensee decides to use a technology other than LTE, the licensee
will still be subject to our technical rules. If the technology complies with our rules but nonetheless poses
a greater risk of interference to incumbent Federal operations, this development can be addressed as part
of the required coordination process. Accordingly, we see no reason to mandate use of LTE in the
AWS-3 bands.
9.

Canadian and Mexican Coordination

106.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission observed that section 27.57(c) of the rules320
provides that AWS-1 and AWS-4 operations are subject to international agreements with Mexico and
Canada, and proposed to apply the same limitation to the AWS-3 bands.321 No comments were submitted
on this proposal. In order to ensure efficient use of the spectrum and interference-free operations in the
border areas near Canada and Mexico, the Commission routinely works with the United States
Department of State and Canadian and Mexican government officials. Until such time as any adjusted
agreements, as needed, between the United States, Mexico and/or Canada can be agreed to, AWS-3
operations must not cause harmful interference across the border, consistent with the terms of the
agreements currently in force.322 We note that further modifications of the rules might be necessary in
order to comply with any future agreements with Canada and Mexico regarding the use of these bands.
10.

Other Technical Issues

107.
In addition to the specific technical issues addressed above, the Commission also noted
several rules that apply to Part 27 services generally, and proposed applying them to the AWS-3 bands as
well.323 Specifically, the Commission proposed applying the following rule sections: 27.51 Equipment
authorization, 27.52 RF safety, 27.54 Frequency stability, 27.56 Antennas structures; air navigation
safety, and 27.63 Disturbance of AM broadcast station antenna patterns.324 The Commission reasoned
that because AWS-3 will be a Part 27 service, these rules should apply to all AWS-3 licensees, including
those who acquire licenses through partitioning or disaggregation.325 No commenters opposed this
proposal. Accordingly, because these rules generally apply to all Part 27 services, and because, as we
explain below, we find it appropriate to license the AWS-3 spectrum under our Part 27 regulatory
framework,326 we conclude that the potential benefits of our proposal would outweigh any potential costs
and adopt the proposal to apply these additional Part 27 rules to AWS-3 licensees.327

319 See supra ¶¶ 83-89. For the 1755-1780 MHz band, the coordination requirement applies nationwide, and not just
to designated Protection Zones. See infra ¶¶ 220-222.
320 47 C.F.R. § 27.57(c).
321 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11523 ¶ 110.
322 The list of agreements includes the “Protocol Concerning the Transmission and Reception of Signals from
Satellites for the Provisions of Mobile-Satellite Services and Associated Feeder links in the United States of
America and the United Mexican States.”
323 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11523-24 ¶ 111.
324 Id.; 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.51, 27.52, 27.54, 27.56, 27.63.
325 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524 ¶ 111.
326 See infra Section III.C.3 (Regulatory Framework).
327 The Commission recently deleted Section 27.63. Rules governing disturbance of AM broadcast station antenna
patterns are now contained in Subpart BB of Part 1, 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.30000-1.30004.
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C.

Licensing and Operating Rules; Regulatory Issues

108.
The licensing and operating rules we adopt below provide AWS-3 licensees with the
flexibility to provide any fixed or mobile service that is consistent with the allocations for this spectrum.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on the appropriate license term, criteria for
renewal, and other licensing and operating rules pertaining to the AWS-3 band.328 In addition, the
Commission sought comment on the potential impact of all of our proposals on competition.329 Herein,
we adopt a set of service rules that set forth the license term, performance requirements, and license
renewal criteria and establish secondary market transaction and permanent discontinuance rules for all
AWS-3 wireless licenses. We also affirm that other rule parts that pertain generally to wireless
communication services will similarly apply to AWS-3 licensees.
1.

Assignment of Licenses

109.
Background. The Spectrum Act states that the Commission shall grant new initial
licenses for the 1695-1710 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands, and 15 additional megahertz of contiguous
spectrum to be identified by the Commission, through a system of competitive bidding pursuant to section
309(j) of the Communications Act.330 In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed for all AWS-3
bands, including 1755-1780 MHz and 2020-2025 MHz, to license on a geographic area basis, which
would permit the acceptance of mutually exclusive applications. As such, the Commission proposed to
resolve all AWS-3 applications and assign licenses through competitive bidding consistent with our
statutory mandate.331
110.
Discussion. We adopt the Commission’s proposal to assign initial licenses for the AWS-
3 bands through a system of competitive bidding. Further, we adopt the Commission’s proposal to
license AWS-3 spectrum bands on a geographic area basis and permit the acceptance of mutually
exclusive applications. AT&T, for example, agrees that the “initial assignments, in accordance with
Congress’ mandate, should be through a system of competitive bidding.”332 Thus, as detailed below, we
adopt rules to govern the use of a competitive bidding process for licensing all AWS-3 bands, including
1755-1780 MHz and 2020-2025 MHz.
2.

Flexible Use

111.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, consistent with the Spectrum Act’s mandate to
license according to flexible use service rules,333 the Commission proposed and sought comment on
service rules that permit a licensee to employ the spectrum for any non-Federal use permitted by the
United States Table of Frequency Allocations,334 subject to the Commission’s Part 27 flexible use and
other applicable rules (including service rules to avoid harmful interference).335 Thus, the Commission

328 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524-11536 ¶¶ 113-145.
329 See generally, AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524-11536 ¶¶ 113-145.
330 Spectrum Act, § 6401(b). The Commission is required to establish by regulation a competitive bidding
methodology in accordance with section 309(j)’s statutory requirements when assigning licenses through auction.
See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(3), (4).
331 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j).
332 AT&T Comments at 13. See also, Verizon Comments at 16.
333 Spectrum Act, § 6401(b)(1)(b).
334 47 C.F.R. § 2.106. In section III.D (Allocation Matters) infra, we propose amendments to the Table of
Frequency Allocations and tentatively conclude that these allocation proposals, together with our proposed service
rules, satisfy 47 U.S.C. § 303(y).
335 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524-11525 ¶ 115. Part 27 licensees must also comply with other Commission
rules of general applicability. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.3. In addition, flexible use in international border areas is subject
to any existing or future international agreements. See supra section III.B.9 (Canadian and Mexican Coordination).
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proposed that the spectrum may be used for any fixed or mobile service that is consistent with the
allocations for the band.336 The Commission sought comment on whether any restrictions are warranted
and how such restrictions would comport with the statutory mandates of section 6401 of the Spectrum
Act.337
112.
Discussion. In accordance with the Spectrum Act’s direction to license according to
flexible use service rules,338 we will license the AWS-3 spectrum under Part 27. We received no
comments on this specific proposal but found general support in the record for permitting flexible use.339
The Part 27 rules provide a broad and flexible regulatory framework for licensing spectrum, enabling the
spectrum to be used for a wide variety of broadband services, thereby promoting innovation and efficient
use of the spectrum.
3.

Regulatory Framework

113.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, we proposed licensing AWS-3 spectrum in
accordance with the flexible regulatory framework of Part 27 of our rules.340 We sought comment on our
proposal to license the AWS-3 band under Part 27’s service and licensing rules, and any associated costs
or benefits of doing so.341 We believe that our Part 27 rules are consistent with the Spectrum Act’s
requirement for “flexible-use service rules.”
114.
Discussion. We adopt the Commission’s proposal to license AWS-3 spectrum in
accordance with the flexible regulatory framework of Part 27 of our rules. We received no comments on
this issue. We note that unlike other rule parts applicable to specific services, Part 27 does not prescribe a
comprehensive set of licensing and operating rules for the spectrum to which it applies. Rather, for each
frequency band under its umbrella, Part 27 defines permissible uses and any limitations thereon, and
specifies basic licensing requirements.
4.

Regulatory Status

115.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to apply the regulatory
status provisions of Section 27.10 of the Commission’s Rules to licensees in the AWS-3 band.342
Specifically, Section 27.10 requires license applicants to identify the regulatory status of the services they
intend to provide, and permits applicants and licensees to request common carrier status, non-common
carrier status, private internal communications status, or a combination of these options, for authorization
in a single license (or to switch between them).343 The Commission also proposed that if a licensee
changes the service or services it offers such that its regulatory status would change, it must notify the
Commission within 30 days of the change.344
116.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal to apply Section 27.10 of our rules to AWS-3
licensees. Under this flexible regulatory approach, AWS-3 licensees may provide common carrier, non-

336 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524-11525 ¶ 115.
337 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11524-11525 ¶ 115.
338 Spectrum Act, § 6401(b)(1)(b).
339 See, e.g., TIA Comments at 14; Verizon Comments at 4.
340 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11525 ¶ 116. Part 27 licensees must also comply with other Commission rules of
general applicability. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.3.
341 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11525 ¶ 116.
342 Id. at 11525 ¶ 117.
343 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.10; Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish Part 27, The Wireless
Communications Service (WCS), 12 FCC Rcd 10785, 10846-48, ¶¶ 119-122 (1997) (Part 27 Report and Order).
344 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11526 ¶ 119.
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common carrier, private internal communications or any combination of these services, so long as the
provision of service otherwise complies with applicable service rules. We find that this broad licensing
framework is likely to achieve efficiencies in the licensing and administrative process and will provide
flexibility to the marketplace, thus encouraging licensees to develop new and innovative services.
Moreover, by applying this requirement to AWS-3 licensees, we will treat them the same as other Part 27
licensees, all of whom are subject to this rule. Although no commenters directly address this issue,
commenters do support increased regulatory flexibility generally.345 We conclude that this approach is in
the public interest and that its benefits likely outweigh any potential costs.
117.
We remind potential applicants that an election to provide service on a common carrier
basis requires that the elements of common carriage be present;346 otherwise the applicant must choose
non-common carrier status.347 If a potential licensee is unsure of the nature of its services and whether
classification as common carrier is appropriate, it may submit a petition with its application, or at any
time, requesting clarification and including service descriptions for that purpose.348
118.
Consistent with the Commission’s proposal in the AWS-3 NPRM,349 we extend to the
AWS-3 band our Part 27 requirement that if a licensee elects to change the service or services it offers
such that its regulatory status would change; it must notify the Commission and must do so within 30
days of making the change.350 A change in the licensee’s regulatory status will not require prior
Commission authorization, provided the licensee is in compliance with the foreign ownership
requirements of Section 310(b) of the Communications Act that apply as a result of the change.351 We
note, however, that a different time period (other than 30 days) may apply, as determined by the
Commission, where the change results in the discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of the existing
service.352
5.

Foreign Ownership Reporting

119.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission observed that Sections 310(a) and
310(b) of the Communications Act impose foreign ownership and citizenship requirements that restrict
the issuance of licenses to certain applicants.353 The Commission proposed to apply Section 27.12 of the
Commission’s rules, which implements Section 310, to applicants for AWS-3 licenses.354 With respect to
filing applications, the Commission proposed that all applicants provide the same foreign ownership
information, which covers both Sections 310(a) and 310(b), regardless of whether they propose to provide

345 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 4.
346 See 47 U.S.C. § 153(44) (“A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under this Act”);
see also 47 U.S.C. § 332(C)(1)(A) (“A person engaged in the provision of a service that is a commercial mobile
service shall, insofar as such person is so engaged, be treated as a common carrier for purposes of this Act”).
347 See Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10848, paras. 121-22.
348 Id. at 10848, para. 121.
349 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd 11479, 11526, para. 119.
350 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.10(d). See also 47 C.F.R. § 27.66 (directing a licensee to notify the Commission if it elects to
change its services such that its regulatory status would change).
351 47 U.S.C. § 310(b); see infra Licensing and Operating Rules; Regulatory Issues section (Foreign Ownership
Reporting).
352 See id. § 27.66.
353 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11527 ¶ 120.
354 Id. at 11526 ¶ 119.
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common carrier or non-common carrier service in the band.355 The Commission sought comment on this
proposal, including the associated costs and benefits.356
120.
Discussion. In order to fulfill our statutory obligations under Section 310 of the
Communications Act, we determine that all AWS-3 applicants and licensees shall be subject to the
provisions of Section 27.12 of the Commission’s rules.357 All such entities are subject to Section 310(a),
which prohibits licenses from being “granted to or held by any foreign government or the representative
thereof.”358 In addition, any applicant or licensee that would provide a common carrier, aeronautical en
route, or aeronautical fixed service would also be subject to the foreign ownership and citizenship
requirements of Section 310(b).359
121.
No commenters opposed (or commented on) the Commission’s proposal to require all
AWS-3 applicants and licensees to provide the same foreign ownership information in their filings,
regardless of the type of service the licensee would provide using its authorization. We believe that
applicants for this band should not be subject to different obligations in reporting their foreign ownership
based on the type of service authorization requested in the application and that the benefits of a uniform
approach outweigh any potential costs. Therefore, we will require all AWS-3 applicants and licensees to
provide the same foreign ownership information, which covers both Sections 310(a) and 310(b),
regardless of which service they propose to provide in the band. We expect, however, that we would be
unlikely to deny a license to an applicant requesting to provide services exclusively that are not subject to
Section 310(b), solely because its foreign ownership would disqualify it from receiving a license if the
applicant had applied for authority to provide Section 310(b) services. However, if any such licensee
later desires to provide any services that are subject to the restrictions in Section 310(b), we would require
that licensee to apply to the Commission for an amended license, and we would consider issues related to
foreign ownership at that time.
6.

Eligibility

122.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt an open eligibility
standard for the AWS-3 band.360 The Commission explained that opening the AWS-3 band to as wide a
range of licensees as possible would encourage efforts to develop new technologies, products, and
services, while helping to ensure efficient use of this spectrum.361
123.
The Commission also explained that section 6004 of the Spectrum Act restricts
participation in auctions required under the Spectrum Act by “person[s] who [have] been, for reasons of
national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract,
participating in an auction, or receiving a grant.”362 The Commission noted that, in the Incentive Auctions

355 Id. at 11527 ¶ 120.
356 Id. at 11527 ¶ 120.
357 47 C.F.R. § 27.12; see also Review of Foreign Ownership Policies for Common Carrier and Aeronautical Radio
Licensees under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, IB Docket No. 11-133, Second
Report and Order,
28 FCC Rcd 5741, App. B (2013) (adopting 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.990-1.994, which establish the
requirements and conditions for obtaining the Commission's prior approval of foreign ownership in common carrier,
aeronautical en route, and aeronautical fixed radio station licensees and common carrier spectrum lessees).
358 47 U.S.C. § 310(a).
359 Id. § 310(b).
360 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11527 ¶ 121.
361 Id. at 11527 ¶ 121.
362 See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11527 ¶ 121 quoting Spectrum Act, § 6004; 47 U.S.C. § 1404. We address in
Section III.C.11.d (Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act Requirements) below the application of Section 6004 to
the conduct of the AWS-3 auction.
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NPRM and in the H Block NPRM, it had sought comment on whether section 6004 permits or requires the
Commission to restrict eligibility of persons acquiring licenses on the secondary market, whether and to
what extent such a restriction is consistent with other provisions of the Communications Act, and what
procedures and rules, if any, should apply to persons acquiring licenses on the secondary market.363 In the
H Block R&O, the Commission adopted an eligibility rule providing that “[a] person described in 47
U.S.C. § 1404(c) is ineligible to hold a license that is required by 47 U.S.C. Chapter 13 (Middle Class
Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 125 Stat. 156 (2012)) to be assigned by a
system of competitive bidding under Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 309(j).”364
The Commission noted that this revised restriction will govern most of the AWS-3 spectrum365 and that,
until appropriate application forms are revised, applicants for spectrum subject to Section 6004 will be
required to include a certification as an attachment to the application and for applicants that are not
individuals, the same attribution standards that were adopted for short-form applications will apply.366
One commenter, Mobile Future, addressed the larger issue of the open eligibility proposal by commenting
that it supports such an approach.367
124.
Discussion. We find that nothing in the record demonstrates that we should adopt
restrictions on open eligibility. Therefore, we find that open eligibility for the AWS-3 band is consistent
with our statutory mandate to promote the development and rapid deployment of new technologies,
products, and services; economic opportunity and competition; and the efficient and intensive use of the
electromagnetic spectrum.368 We conclude, based on the record before us,369 that the potential benefits of
open eligibility for the AWS-3 band outweigh any potential costs.
125.
Section 27.12(b) of the Commission’s rules provides that “[a] person described in 47
U.S.C. § 1404(c) is ineligible to hold a license that is required by 47 U.S.C. Chapter 13 (Middle Class
Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 125 Stat. 156 (2012)) to be assigned by a
system of competitive bidding under Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 309(j).”370
We conclude that this provision governs the 1695-1710 MHz band, the 1755-1780 MHz band and the
2155-2180 MHz band as explained in the AWS-3 NPRM. Because we are pairing 1755-1780 MHz (15
megahertz of which we have identified as the “additional fifteen megahertz of contiguous spectrum”
under the Spectrum Act) with 2155-2180 MHz (all of which is subject to the Spectrum Act), we will treat
all 50 megahertz as subject to the statutory restriction.

363 Id. at 11527 ¶ 121 citing H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16286 ¶¶ 74-75. The Commission noted that section
6004 does not address eligibility to acquire licenses through transfers, assignments, or other secondary market
mechanisms from the initial or subsequent licensee. See, e.g., Incentive Auctions NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 12483-84 ¶
382 (citing Spectrum Act at § 6004(c)).
364 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11527 ¶ 121 n.285 citing H Block R&O at App. A; see also 47 C.F.R. § 27.12(b).
In the H Block R&O, the Commission also adopted an amendment to its rules to implement Section 6004 by adding
a national security certification to the application to participate in competitive bidding. See 47 C.F.R. §
1.2105(a)(2)(xii).
365 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11527 ¶ 121.
366 Id. at 11527 ¶ 121 n.286 citing H Block R&O at ¶ 187.
367 See Mobile Future Comments at 14 (arguing that the FCC should adopt an open eligibility standard for the
AWS-3 auction and that an open eligibility standard is consistent with the Spectrum Act).
368 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(3)(A), (B), & (D). We note, however, that applicants for AWS-3 licenses must comply
with any licensing qualifications required by statute or rule.
369 See AT&T Comments at 13 (arguing in favor of applying the eligibility policies in Part 27 of the Commission’s
rules).
370 47 C.F.R. § 27.12(b).
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7.

Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies

126.
Spectrum is an essential input for the provision of mobile wireless services, and ensuring
access to and the availability of sufficient spectrum is crucial to promoting the competition that drives
innovation and investment.371 Section 309(j)(3)(B) of the Communications Act provides that, in
designing systems of competitive bidding, the Commission shall “promot[e] economic opportunity and
competition and ensur[e] that new and innovative technologies are readily accessible to the American
people by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses.”372 Section 6404 of the Spectrum Act amends
Section 309(j) to bar the Commission from “prevent[ing] a person from participating in a system of
competitive bidding” thereunder if such person satisfies specified qualifications criteria. However, that
provision does not affect any authority the Commission has “to adopt and enforce rules of general
applicability, including rules concerning spectrum aggregation that promote competition.”373 In
September 2012, the Commission initiated a proceeding to review the mobile spectrum holdings policies
that currently apply to both secondary market transactions and competitive bidding.374 The Commission
indicated that, during the pendency of this proceeding, the Commission will continue to apply its current
case-by-case approach to evaluate mobile spectrum holdings during its consideration of secondary market
transactions and initial spectrum licensing after auctions.375
127.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether and how to address
mobile spectrum holding issues to meet our statutory requirements pursuant to Section 309(j)(3)(B) and
Section 6404 of the Spectrum Act and our goals for the AWS-3 band.376 The Commission also asked
whether the acquisition of each of the AWS-3 spectrum bands should be subject to the same general
mobile spectrum holding policies applicable to frequency bands that the Commission has found to be
suitable and available for the provision of mobile telephony/broadband services. Alternatively, it sought
comment on whether there were any reasons to distinguish AWS-3 spectrum for purposes of evaluating
mobile spectrum holdings.377 It asked commenters to discuss and quantify any costs and benefits
associated with any proposals.378
128.
USCC supports adopting a 25 percent limit on the amount of AWS-3 spectrum any one
auction participant may acquire in a single market to promote competition and diversity of license holders
in the band, which USCC asserts would encourage interoperability and roaming opportunities.379 Mobile
Future and Verizon Wireless oppose any auction-specific limits for the AWS-3 band.380 In particular,
Verizon Wireless opposes USCC’s proposal, claiming that USCC’s proposed spectrum limit is
unnecessary to prevent a lack of interoperability.381 CCA, RWA, Mobile Future, T-Mobile, Sprint, and

371 See generally Sixteenth Mobile Wireless Competition Report, 28 FCC Rcd 3700.
372 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(3)(B).
373 Spectrum Act, § 6404, 47 U.S.C. § 1404.
374 See Policies Regarding Mobile Spectrum Holdings, WT Docket No. 12-269, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27
FCC Rcd 11710 (2012) (Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM).
375 See Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 11718 n.59.
376 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11528 ¶ 122.
377 Id. at 11528 ¶ 123.
378 Id. at 11528 ¶ 123.
379 USCC Comments at 52.
380 Mobile Future Comments at 14; Verizon Wireless Reply at 6-7.
381 Verizon Wireless Reply at 6-7.
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Verizon Wireless encourage the Commission to conclude its Mobile Spectrum Holdings rulemaking prior
to making a determination on mobile spectrum holdings policies with regard to the AWS-3 bands.382
129.
We observe that parties commenting on spectrum holdings issues in the AWS-3
rulemaking have raised issues with broader applicability to the Mobile Spectrum Holdings rulemaking, in
addition to issues that relate to the characteristics of the AWS-3 bands. Given that we anticipate taking
action in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings rulemaking well in advance of the AWS-3 auction, we find that
rulemaking to be the most appropriate context in which to resolve whether any mobile spectrum holdings
policies should apply to the upcoming AWS-3 auction and whether the AWS-3 bands should be included
in the input market for spectrum used in the Commission’s competitive review of transactions.
8.

License Term, Performance Requirements, Renewal Criteria, Permanent
Discontinuance of Operations

a.

License Term

130.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to establish a 10-year term
for licenses for the AWS-3 band.383 The Commission noted that the Communications Act does not
specify a term limit for AWS band licenses384 and that it has adopted 10-year license terms for most
wireless radio services licenses.385 To maintain this consistency among wireless services, in the H Block
R&O
and the AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, the Commission adopted 10-year license terms.386 In addition,
the Commission proposed that, if an AWS-3 license is partitioned or disaggregated,387 any partitionee or
disaggregatee would be authorized to hold its license for the remainder of the partitioner’s or
disaggregator’s original license term.388 The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including
the associated costs and benefits.389
131.
Discussion. We adopt an initial license term for AWS-3 spectrum rights of 12 years and
subsequent renewal terms of 10 years and we modify Section 27.13 of the Commission’s rules to reflect
these determinations. The Communications Act does not require a specific term for non-broadcast
spectrum licenses.390 The Commission has typically adopted 10-year license terms for Part 27 services,391

382 See CCA Comments at 10; Mobile Future Comments at 14; T-Mobile Reply at 26; Sprint Reply at 3-4; RWA
Reply at 8-1; Verizon Wireless Comments at 13.
383 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11528 ¶ 124.
384 The only statutory limit on license terms is 8 years for licenses in the broadcast services. See 47 U.S.C.
§ 307(c)(1); see also 47 C.F.R. § 73.1020(a).
385 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11528 ¶ 129 n.292 citing, e.g., 47 C.F.R. §§ 24.15, 27.13(a).
386 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11528 ¶ 129 n.293 citing H Block R&O, ¶ 193; AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27
FCC Rcd at 16200 ¶ 262.
387 “Partitioning” is the assignment of geographic portions of a license along geopolitical or other boundaries.
“Disaggregation” is the assignment of discrete portions of “blocks” of spectrum licensed to a geographic licensee or
qualifying entity. Disaggregation allows for multiple transmitters in the same geographic area operated by different
companies on adjacent frequencies (thus increasing the possibility of harmful interference).
388 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11529 ¶ 125.
389 Id. at 11528 ¶ 124.
390 The only statutory limit on license terms is 8 years for licenses in the broadcast services. See 47 U.S.C.
§ 307(c)(1); see also 47 C.F.R. § 73.1020(a).
391 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.13, describing initial license terms for licensees in the 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz
bands (not to exceed 10 years), 698-758 MHz and 776-788 MHz bands (generally not to exceed 10 years), 1390-
1392 MHz band (not to exceed 10 years), 1392-1395 MHz and 1432-1435 MHz bands (not to exceed 10 years),
1670-1675 MHz band (not to exceed 10 years), 2200-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands (not to exceed 10
years); see also 47 C.F.R. § 24.15, describing initial license terms for PCS licensees (10 years); but see AWS-1
(continued….)
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but has also found, as in the case of AWS-1 licenses, a longer initial term to be in the public interest.392
We find that this approach is in the public interest and find that its benefits outweigh any potential costs.
Further, commenters generally support at least a 10-year license term.393 Given the complexities and
timing of clearing government operations in the AWS-3 bands, we agree with AT&T and USCC that a
longer initial license term is appropriate.394
132.
We decline, however, to adopt proposals by AT&T and USCC that the Commission
consider 15-year initial license term.395 We believe instead that a 12-year initial term adequately
compensates for the transition of government operations,396 and a 15-year initial term would be
unnecessarily long. Nevertheless, we direct the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to solicit comment
in the third year following the initial licensing of AWS-3 spectrum for the purpose of making a
recommendation to the Commission about whether an extension of the initial license term (and associated
build-out deadlines) by up to 3 years is warranted in light of the status of government relocation. We
agree with AT&T that the initial license term should match any adjustments extending the final build-out
benchmarks.397
133.
We adopt the Commission’s proposal that, if an AWS-3 license is partitioned or
disaggregated, any partitionee or disaggregatee would be authorized to hold its license for the remainder
of the partitioner’s or disaggregator’s original license term. No commenter addressed this proposal. We
note, however, that this approach is similar to the partitioning and disaggregation provisions that the
Commission adopted for BRS,398 for broadband PCS,399 for the 700 MHz band,400 and for AWS-1 licenses
at 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz,401 and AWS-4.402 We emphasize that nothing in our action is
intended to enable a licensee, by partitioning or disaggregating the license, to confer greater rights than it
(Continued from previous page)
Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25190 ¶ 70 (15 year initial term for licenses issued before 2010, thereafter, not to
exceed 10 years).
392 See, e.g., AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25190 ¶ 70 (finding issues related to the relocation of Federal
operations warranted an initial license term of 15 years).
393 See AT&T Comments at 15; Verizon Comments at 20; AT&T Reply Comments at 5-6; T-Mobile Comments
at 32.
394 AT&T Comments at 15; USCC Comments at 54-55.
395 AT&T Comments at 15; USCC Comments at 54-55.
396 Further, wireless licensees receive their licenses not at auction completion, but after a period of time following
the close of the auction to allow for license applications to be filed, processed, and reviewed to ensure the applicant
meets the applicable qualifications to hold a wireless license.
397 AT&T Comments at 15. See also, T-Mobile Comments at 32 (requesting that the Commission remain open to
case-by-case relief if ongoing government spectrum use impedes build-out longer than anticipated).
398 See Amendment of Parts 21 and 74 of the Commission’s Rules With Regard to Filing Procedures in the
Multipoint Distribution Service and in the Instructional Television Fixed Service, MM Docket No. 94-131, PP
Docket No. 93-253, Report and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 9589, 9614 ¶ 46 (1995).
399 See Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation by Commercial Mobile Radio Services Licensees, WT
Docket No. 96-148, GN Docket No. 96-113, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 11
FCC Rcd 21831, 21870 ¶¶ 76-77 (1996).
400 See Service Rules for the 746-764 and 776-794 MHz Bands, and Revisions to Part 27 of the Commission’s
Rules, WT Docket No. 99-168, First Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 476, 506-08 ¶¶ 74-78 (2000); Reallocation and
Service Rules for 698-746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 52-59), GN Docket No. 01-74, Report and
Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 1022, 1079-81 ¶¶ 152-157 (2002).
401 AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25193-95 ¶¶ 81-83.
402 AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27 FCC Rcd at 16200 ¶ 263.
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was awarded under the terms of its license grant. Similarly, nothing in this action is intended to enable
any partitionee or disaggregatee to obtain rights in excess of those previously possessed by the underlying
licensee.
b.

Performance Requirements

134.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt specific,
quantifiable performance requirements for AWS-3 licensees to ensure that licensees begin providing
service to consumers in a timely manner.403 In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to measure
build-out progress using a population-based benchmark within each license area, and sought comment on
whether it should adopt an interim benchmark, an end-of-term benchmark, or other requirements.404 In
addition, in the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on appropriate performance benchmarks
for any AWS-3 uplink spectrum paired with downlink spectrum in a band other than AWS-3 and for areas
where Federal use limits or prohibits AWS-3 use.405 Further, the Commission sought comment on
whether performance requirements are necessary for service areas within the Gulf of Mexico.406 Along
with performance benchmarks, the Commission noted that there must be meaningful and enforceable
consequences, or penalties, for failing to meet construction requirements.407 Toward that end, the
Commission also sought comment on a number of different penalties, seeking input on which set of
incentives would most effectively ensure timely build-out in this band.408
135.
Discussion. We establish performance requirements to promote the productive use of
spectrum, to encourage licensees to provide service to customers in a timely manner, and to promote the
provision of innovative services in unserved areas, particularly rural ones.409 Over the years, the
Commission has tailored performance and construction requirements with an eye to the unique
characteristics of individual frequency bands and the types of services expected, among other factors.
Our goal is to ensure that timely and robust build-out occurs in these bands and, for the reasons discussed
below, we believe that concrete interim and final build-out benchmarks will best facilitate meeting this
goal. The performance requirements we establish for the AWS-3 band are consistent with those the
Commission has adopted in recent items for other spectrum bands,410 while taking into account certain
exceptional circumstances related to the timing for the transition of this spectrum from government use to
wireless use.411 These requirements will ensure that the AWS-3 spectrum is put to use expeditiously
while providing licensees with flexibility to deploy services according to their business plans.412
Specifically, we require:

403 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11530 ¶ 127-129.
404 Id. at 11530 ¶¶ 127-129.
405 Id. at 11530 ¶ 129.
406 Id. at 11530 ¶ 129.
407 Id. at 11530-31 ¶¶ 130-131.
408 Id. at 11530-31 ¶¶ 130-131.
409 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15348 ¶ 154.
410 See, e.g., AWS-4 Service Rules Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16173-74 ¶ 187; H Block Report and Order,
28 FCC Rcd at 9558 ¶ 195.
411 As noted below in the Partitioning and Disaggregation section, the performance requirements we adopt also
apply to disaggregated spectrum or partitioned geographic service areas. See infra III.C.8.e(i) (Partitioning and
Disaggregation). See 47 C.F.R. § 27.15(d) (addressing compliance with construction requirements).
412 But see USCC Comments at 61 (stating that uniform coverage standards are inherently arbitrary).
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AWS-3 Interim Build-out Requirement: Within six (6) years of an initial grant, licensee shall
provide reliable signal coverage and offer service to at least forty (40) percent of the
population in each of its license areas.
AWS-3 Final Build-out Requirement: By the end of the initial license term, i.e., within twelve
(12) years, a licensee shall provide reliable signal coverage and offer service to at least
seventy-five (75) percent of the population in each of its license areas.
136.
Additionally, we adopt the following penalties for failing to meet the build-out
benchmarks:
Failure to meet AWS-3 band interim build-out requirement: In the event a licensee fails to
meet the AWS-3 Interim Build-out Requirement in its license area, the final build-out
requirement and initial license term shall be accelerated by 2 years (from 12 to 10).
Failure to meet AWS-3 band final build-out requirement: In the event a licensee fails to meet
the AWS-3 Final Build-out Requirement for any licensed area, the license for each licensed
area in which it fails to meet the build-out requirement shall terminate automatically without
Commission action.
137.
Based on the record before us,413 we find that these performance requirements are in the
public interest and that the benefits of these requirements outweigh any potential costs. We explain
below the rationale for these performance requirements, and the attendant penalties for failure to comply.
We also discuss below how we will measure build-out in the Gulf of Mexico.
138.
Population-based benchmark, [per license area]. Supported by a number of comments
in the record,414 we adopt the proposal to use objective, population-based interim and final construction
benchmarks, which will be measured per license area. Requiring AWS-3 licensees to meet these
performance benchmarks will promote rapid deployment of new broadband services to the American
public, and at the same time provide licensees with certainty regarding their construction obligations. We
agree with Verizon that, for this spectrum band, measuring build-out by percentage of population served
“will ensure that licensees provide wireless broadband services where customers actually will use them
and need them.”415 Further, Blooston Rural Carriers argues that population-based AWS-3 construction
requirements are appropriate for CMA license areas.416
139.
We are not persuaded by arguments that our build-out requirements must be geography-
based, or include a geographic component, in order to ensure that less densely populated, often rural,

413 Verizon Comments at 21-22; Verizon Reply Comments at 2-3; AT&T Comments at 14; AT&T Reply Comments
at 5-6; T-Mobile Comments at 32-33. But see, USCC Reply Comments at 57 (arguing for 30 percent coverage
within 4 years or 35 percent coverage within 5 years). Blooston Rural Carriers states that the Commission’s
proposed benchmarks may be appropriate if smaller CMA license areas are used, but they may result in large
amounts of AWS-3 spectrum in rural areas remaining unused if the FCC licenses the AWS-3 spectrum on the basis
of EAs. Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 6.
414 Verizon Comments at 20-21; Verizon Reply at 2. AT&T and a number of other commenters generally support
the Commission’s proposals regarding license term and performance requirements. See, e.g., AT&T Comments at
14-15; T-Mobile Comments at 32-33; AT&T Reply Comments at 5, n.15.
415 Verizon Comments at 22.
416 Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 6 (arguing that the Commission’s proposed benchmarks may be
appropriate if the Commission selects CMA-based licenses, but may result in large amounts of AWS-3 spectrum in
rural areas remaining unused if the Commission licenses AWS-3 spectrum on the basis of EAs).
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communities have timely access to the most advanced mobile broadband services.417 We agree that it is
important to promote rapid broadband deployment in rural areas. In fact, Section 309(j)(4)(B) of the Act
requires that the Commission “include performance requirements, such as appropriate deadlines and
penalties for performance failures, to ensure prompt delivery of service to rural areas.”418 We find that
adopting relatively small, CMA and EA-based license areas, and requiring licensees to meet challenging
population-based benchmarks in each individual license area separately, strikes an appropriate balance
between providing flexibility to AWS-3 band licensees to deploy their networks in a cost-effective
manner and assertively promoting deployment of service to less densely populated areas. We note that
nothing about our decision to require population-based benchmarks in this band would foreclose our
ability to impose geographic-based benchmarks in other spectrum bands that may warrant different
considerations.419
140.
Further, we reject Verizon’s request that we measure compliance with the interim
benchmark in the aggregate, i.e., by summing the population of all of a licensees’ authorizations for
AWS-3 spectrum.420 Creating benchmarks on a per-license basis, rather than in the aggregate, is
consistent with our build-out requirements in other, similar spectrum bands.421 Further, this approach
allows for more flexibility and certainty in licensing. In addition, measuring benchmarks on a per-license
basis is consistent with our determination to license service on a geographic basis and hold a licensee
accountable for meeting performance obligations for all of the licenses (including partitioned licenses)
that it holds. For example, should a licensee partition some of its AWS-3 spectrum, a percentage-based
approach would apply to each partitioned license. In contrast, it is not clear how the responsibility for
meeting benchmarks for partitioned and disaggregated licenses would be handled under Verizon’s
proposal.
141.
Areas unavailable due to Federal relocation and coordination requirements. A number
of commenters argue that the population of an area in which AWS-3 operations are prohibited to protect
government operations should be excluded when determining whether a licensee has met its build-out
requirements.422 We find that this scenario is best addressed by the extended interim and final
construction benchmarks because we believe that applying the same performance requirements to all
AWS-3 licensees will help ensure that licensees build out their entire licensed service areas. We also
generally agree that if a licensee demonstrates that it is unable to meet a coverage requirement due to
circumstances beyond its control, an extension of the coverage period might be warranted.423

417 RWA Comments at 3, 6-7 (arguing that geographic-based performance requirements rather than population-
based requirements will prevent spectrum warehousing and promote build-out to rural and remote areas); RWA
Reply Comments at 6; NTCH Replay at 2.
418 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(4)(B).
419 For example, we observe that the Commission established geographic-based performance requirements for the
700 MHz B Block in light of technical characteristics and the CMA geographic license area size specific to that
band. See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15349 ¶¶ 157-58 (adopting geographic-based
benchmarks).
420 Verizon Comments at 21 (compliance measurements based on summing the population of all of a licensee’s
authorizations in the AWS-3 band); Verizon Ex Parte dated Feb. 3, 2014 at 2.
421 See, e.g., H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9558 ¶ 195; 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC
Rcd at 15348-49 ¶ 155.
422 Verizon Reply Comments at 3; T-Mobile Comments at 32; USCC Comments at 67; Raytheon Comments at
38-39; Raytheon Reply Comments at 12-13.
423 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.946(e).
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142.
Interim Benchmark. We find that requiring an interim milestone is supported by the
record,424 serves the public interest, and is similar to our approach in other, similar spectrum bands.425 A
40 percent build-out per license area benchmark is consistent with the interim benchmarks established in
other bands426 and with various proposals suggested by commenters. For instance, Verizon proposes
adopting a build-out requirement of 40 percent of the population within 4 years.427 Blooston Rural
Carriers also supports the Commission’s proposed interim benchmark, but only if the Commission
licenses the AWS-3 spectrum according to CMAs.428
143.
Several commenters argue that the FCC should start the build-out period on a date certain
that is after the final transition date for government operations.429 We decline to do so. Instead, we set
the interim build-out benchmark 6 years from the grant of the license, which should adequately account
for the period of time it will take for Federal users to relocate out of the bands being reallocated for
commercial use. Further, setting a date certain that is tied to initial grant of the AWS-3 band license will
provide greater certainty to AWS-3 band licensees, their investors, and other interested parties. This does
not mean, however, that an AWS-3 band licensee must wait for the all Federal users to relocate; an
AWS-3 licensee can begin operating in a specific license area after successful coordination and as soon as
it is confirmed that the Federal users have fully relocated out of that particular license area based on their
projected transition timelines.
144.
We reject the proposal of commenters who advocate a “substantial service” standard as
the only gauge of performance.430 Our purpose is to ensure that timely and robust build-out occurs in this
band and for the reasons enumerated above, we believe that concrete interim and final build-out
benchmarks best advance this goal. Further, we note that in recent Commission decisions, the
Commission has replaced the substantial service standard with specific interim and final build-out
requirements.431
145.
Evaluation of reliable signal coverage and service offering for unpaired, uplink only
licenses at 1695-1710 MHz. As discussed above, the 1695-1710 MHz band is low-power, uplink-only
spectrum and must be paired with base stations. For the Commission to determine whether the 1695-
1710 MHz band licensee is meeting its performance benchmarks, the 1695-1710 MHz band licensee must
pair this uplink spectrum with downlink spectrum. Once the licensee’s base stations are built or modified
to control and receive 1695-1710 MHz uplinks,432 the reliable signal coverage of such base stations (in

424 Verizon Comments at 21.
425 But see, USCC Comments at 64 (arguing that a strict coverage requirement, particularly one occurring in the
midst of a license term would severely prejudice small and medium size carriers).
426 See, e.g., AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16174 ¶ 187; 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC
Rcd at 15351 ¶ 162.
427 Verizon Comments at 21. But see USCC Reply Comments at 56-57 (arguing that the Commission should adopt
a 6-year interim milestone).
428 Blooston Rural Carriers Comments at 6.
429 AT&T Comments at 14-15; AT&T Reply Comments at 6; AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1; Verizon
Reply Comments at 3. See also, T-Mobile Comments at 33.
430 USCC Comments at 55-56 (arguing that the Commission should apply the “substantial service” construction
standard to AWS-3 licenses, as it did for AWS-1 licensees); USCC Reply Comments at 50.
431 AWS-4 Service Rules Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16173-74 ¶ 187; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd
at 9558 ¶ 195.
432 Any base station to be built or modified that is located in a Protection Zone, see infra App. A, 47 C.F.R. § 2.106
footnote US 88, must be successfully coordinated with Federal incumbents prior to enabling/serving uplink devices
that transmit in the 1695-1710 MHz.
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bands paired with 1695-1710 MHz) will determine the percentage of the population served in the licensed
area of the 1695-1710 MHz uplinks, assuming that the licensee is offering service that includes UE that
transmits in the 1695-1710 MHz band. The 1695-1710 MHz licensee must show that it is complying with
the build-out requirements applicable to all AWS-3 licensees, in addition to separately meeting the
performance obligations for any spectrum bands paired with the 1695-1710 MHz spectrum.433
146.
Penalty for failure to meet the interim benchmark. Commenters generally support the
Commission’s proposal to assess a penalty on licensees that fail to meet the interim construction
benchmark.434 Therefore, like similar spectrum bands,435 we accelerate by 2 years the time frame to
complete build-out and the length of the license term. Because the initial license term is 12 years,436 if a
licensee fails to meet the interim benchmark, it must complete its final build-out requirement within 10
years, when its license term also expires.
147.
Final Benchmark. Within 12 years of the initial grant (or 10 years if the interim
benchmark is not met), a licensee shall provide reliable coverage and offer wireless service to at least 75
percent of the population in each of its license areas. Commenters generally support the Commission’s
approach.437 Establishing a final build-out benchmark that coincides with the end of the initial license
term is consistent with how the Commission has formulated performance requirements in other spectrum
bands.438 Because we have set the interim benchmark at 6 years and we have created a 12-year initial
license term, we find Verizon’s suggestion that we establish a 7-year final build-out requirement to be
unduly accelerated and we therefore decline to adopt it.439 Under the circumstances, a 12-year
construction milestone provides a reasonable timeframe for a licensee to deploy its network and offer
widespread service, provided it meets its interim benchmark. Licensees that do not meet the 6-year
interim benchmark must accelerate their final build out by 2 years to meet the final benchmark by the end
of their shortened, 10-year license term.
148.
Penalty for failure to meet the final benchmark. Where a licensee fails to meet the final
build-out requirement in any EA or CMA, its authorization for each EA or CMA in which it fails to meet
the requirement shall terminate automatically without further Commission action. Automatic termination
is a common remedy for failure to build Part 27 flexible use licenses and is the approach adopted by the
Commission in the AWS-4 Report and Order and the H Block Report and Order.440 By terminating only
the specific licenses where a licensee fails to meet the final benchmark, we will not directly affect a
licensee’s customers in other license areas.441 We decline to adopt “keep-what-you-use” as a penalty for

433 If the 1695-1700 MHz licensee fails to meet a benchmark, it will be subject to penalties discussed herein.
However, failure to meet an AWS-3 band benchmark would not affect the downlink side of the pair, assuming that
the licensee was complying with the performance obligations for that downlink spectrum.
434 See, e.g., USCC Comments at 59 (arguing that failure to meet the interim benchmark should accelerate final
build-out by 1 year).
435 See, e.g., 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15351 ¶ 163; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC
Rcd at 9558 ¶ 195.
436 See supra III.C.8.a (License Term)
437 T-Mobile Comments at 32; AT&T Reply Comments at 14; AT&T Comments at 5-6. But see, USCC Comments
at 67 (arguing for a 66 percent coverage requirement due at 10 years).
438 See, e.g., 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15293 ¶ 6; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd
at 9558 ¶ 195. But see, Verizon Comments at 20-21 (arguing for a 10-year license term with the final build-out
requirement due at 7 years).
439 Verizon Comments at 21.
440 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g)(2) and 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(h)(2).
441 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 ¶ 202; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9563 ¶
211.
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failure to meet construction requirements as some commenters suggest,442 because these proposals may
encourage less robust build-out by a licensee that decides not to fully build out to the final benchmark.
149.
As a general matter, we expect that AWS-3 band licensees will meet the performance
requirements because of the serious consequences associated with non-compliance, including automatic
license cancellation. Further, we expect that licensees’ deployment will generally exceed the levels set
forth in the benchmarks, and that these build-out requirements generally represent a floor – not a ceiling.
As for USCC’s assertion that automatic termination is too punitive,443 the Commission has explained in
the past that we do not consider automatic termination to be overly punitive or unfair, particularly given
that the Commission has applied this approach to nearly all geographically-licensed wireless services.444
Further, the Commission has rejected the argument, and we do so again here, that an automatic
termination penalty would deter capital investment,445 observing that the wireless industry has invested
billions of dollars and has flourished under this paradigm in other spectrum bands.446 For the same
reason, we believe that an automatic termination penalty will have little effect on auction participation, as
suggested by USCC.447 Finally, we do not agree with USCC that automatic termination harms the public
because, even if a customer loses service from a provider when it loses spectrum rights for a particular
EA or CMA,448 alternative providers may be available. We also expect that a future licensee for that EA
or CMA may ultimately be able to serve more customers.449
150.
In the event a licensee’s authority to operate terminates, the licensee’s spectrum rights
would become available for reassignment pursuant to the competitive bidding provisions of section
309(j). Further, consistent with the Commission’s rules for other Part 27 spectrum bands, including
AWS-1, AWS-4, and H Block, any AWS-3 licensee who forfeits its license for failure to meet its
performance requirements would be precluded from regaining the license.450 Therefore, we reject
Verizon’s “new applicant” proposal that would effectively provide a mechanism for a licensee who failed

442 AT&T Comments at 14; AT&T Reply Comments at 6; USCC Comments at 69; Verizon Comments at 21; CCA
Comments at 9-10; Verizon Ex Parte dated Feb. 3, 2014 at 2. Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 6.
Blooston Rural Carriers argues that penalties for failure to meet AWS-3 construction requirements should be limited
to a forfeiture of unused spectrum at the final construction milestone pursuant to a “keep what you use” rule that
allows for a reasonable interference protection zone around constructed facilities. Blooston Rural Carriers also
argues that harsh penalties such as license cancellation are inappropriate because this creates the risk of stranded
investment and interruption of service to existing subscribers.
443 USCC Comments at 68.
444 See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9564 ¶ 212; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 ¶
204; Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless Communications
Services in the 2.3 GHz Band
, WT Docket No. 07-293, IB Docket No. 95-91, GEN Docket No. 90-357, RM-8610,
Report and Order and Second Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 11710, 11796 ¶ 214 (2010) (2010 WCS Order);
Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless Communications Services
in the 2.3 GHz Band, WT Docket No. 07-293, IB Docket No. 95-91, Order on Reconsideration, 27 FCC Rcd 13651,
13704 ¶ 131 (2012 WCS Order).
445 USCC Comments at 69.
446 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 ¶ 204 (citing 2010 WCS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 11796 ¶ 214;
2012 WCS Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 13704 ¶ 131).
447 USCC Comments at 69.
448 Id. at 68-69.
449 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 ¶ 212.
450 See, e.g., 27 C.F.R. § 27.14(a),(q)(6), (r)(4).
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to meet the final build-out requirement to continue to hold onto its fallow spectrum unless a competing
bidder emerged.451
151.
Gulf of Mexico. Having received no comments on the Gulf of Mexico performance
requirements, and recognizing that we are licensing wireless service in the Gulf (as EA 176), we adopt the
same coverage requirements as set forth above. We note one exception, however: we will calculate
“population” pursuant to the approach taken in Small Ventures Memorandum Opinion and Order.452 In
that order, the Wireless Bureau recognized that using the conventional Census tract methodology for
determining population in the Gulf of Mexico would be infeasible because the EAs in the Gulf consist of
a body of water with non-permanent, mobile residents.453 Consistent with that order, we allow a Gulf of
Mexico licensee to use all off-shore platforms, including production, manifold, compression, pumping
and valving platforms as a proxy for population in the Gulf of Mexico for purposes of meeting build-out
obligations.454 Thus, in lieu of measuring its build-out obligations based on population, a licensee serving
the Gulf of Mexico shall within six (6) years provide reliable coverage and offer wireless service to at
least forty (40) percent of all off-shore platforms in its license areas and within 12 years (or at the end of
the license term455 ), provide reliable coverage and offer wireless service to at least 75 percent of all off-
shore platforms in its license area in the Gulf of Mexico. All penalties and other compliance procedures
adopted herein, excluding those in note 462, supra, discussing the methodology for meeting population-
based build-out requirements, shall apply to a Gulf of Mexico licensee.
152.
Compliance Procedures. Finding the proposed compliance procedures to be in the public
interest and having received no comments on the issue, we adopt the proposal in the AWS-3 NPRM to
require AWS-3 licensees to comply with Section 1.946(d) of our rules.456 Specifically, this rule requires
that licensees must demonstrate compliance with their performance requirements by filing a construction
notification within 15 days of the relevant milestone certifying that they have met the applicable
performance benchmark.457 Additionally, consistent with the AWS-4 Report & Order and the H Block
R&O
,458 we require that each construction notification include electronic coverage maps and supporting
documentation, which must be truthful and accurate and must not omit material information that is
necessary for the Commission to determine compliance with its performance requirements.459

451 Verizon Comments at 22.
452 See Small Ventures USA, LP and Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless Request for Waiver and Applications
for Assignment of 700 MHz C Block License
, WT Docket No. 12-373, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 28 FCC
Rcd 6569, 6572-73 ¶¶ 9-12 (MD/WTB 2013) (Small Ventures Memorandum Opinion and Order).
453 See Small Ventures Memorandum Opinion and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 6572 ¶ 11; see also note 462.
454 See Small Ventures Memorandum Opinion and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 6569, 6572-73 ¶¶ 9-12.
455 If a licensee fails to meet the interim benchmark, the final benchmark and initial license term are accelerated by
2 years – from 12 to 10 years.
456 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11531 ¶ 132.
457 47 C.F.R. § 1.946(d) (“notification[s] must be filed with Commission within 15 days of the expiration of the
applicable construction or coverage period”).
458 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16181 ¶ 206; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9565-66
¶¶ 215-216.
459 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11531 ¶¶ 132-133, 407 (citing 47 C.F.R. § 1.17 (Truthful and accurate statements
to the Commission); 47 C.F.R. § 1.917(c) (“Willful false statements . . . are punishable by fine and imprisonment,
18 U.S.C. 1001, and by appropriate administrative sanctions, including revocation of station license pursuant to
312(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.”).
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153.
Electronic coverage maps must accurately depict the boundaries of each license area in
the licensee’s service territory.460 If a licensee does not provide reliable signal coverage to an entire CMA
or EA, as applicable, its map must accurately depict the boundaries of the area or areas within each CMA
or EA, as applicable, not being served. Each licensee also must file supporting documentation certifying
the type of service it is providing for each licensed area within its service territory and the type of
technology used to provide such service. Supporting documentation must include the assumptions used
to create the coverage maps, including the propagation model and the signal strength necessary to provide
reliable service with the licensee’s technology.
154.
The licensee must use the most recently available decennial U.S. Census Data at the time
of measurement to meet the population-based build out requirements.461 Specifically, a licensee must
base its claims of population served on areas no larger than the Census Tract level.462 This requirement
tracks the Commission’s action requiring broadband service providers to report “snapshots” of broadband
service at the Census Tract level twice each year by completing FCC Form 477.463
c.

Renewal Criteria

155.
Background. Section 308(b) of the Communications Act authorizes the Commission to
require renewal applicants to “set forth such facts as the Commission by regulation may prescribe as to
the citizenship, character, and financial, technical, and other qualifications of the applicant to operate the
station[,]” as well as “such other information as it may require.”464 In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission
proposed to adopt license renewal requirements consistent with those adopted in the 700 MHz First
Report and Order
, the AWS-4 Report and Order, and the H Block R&O. 465 Under those requirements,
renewal applicants must file a “renewal showing,” in which they demonstrate that they have been and are
continuing to provide service to the public, and are compliant with the Communications Act and with the
Commission’s rules and policies.466 In the AWS-3 NPRM, we proposed to apply to AWS-3 licensees the
same renewal showing requirement recently adopted in the H Block R&O.467

460 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(p)(7).
461 Id. § 27.14(h).
462 The Census Bureau defines Census Tracts as “small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county
delineated by local participants as part of the U.S. Census Bureau's Participant Statistical Areas Program . . . T]he
entire United States is covered by census tracts.” U.S. Census Bureau,
http://www.census.gov/geo/www/geo_defn.html#CensusTract (last visited April 1, 2013).
463 See, e.g., Development of Nationwide Broadband Data to Evaluate Reasonable and Timely Deployment of
Advanced Services to All Americans, Improvement of Wireless Broadband Subscribership Data, and Development
of Data on Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Subscribership, WC Docket No. 07-38, Report and
Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 23 FCC Rcd 9691 (2008). Specifically, the Commission
modified FCC Form 477 to require (1) wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to
report the number of broadband connections in service in individual Census Tracts; and (2) mobile wireless
broadband service providers to identify those Census Tracts in which they offer service. See id. at 6995-99, ¶¶ 10-
16.
464 47 U.S.C. § 308(b). See also AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11531 ¶ 134.
465 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11531-32 ¶ 134. Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz
Bands, WT Docket No. 06-150, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd at
8093-94 ¶¶ 75-77 (2007) (700 MHz First Report and Order); AWS-4 Service Rules R&O at 16201-16202 ¶ 269-71;
H Block R&O, ¶¶ 223-227. See also Amendment of Parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 74, 80, 90, 95, and 101 To Establish
Uniform License Renewal, Discontinuance of Operation, and Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation
Rules and Policies for Certain Wireless Radio Services, WT Docket No. 10-112, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
and Order
, 25 FCC Rcd at 6997-98, 7002-09 ¶¶ 2, 16-32 (2010) (WRS Renewals NPRM and Order).
466 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11532 ¶ 135. The 700 MHz band renewal showing must include: the level and
quality of service provided, whether service was ever interrupted or discontinued, whether service has been provided
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156.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether AWS-3 band
licensees should be awarded renewal expectancies if they meet their performance obligations and
otherwise comply with the Commission’s rules and policies and the Communications Act throughout
their license term.468 The Commission also inquired whether licensees should receive a renewal
expectancy for subsequent license terms if they continue to provide at least the level of service
demonstrated at the final performance benchmark through the end of any subsequent license terms.469
Finally, the Commission proposed that, consistent with its 700 MHz licensing paradigm, it would prohibit
the filing of competing license renewal applications, and that if a license is not renewed, the associated
spectrum would be returned to the Commission for assignment.470
157.
Discussion. Pursuant to Section 308(b) of the Communications Act, we will require
AWS-3 band licensees seeking license renewal to file renewal applications; below, we specify the
information that renewal applicants must provide to enable the Commission to assess whether renewal is
warranted and in the public interest. Where a license is not renewed, the associated spectrum will be
returned to the Commission and made available for assignment.471 We will not permit the filing of
competing applications against license renewal applications.
158.
We apply to AWS-3 band licensees the same renewal showing requirements we recently
adopted for the H Block.472 Specifically, an AWS-3 band licensee’s renewal showing must provide a
detailed description of its provision of service during the entire license period and discuss: (1) the level
and quality of service provided (including the population served, the area served, the number of
subscribers, and the services offered); (2) the date service commenced, whether service was ever
interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage; (3) the extent to which service is provided to
rural areas; (4) the extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal land as defined in Section
1.2110(e)(3)(i) of the Commission’s rules; and (5) any other factors associated with the level of service to
the public. Accordingly, we hereby modify Section 27.14 of the Commission’s rules to apply these
renewal showing criteria to the AWS-3 bands.473
159.
Based on the record before us and our analysis below, we find that the renewal
requirements we establish for AWS-3 band licensees are in the public interest and that their benefits
outweigh any likely costs. In recent years, the Commission has refined its license renewal policies—
beginning with the 700 MHz First Report and Order in 2007, later in the AWS-4 Report and Order, and
(Continued from previous page)
to rural areas, and any other factors associated with a licensee’s level of service to the public. 700 MHz First Report
and Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 ¶ 75. See also AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶ 271; H Block
Report and Order
, 28 FCC Rcd at 9567-68 ¶ 223. The Commission proposed the tribal lands renewal requirement
in the WRS Renewals NPRM and Order (subsequent to the 700 MHz First Report and Order), and first adopted it in
the AWS-4 Report and Order. WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7043 App. A; AWS-4 Report and
Order
, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶ 271.
467 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11531-32 ¶ 134; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9567-68 ¶ 223.
468 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11532 ¶ 136.
469 Id. at 11532 ¶ 136.
470 Id. at 11532 ¶ 137; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6998, 7013-14 ¶¶ 3, 43-44; 700 MHz First
Report and Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 ¶ 76.
471 See WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6998, 7013-14 ¶¶ 3, 43-44; 700 MHz First Report and
Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 ¶ 76.
472 H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9567-68 ¶ 223.
473 See App. A, 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(s)(6). Nothing in our decision today prejudges or forecloses the Commission’s
future consideration of the policies and proposed rules, and related record, for the WRS Renewals NPRM, which
remains pending. See WRS Renewals NPRM and Order. In addition, we emphasize that licensees seeking renewal
bear the risk of future changes to our rules that may alter this renewal expectancy.
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more recently in the H Block Report and Order. Through these actions, we have established that
licensees must demonstrate that they are providing adequate levels of service over the course of their
license terms, and here we act consistently with that policy. Consequently, we adopt renewal criteria for
the AWS-3 band that are based on those criteria adopted in the 700 MHz First Report and Order and that
were similarly followed in the AWS-4 Report and Order and the H Block Report and Order.474 We
believe these renewal requirements will provide licensees certainty regarding the factors that the
Commission will consider during the renewal process, thereby facilitating investment decisions regarding
broadband rollout. We also find that these requirements address commenters’ concerns that the renewal
process not unnecessarily burden licensees or deter investment.475
160.
In adopting these criteria, we decline to adopt at this time AT&T’s proposal to
categorically provide a renewal expectancy to all licensees that meet their performance requirements and
comply with the Communications Act and the Commission’s rules.476 USCC claims that renewal
expectancies, based solely on performance requirements, would provide certainty to licensees and
investors.477 As the Commission has consistently stated, performance and renewal showings are distinct;
they serve different purposes and, if not met, the Commission may apply different penalties.478 A
performance showing provides a snapshot in time of the level of a licensee’s service, whereas a renewal
showing provides information regarding the level and types of service provided over the course of a
license term.479 We disagree, therefore, with AT&T’s contention that there is “no identifiable benefit” to
requiring licensees to make a renewal showing.480 We emphasize that where a licensee meets the
applicable performance requirements, but fails to provide continuity of service (by, for example,
repeatedly discontinuing operations between required performance showings for periods of less than 180
days), the Commission could find that renewal would be contrary to the public interest.481 Where a
licensee fails to meet its interim performance requirement and becomes subject to a 2-year acceleration of
both its final performance requirement and its license term, its final performance showing might merely
reflect a snapshot in time of compliance with the performance requirement. By contrast, its renewal
application must provide a timeline of its provision of service, the percentage of the license-area
population covered, and types of service provided over the course of the license term, including any
efforts to meet the interim performance requirement.
161.
For subsequent license terms, licensees are likely—absent extraordinary circumstances—
to obtain license renewal if they submit satisfactory showings demonstrating that they have maintained or
exceeded the level of coverage and service required at the final performance benchmark (during the initial

474 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶ 271; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9567-68
¶ 223.
475 AT&T Comments at 15-16; AT&T Reply Comments at 10, n.39; AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1; T-
Mobile Comments at 33; USCC Comments at 56-58.
476 AT&T Reply Comments at 10-11; AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1.
477 USCC Comments at 56-57.
478 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶ 270; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd
at 8093 ¶ 75; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6997-98, 7004-11 ¶¶ 2, 21-35.
479 See, e.g., AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16200-01 ¶ 264; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC
Rcd at 8093 ¶ 75; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7004-06 ¶¶ 21-24.
480 AT&T Comments at 16.
481 See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9569 ¶ 227. We note that, in addressing broadcast license
renewal proceedings, Congress has specifically established a standard that takes into consideration not only
compliance with Commission rules but also whether “the station has served the public interest, convenience, and
necessity.” 47 U.S.C. § 309(k).
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license term), and otherwise comply with the Commission’s rules and policies and the Communications
Act.482 We decline, however, to “codify” a renewal expectancy as USCC proposes, at this time.483
162.
Finally, we reject USCC’s proposal that we permit competing renewal applications or, in
their absence, process unopposed applications in the same manner as renewals in the cellular and PCS
services.484 We find that the public interest would be ill-served by permitting the filing of potentially
time-consuming and costly competing applications.485 The renewal requirements we adopt today will
provide Commission staff with ample information to determine whether license renewal would serve the
public interest.
d.

Permanent Discontinuance of Operations

163.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission asked whether it should apply to
AWS-3 band wireless licensees the rules governing the permanent discontinuance of operations.486
According to Section 1.955(a)(3), an authorization will automatically terminate, without specific
Commission action, if service is “permanently discontinued.”487 Consistent with the definition that the
Commission adopted for the H Block and the AWS-4 band,488 the Commission proposed to define for the
AWS-3 band “permanently discontinued” as a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee
does not provide service in each of its licensed areas to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with,
controlled by, or related to, the provider.489 For licensees that use their licenses for private, internal
communications, the Commission proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM to define “permanent discontinuance” as
a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not operate.490 The Commission
proposed that licensees would not be subject to these requirements until the date of the first performance
requirement benchmark.491
164.
In addition, the Commission proposed that a licensee must notify the Commission within
10 days if it permanently discontinues service, by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license
cancellation, consistent with Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules.492 The Commission
emphasized that even if a licensee fails to file the required form, however, an authorization will

482 Accord H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9567 ¶ 223 n.695 citing AWS-4 Report and Order,27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶
270; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 ¶75.
483 USCC Comments at 56-57 (codifying the availability of a renewal expectancy would provide additional certainty
that may prove critical for obtaining outside financing). See also, AT&T Comments at 16.
484 USCC Comments at 57.
485 As the Commission explained in the 700 MHz First Report and Order, prohibiting competing applications
“protects the public interest without creating incentives for speculators to file ‘strike’ applications.” 700 MHz First
Report and Order,
22 FCC Rcd at 8093 ¶ 76; see also AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 ¶ 272;
H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd ¶ 224.
486 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11533 ¶ 138.
48747 C.F.R. § 1.955(a)(3).
488 See H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9568 ¶ 230; AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27 FCC Rcd at 16203 ¶ 274; WRS
Renewals NPRM and Order
, 25 FCC Rcd at 7018 ¶ 54.
489 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11533 ¶ 138.
490 Id. at 11533 ¶ 138.
491 Id. at 11533 ¶ 138.
492 Id. at 11533 ¶ 138.
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automatically terminate without specific Commission action if service is permanently discontinued.493
The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including their associated costs and benefits.494
165.
Discussion. We determine that Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules will apply
to all AWS-3 band licensees, including holders of both EAs and CMAs, and find that the benefits of
applying this rule outweigh any potential costs of doing so.495 Thus, a licensee’s authorization will
automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if service is “permanently discontinued.”496
AT&T does not object to the discontinuance proposal but asks for clarification of Section 1.9030(d)(5) of
the Commission’s rules on long-term de facto transfer leasing arrangements to count a lessee’s continuous
service toward the underlying licensee’s service obligation in order to avoid triggering the permanent
discontinuance rule.497 Any performance or build-out requirement applicable under a license
authorization always remains a condition of the license, and the legal responsibility for meeting such
obligation is not delegable to the spectrum lessee(s).498 An AWS-3 licensee is also accountable for any
discontinuance of operation and the rules will be enforced against the licensee regardless of whether the
licensee was relying on the activities of a lessee to meet particular performance requirements.499
However, the licensee may attribute to itself the build-out or performance activities of its spectrum
lessee(s) for purposes of complying with any applicable build-out or performance requirement.500
166.
In accordance with our proposal, for providers that identify their regulatory status as
common carrier or non-common carrier, we define “permanently discontinued” as a period of 180
consecutive days during which the licensee does not provide service in the individual license area (or
smaller service area in the case of a partitioned license) to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated
with, controlled by, or related to, the provider. We adopt a different approach for wireless licensees that
use their licenses for private, internal communications, however, because such licensees generally do not
provide service to unaffiliated subscribers.501 For such private, internal communications, we define
“permanent discontinuance” as a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not
operate.502 A licensee will not be subject to the discontinuance rules until the date it must meet its first
performance requirement benchmark,503 a rule which will avoid penalizing licensees that construct early,
but then may shut down for 180 days before their first performance benchmark date.504

493 Id. at 11533 ¶ 138.
494 Id. at 11533 ¶ 138.
495 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.955(a)(3).
496 See id. § 1.955(a)(3).
497 AT&T Comments at 16, n.35 citing, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 1.9030(d)(5).
498 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.9030(d)(5).
499 See id. § 1.9030(d)(5)(iii).
500 See id. § 1.9030(d)(5)(i).
501 See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9570 ¶ 230, citing WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd
at 7022 ¶ 68, 7047 App. A § 1.953.
502 In other words, the rule that we adopt for private, internal communications does not include a requirement that
the licensee provide service to an unaffiliated subscriber in order to avoid triggering the permanent discontinuance
rule. See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9571 ¶ 230, n.726; see also WRS Renewals NPRM and Order,
25 FCC Rcd at 7022 ¶ 68, 7047 App. A § 1.953.
503 See supra Section III.C.8.b (Performance Requirements).
504 See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9570-71 ¶¶ 230-233; see also AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC
Rcd at 16203 ¶ 274 (adopting substantially similar permanent discontinuance requirements).
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e.

Secondary Markets

(i)

Partitioning and Disaggregation

167.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to permit AWS-3 band
licensees to partition geographic markets and disaggregate spectrum under existing Part 27 partitioning
and disaggregation rules.505 Specifically, it proposed that any entity holding an AWS-3 band license,
including parties to any partitioning or disaggregation arrangement pertaining to an AWS-3 band license,
must independently meet the applicable technical rules and regulatory requirements, including
performance and renewal requirements.506 The Commission proposed this approach to facilitate efficient
spectrum use, while enabling service providers to configure geographic area licenses and spectrum blocks
to meet their operational needs.507
168.
Discussion. We adopt the Part 27 partitioning and disaggregation rules for the AWS-3
band.508 Very few commenters discuss partitioning and disaggregation, but those who do support this
approach.509 Verizon agrees that the Commission “should apply its existing Part 27 geographic
partitioning, disaggregation, and spectrum leasing rules to AWS-3 licensees.”510 Further, permitting
disaggregation and partitioning will help facilitate investment and rapid deployment in the AWS-3 band,
while giving licensees flexibility to use the spectrum to meet changing market demand. As the
Commission noted when it first adopted partitioning and disaggregation rules, allowing this type of
flexibility can facilitate the efficient use of spectrum, and expedite provision of services in areas that
might not otherwise receive service in the near term.511 We conclude, based on the record before us,512
that permitting partitioning and disaggregation is in the public interest, and the associated benefits would
outweigh any potential costs.
169.
As proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM,513 we require any AWS-3 band licensee that is a party
to any partitioning or disaggregation arrangement (or combination of both) to independently meet the
applicable technical rules and regulatory requirements, including performance and renewal

505 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11533-34 ¶¶ 139-141. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.15. A partitionee or disaggregatee is
authorized to hold its license for the remainder of the partitioner’s or disaggregator’s license term. See 47 C.F.R.
§ 27.15(c).
506 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11533-34 ¶¶ 139-141.
507 Id. at 11533-34 ¶¶ 139-141. The Commission most recently adopted this rule for the AWS H Block. See Service
Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block—Implementing Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands
, WT Dockets No. 12-357, Report
and Order
, 28 FCC Rcd at 9573 ¶ 238 (2013). See also Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-
2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands
. WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Report and Order
and Order of Proposed Modification
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102, 16198 ¶ 253 (2012)).
508 47 C.F.R. § 27.15.
509 Verizon Comments at 22; Verizon Reply Comments at 3.
510 Verizon Comments at 22.
511 Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation by Commercial Mobile Radio Service Licensees, WT
Docket No. 96-148 Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 11 FCC Rcd 21831, 21833 ¶ 1
(1996). The Commission observed previously that allowing rural telephone companies to acquire spectrum through
geographic partitioning sped the deployment of broadband services in rural areas because rural telephone companies
could rely on existing infrastructure. Implementation of Section 309(J) of the Communications Act—Competitive
Bidding
, PP Docket No. 93-253 Fifth Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 5532 ¶ 150 (1994).
512 See Verizon Comments at 22; Verizon Reply Comments at 3.
513 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11534 ¶ 140.
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requirements.514 As the Commission has previously observed, this approach should facilitate efficient
spectrum usage and prevent the avoidance of timely construction as a result of the vagaries of the
secondary market, while still providing operators with the flexibility to design their networks according to
their operational and business needs.515 Commenters support this approach,516 which is consistent with
our treatment of other Part 27 services.517 For example, Verizon states that allowing licensees “the ability
to partition and/or disaggregate portions of their spectrum holdings, and/or to lease such holdings,
promotes a robust secondary market in spectrum.”518 We agree with Verizon that these rules have been
effective and should be applied to the AWS-3 band.519
(ii)

Spectrum Leasing

170.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission proposed to apply to AWS-3 band
licensees the spectrum leasing policies established in various Secondary Market proceedings520 in the
same manner that those policies and rules apply to other Part 27 services.521 Since 2003, these secondary
market policies and rules have enabled licensees to lease some or all of their spectrum usage rights to
third party spectrum lessees, who are permitted to provide wireless services consistent with the
underlying license authorization.522
171.
Discussion. We adopt the same spectrum leasing policies and rules that apply to other
Part 27 services.523 Commenters that discuss spectrum leasing support the proposals made in the AWS-3

514 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.15(d) (addressing compliance with construction requirements); See infra App. A, 27 C.F.R. §
27.14(s)(6).
515 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16196 ¶ 253; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7029 ¶
91; H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9573 ¶ 238. See Verizon Comments at 23.
516 See Verizon Comments at 22; Verizon Reply Comments at 3; TIA Comments at 14.
517 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.15(c); 47 C.F.R. § 27.1 (setting forth the services covered under miscellaneous wireless
communications services (WCS)).
518 Verizon Comments at 23.
519 Verizon Comments at 23.
520 See Promoting Efficient Use of Spectrum Through Elimination of Barriers to the Development of Secondary
Markets, WT Docket No. 00-230, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 18 FCC Rcd
20604 (2003) (Secondary Markets First Report and Order), Erratum, 18 FCC Rcd 24817 (2003); Promoting
Efficient Use of Spectrum Through Elimination of Barriers to the Development of Secondary Markets, WT Docket
No. 00-230, Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, 19 FCC Rcd 17503 (2004) (Secondary Markets Second Report and Order). The Commission has
added more terrestrial services to this spectrum leasing framework, including the AWS-1 in 2003 (AWS-1 Report
and Order)
; the Broadband Radio Services and Educational Broadband Services in 2004 (Amendment of Parts 1,
21, 73, 74 and 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Provision of Fixed and Mobile Broadband Access,
Educational and Other Advanced Services in the 2150-2162 and 2500-2690 MHz Bands, WT Docket Nos. 03-66,
03-67, 02-68, 00-230, MM Docket No. 97-217, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19
FCC Rcd 14165, 14232-34 ¶¶ 177-181 (2004)); the AWS-4 in 2012 (Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services
in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands, Fixed and Mobile Services in the Mobile Satellite Service
Bands at 1525-1559 MHz and 1626.5-1660.5 MHz, 1610-1626.5 MHz and 2483.5-2500 MHz, and 2000-2020 MHz
and 2180-2200 MHz, Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz,
2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz Bands, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Report and
Order and Order of Proposed Modification
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102, 16196-16199 ¶¶ 254-249 (2012); and the H Block
in 2013 (H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9573-75 ¶ 239-242).
521 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11534-35 ¶¶ 142-143. See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 1.9005(j).
522 Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 20609-13, 20648-49 paras. 8-9, 12-13, 91-92.
523 Id. at 20609-13, 20648-49 ¶¶ 8-9, 12-13, 91-92. Wireless Radio Services do not include satellite services. 47
C.F.R. § 1.907. Under these secondary market policies and rules, the service rules and policies applicable to the
(continued….)
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NPRM and agree that adopting spectrum leasing rules will promote the public interest.524 For example,
TIA notes that “[c]onsistency with leasing rules that apply to other terrestrial spectrum is a virtue, and
helps ensure that future transactions can proceed with greater predictability and transparency.”525 Our
secondary markets policies are designed to promote more efficient, innovative, and dynamic use of the
spectrum, expand the scope of available wireless services and devices, enhance economic opportunities
for accessing spectrum, and promote competition among providers.526 Likewise, allowing spectrum
leasing in the AWS-3 band will serve these same purposes.527 We also observe that “[f]or a particular
spectrum band, spectrum leasing policies generally follow the same approach as the partitioning and
disaggregation policies for the band.”528 Thus, our decision to permit spectrum leasing in the AWS-3
band is consistent with our determination above to permit partitioning and disaggregation of AWS-3 band
spectrum.529
9.

Other Operating Requirements

172.
Background. In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission explained that even though we issue
licenses in the AWS-3 band pursuant to one rule part (Part 27), we may require licensees in this band to
comply with rules contained in other parts of the Commission’s rules, depending on the particular
services they provide.530 The Commission sought comment on whether we need to modify any provisions
in existing, service-specific rules to ensure that we cover AWS-3 band licensees under the necessary
Commission rules.531 In addition, the Commission sought comment on any rules that would be affected
by the proposal to apply elements of the framework of these rule parts, whether separately or in
conjunction with other requirements.532
173.
Discussion. Although we primarily adopt rules for the AWS-3 band in Part 27, in order
to maintain general consistency among various wireless communication services, we also require AWS-3
licensees to comply with certain other rule parts that pertain generally to wireless communication
services. No commenter opposes this approach.533 Section 27.3 of the Commission’s rules lists some of
the rule parts applicable to wireless communications service licensees.534 In addition, other FCC rules
may apply to wireless licensees, including those that apply only to certain wireless licensees, depending
(Continued from previous page)
licensee under its license authorization—including all technical, interference, and operational rules—apply to the
spectrum lessee as well. Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 20648-49 ¶¶ 91-92; see 47
C.F.R. §§ 1.9020(c)-(d), 1.9030 (c)-(d), 1.9035(c)-(d). The rules and procedures for spectrum leasing arrangements
are set forth in Part 1, Subpart X. 47 C.F.R §§ 1.9001 et seq.
524 See Verizon Reply Comments at 3; TIA Comments at 14. But see, USCC Comments at 34 (arguing that for a
variety of reasons, small and medium size carriers are likely to encounter substantial delays and costs in obtaining
spectrum in the secondary market).
525 TIA Comments at 14.
526 See Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 20607 ¶ 2.
527 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11534 ¶ 142.
528 AWS-4 NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16198 ¶ 258.
529 See supra at Section III.C.8.e(i) (Partitioning and Disaggregation).
530 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11535-36 ¶¶ 144-145.
531 Id. at 11535-36 ¶ 145.
532 Id.
533 See HIA Comments at 1-3 (encouraging the Commission to ensure the full applicability of its hearing aid
compatibility rules as it unleashes new AWS-3 spectrum).
534 47 C.F.R. § 27.3.
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on the specific type of service or services that a particular licensee provides.535 We thus find it
appropriate to apply Section 27.3 and the rules referenced therein, as well as similar rules applicable to
wireless communications service licensees, to AWS-3 band licensees. In so doing, we will maintain
consistency among various wireless communications services which we find will best serve the public
interest. For these same reasons, we also find that the benefits of this approach outweigh any potential
costs.
10.

Facilitating Access to Spectrum and the Provision of Service to Tribal Lands

174.
Background. The AWS-3 NPRM explained that the Commission is currently considering
various provisions and policies intended to promote greater use of spectrum over Tribal lands.536 The
Commission proposed to extend any rules and policies adopted in that proceeding to any licenses that
may be issued through competitive bidding in this proceeding. The Commission sought comment on this
proposal and any costs and benefits associated with it.
175.
Discussion. We will extend any rules and policies adopted in the Tribal Lands
proceeding to any AWS-3 license that may be issued through competitive bidding.537 Because that
proceeding is specifically focused on promoting greater use of spectrum over Tribal lands, we find that it
is better suited than the instant proceeding to reach conclusions on that issue.
11.

Competitive Bidding Procedures

176.
As discussed above, the Spectrum Act requires the Commission to grant new initial
licenses for the use of spectrum in certain specified frequency bands through a system of competitive
bidding.538 We will therefore assign licenses in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180
MHz bands by auction. We will conduct any auction for licenses in these bands pursuant to our standard
competitive bidding rules found in Part 1, Subpart Q of the Commission’s rules and will provide bidding
credits for qualifying small businesses, as proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM. Below we discuss our reasons
for adopting the relevant proposals.
a.

Application of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules

177.
The Commission proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM to conduct any auction for licenses in the
1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands539 in conformity with the general
competitive bidding rules set forth in Part 1, Subpart Q, of the Commission’s rules, and substantially

535 See, e.g.,id. Part 9 (wireless licensees providing interconnected VoIP services are subject to E911 service
requirements); see generally, Parts 20, 22, 24, 27 and 101 for other wireless licensee obligations.
536 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11536 ¶ 146. Improving Communications Services for Native Nations by
Promoting Greater Utilization of Spectrum over Tribal Lands, WT Docket 11-40, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
26 FCC Rcd 2623 (2011) (Tribal Lands NPRM).
537 Tribal Lands NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 2630-31 ¶¶ 19-20.
538 See 47 U.S.C. § 1451(b)(1), (2). The spectrum, as specified in the Spectrum Act, is as follows (in addition to the
spectrum previously addressed in the H Block R&O): 2155-2180 MHz, 15 megahertz of spectrum identified by
NTIA between 1675 and 1710 MHz, and 15 megahertz of contiguous spectrum to be identified by the Commission.
See id. § 1451(b)(2). As noted above, NTIA identified the 1695-1710 MHz band for reallocation from Federal use
to non-Federal use, and the Commission has identified the 1755-1780 MHz band in satisfaction of the Spectrum
Act’s requirement that it identify 15 megahertz of contiguous spectrum in addition to the bands specifically
identified in the Act.
539 The AWS-3 NPRM also made proposals and solicited comment on applying the Part 1 competitive bidding rules
to the 2020-2025 MHz band. However, as discussed in note 1, supra, we will defer further consideration of this
band until the downlink/uplink status of the adjacent 2000-2020 MHz band is resolved. Accordingly, we limit
herein our discussion of the proposals and our decisions concerning competitive bidding procedures to the 1695-
1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands.
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consistent with the competitive bidding procedures that have been employed in previous auctions.540
Additionally, the Commission proposed to employ the Part 1 rules governing competitive bidding design,
designated entity preferences, unjust enrichment, application and payment procedures, reporting
requirements, and the prohibition on certain communications between auction applicants.541 Under this
proposal, such rules would be subject to any modifications that the Commission may adopt for its Part 1
general competitive bidding rules in the future. The AWS-3 NPRM also sought comment on whether any
Part 1 rules would be inappropriate or should be modified for an auction of licenses in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands.542
178.
The limited comment we received generally supports the Commission’s proposed use of
its standard competitive bidding rules for an auction of AWS-3 band licenses.543 Verizon Wireless asks
the Commission to narrow the scope of section 1.2105(c)’s prohibition on certain communications by (1)
confirming that the rule does not apply to unrelated routine business discussions and agreements; (2)
confirming that discussions regarding generic technical handset and network issues that occur, for
example, in industry standard-setting meetings or with equipment manufacturers, are not prohibited; (3)
narrowing the definition of who is an “applicant” to exclude owners of 10% or more of the applicant
entity; and (4) shortening the period during which the rule is in effect to end at the close of bidding, rather
than that the down payment deadline.544 T-Mobile supports Verizon Wireless’s request, and submits that
the requested changes will not interfere with the primary purposes of the Commission’s rule and will
enhance competition.545 Sprint opposes Verizon Wireless’s requested changes to the rule, and cautions
against adopting any wide-reaching revisions or alterations that have the potential consequence of
undermining competition.546 Sprint supports the Commission’s consideration of the particular
circumstances and competitive dynamics surrounding any particular auction in formulating appropriate
competitive bidding rules, but submits that a blanket revision to the Commission’s competitive bidding
rules, or revisions not attuned to the particular competitive dynamics of a specific auction such as the
AWS-3 auction, would not promote the public interest.547 While Sprint notes that the extraordinary
complexity of the broadcast incentive auction might warrant revisions to facilitate participation by smaller
bidders, it urges the Commission to carefully scrutinize Verizon Wireless’s proposal to relax the rule for
an AWS-3 auction.548 Other commenters express views on topics that are generally considered after the
adoption of service rules, during the pre-auction process for establishing procedures for conducting an
AWS-3 auction.549

540 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11536 ¶ 148.
541 Id.
542 Id.
543 See CCA Comments at 11; T-Mobile Comments at 34; Sprint Reply at 4-6; Verizon Wireless Comments at 16.
544 Verizon Wireless Comments at 17-20.
545 T-Mobile Reply at 27-28.
546 Sprint Reply at 5-6.
547 Id. at 4-5.
548 Id. at 5.
549 For example, some parties state their positions on auction design and the use of package bidding for any auction
of AWS-3 spectrum, with some in favor and others opposed. See Verizon Wireless Comments at 16-17; TIA
Comments at 14; Cellular One Comments at 1-3; USCC Comments at 36-49; USCC Reply Comments at 43-47;
Smith Bagley, MTPCS, and Cellular Network Partnership Joint Reply at 4-5. See also AT&T Comments at 13.
Likewise, T-Mobile recommends that the Commission make certain changes to its auction procedures concerning
how reserve prices, minimum opening bids, and additional bid amounts are calculated. T-Mobile Reply Comments
at 25-26. Because those issues are properly considered in the context of the separate, future proceeding to establish
(continued….)
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179.
Based on our review of the record and our prior experience with conducting auctions, we
conclude that the Commission’s Part 1 bidding rules should govern the conduct of any AWS-3 auction.
We decline to modify the Part 1 rules as Verizon Wireless requests. We disagree with Verizon Wireless’s
claim that the Commission has extended the restrictions in section 1.2105(c) to routine business
discussions, and that such an extension has resulted in uncertainty for auction applicants as to whether
discussions that are unrelated to bids or bidding strategies or to post-auction market structure could
violate the rule.550 The plain text of the rule makes clear that business discussions and negotiations that
are unrelated to bids or bidding strategies or to post-auction market structure are not prohibited by the
rule.551 The rule’s prohibition has always been aimed at the specific content of an applicant’s
communication to a competing applicant regardless of the context or situation in which such content is
communicated. Conversely, if the content of an applicant’s communication does not fall within the
prohibition, the particular situation in which the communication occurs will not alone make it a violation.
Thus, contrary to Verizon Wireless’s assertion, the Commission has not extended the prohibition in
section 1.2105(c), because the types of prohibited content have remained unchanged, while the potential
contexts and situations in which an applicant is prohibited from communicating that content have always
been undefined. Moreover, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) has previously issued
guidance explaining that, although auction applicants competing for licenses in the same geographic
areas, or competing for licenses in the same areas in competing services, must affirmatively avoid all
communications with each other that affect, or have the potential to affect, their bids or bidding strategy,
this does not mean that all business negotiations between such applicants are prohibited.552 We think the
Bureau’s guidance regarding the applicability of section 1.2105(c) provided to date is sufficiently clear
and find the clarification requested by Verizon Wireless to be unnecessary.
180.
Given the clarity of our rule, we likewise find it unnecessary to confirm in advance that
particular types of discussions or negotiations by particular applicants are in compliance with our rule, or
to establish a safe harbor for otherwise prohibited communications made by personnel that an applicant
has “walled off” from certain other personnel. We emphasize that the specific types of communications
with which Verizon Wireless expresses concern would not fall within the prohibition in section 1.2105(c)
unless they divulge bids or bidding strategies or discuss or negotiate settlement agreements,
arrangements or understandings of any kind relating to the licenses being auctioned, including agreements
relating to the post-auction market structure. We conclude that the Bureau’s past guidance regarding the
applicability of section 1.2105(c) provides sufficient information to allow auction applicants to structure
their routine business activities accordingly so that they do not run afoul of the rule.
181.
We also decline Verizon Wireless’s request to amend the prohibited communications rule
in the context of this AWS-3 service rules proceeding to narrow the definition of an “applicant” for
purposes of the rule to include only the filing entity and its controlling equity interest holders, or to
shorten the period during which the rule prohibiting certain communications is in effect to end at the close
of bidding. As noted above, the AWS-3 NPRM sought comment on whether any of our Part 1 rules would
(Continued from previous page)
procedures for conducting an AWS-3 auction, we will not address those comments here. See AT&T Reply at 13
(package bidding and other auction procedures are traditionally considered after the adoption of service rules).
550 See Verizon Wireless Comments at 17-18.
551 47 C.F.R. § 1.2105(c) (emphasis added).
552 See Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Responds to Questions About the Local Multipoint Distribution
Service Auction, Public Notice, DA 98-37, 13 FCC Rcd 341, 347 (1998). The public notices issued by the Bureau
establishing the procedures for each auction have also provide detailed guidance to auction applicants and bidders
regarding section 1.2105(c), including its application to particular types of communications. See, e.g., Auction of H
Block Licenses in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands Scheduled for January 14, 2014; Notice and
Filing Requirements, Reserve Price, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments, and Other Procedures for Auction
96, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 13019, 13024-28 ¶¶ 7-21 (2013).
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be inappropriate or should be modified specifically for an auction of AWS-3 spectrum. None of the
commenters who advocated revisions to the Part 1 rules explained whether or how their suggestions relate
specifically to, or would be particularly necessary or appropriate for, an auction of licenses in the AWS-3
bands. Given the limited record received on this topic, without more comment, we are not inclined to
adopt amendments to our general competitive bidding rules in the context of adopting service-specific
rules for AWS-3 spectrum.
b.

Revision to Part 1 Certification Procedures

182.
Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act prohibits “a person who has been, for reasons of
national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract,
participating in an auction, or receiving a grant” from participating in a system of competitive bidding
under section 309(j) required to be conducted under Title VI of the Spectrum Act.553 In 2013, the
Commission amended its rules to implement this Spectrum Act mandate by adding a national security
certification to the application to participate in competitive bidding.554 Accordingly, an AWS-3 auction
applicant must certify, under penalty of perjury, that it and all of the related individuals and entities
required to be disclosed on the short-form application are not persons who have “been, for reasons of
national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract,
participating in an auction, or receiving a grant.”555 As with the other certifications on the short-form
application, failure to include the required certification by the applicable filing deadline would render the
short-form application unacceptable for filing, and the applicant would be ineligible to participate in the
auction.
c.

Small Business Provisions for Geographic Area Licenses

183.
As discussed in the AWS-3 NPRM, in authorizing the Commission to use competitive
bidding, Congress mandated that the Commission “ensure that small businesses, rural telephone
companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women are given the opportunity
to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.”556 In addition, Section 309(j)(3)(B) of the
Communications Act provides that, in establishing eligibility criteria and bidding methodologies, the
Commission shall seek to promote a number of objectives, including “economic opportunity and
competition . . . by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating licenses among a
wide variety of applicants, including small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned
by members of minority groups and women.”557 One of the principal means by which the Commission
fulfills this mandate is through the award of bidding credits to small businesses.
184.
In the Competitive Bidding Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Commission
stated that it would define eligibility requirements for small businesses on a service-specific basis, taking
into account the capital requirements and other characteristics of each particular service in establishing

553 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 1404(b), (c).
554 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.2105(a)(2)(xii); 78 Fed. Reg. 66287 (Nov. 5, 2013); see also Service Rules for the Advanced
Wireless Services H Block—Implementing Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of
2012 Related to the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands, Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 9483, 9577-78 ¶
253 (2013) (H Block R&O). The Commission noted in the AWS-3 NPRM that it would require this additional
certification from all applicants in any short-form application to participate in competitive bidding for licenses in the
AWS-3 bands that are subject to the Spectrum Act. AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11536-37 ¶¶ 147, 149. No
commenters addressed this requirement in response to the AWS-3 NPRM.
555 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.2105(a)(2)(xii).
556 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11537 ¶ 150 (quoting 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(4)(D)).
557 Id. at 11537-38 (quoting 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(3)(B)).
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the appropriate threshold.558 Further, in the Part 1 Third Report and Order, the Commission, while
standardizing many auction rules, determined that it would continue a service-by-service approach to
defining the eligibility requirements for small businesses.559
185.
The Commission proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM to define a small business as an entity
with average gross revenues for the preceding 3 years not exceeding $40 million, and a very small
business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding 3 years not exceeding $15 million.560
Under this proposal, small businesses would be provided with a bidding credit of 15 percent and very
small businesses with a bidding credit of 25 percent, consistent with the standardized schedule in Part 1 of
our rules.561 This proposal was modeled on the small business size standards and associated bidding
credits that the Commission adopted for the AWS-1 band, based on the belief that the AWS-3 bands
would be employed for purposes similar to those for which the AWS-1 band is used.562 The AWS-3
NPRM
noted that these small business size standards and associated bidding credits were adopted for the
AWS-1 band because of the similarities between the AWS-1 service and the broadband PCS service,563
and that the Commission had followed this approach when proposing small business size standards and
associated bidding credits in the 2004 NPRM and when adopting them in the AWS-4 Service Rules R&O
and the H Block R&O.564
186.
The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including the costs or benefits of
these standards and associated bidding credits, particularly as they may relate to the size of the geographic
areas to be served and the spectrum allocated to each license.565 The Commission also specifically sought
comment on whether the small business provisions it proposed are sufficient to promote participation by
businesses owned by minorities and women, as well as rural telephone companies.566 The limited
comment we received on the Commission’s proposal to offer small business bidding credits in an auction
for the AWS-3 bands is generally supportive.567

558 Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act—Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No. 93-253,
Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 7245, 7269 ¶ 145 (1994) (Competitive Bidding Second
Memorandum Opinion and Order
); 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(c)(1).
559 See Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission’s Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, Third Report and
Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making
, WT Docket No. 97-82, 13 FCC Rcd 374, 388 ¶ 18
(1997) (Part 1 Third Report and Order); 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(c)(1).
560 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11538 ¶ 152.
561 Id. at 11538-39 ¶ 153; see also 47 C.F.R. §1.2110(f)(2)(ii), (iii).
562 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11538 ¶ 152; see also Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7
GHz and 2.1 GHz Bands, WT Docket No. 02-353, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 17 FCC Rcd 24135, 24164-65
¶¶ 76-77 (2002).
563 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11538 ¶ 152.
564 Id.; see also Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025
MHz, and 2175-2180 MHz Bands; Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz
Bands; WT Docket Nos. 04-356, 02-35, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19263, 19308-09 ¶¶ 122-23
(2004) (2004 NPRM); AWS-4 Service Rules R&O, 27 FCC Rcd at 16185 ¶ 217; H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9581
¶ 262.
565 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11538 ¶ 153.
566 Id. at 11539 ¶ 155. The AWS-3 NPRM also proposed to extend any rules and policies adopted in the
Commission’s Tribal lands proceeding to any assignment of licenses in the AWS-3 bands through competitive
bidding. Id. at 11536 ¶ 146; see also Tribal Lands NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 2630-31 ¶¶ 19-20 (2011). No commenter
addressed this proposal, and we see no reason to depart from our proposed approach here.
567 See CCA Comments at 11; Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 5.
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187.
Blooston Rural Carriers support the Commission’s proposed small business bidding
credits, but ask the Commission to consider offering additional support to incumbent rural carriers in the
AWS-3 auction through an additional (cumulative) bidding credit of 15 percent for entities that qualify as
a “rural telephone company” or that are a subsidiary or affiliate of a qualified rural telephone company
under the Commission’s rules.568 This bidding credit would be available in addition to any other bidding
credit for which an applicant may be eligible, but the credit would be limited to licenses that cover all or
part of the rural carrier’s certificated wireline service area.569 Blooston Rural Carriers submit that such an
additional bidding credit would effectively help companies compete with large regional and wireless
carriers in their local service territory and with carriers bidding more densely populated areas.570 The
Commission has previously considered proposals to create an additional rural telephone company bidding
credit. In declining to adopt such past proposals, the Commission observed that proponents of this type of
credit had been unable “to demonstrate a historical lack of access to capital that was the basis for
according bidding credits to small businesses, minorities and women,”571 and that “[i]n subsequent
decisions, large rural telcos have failed to demonstrate any barriers to capital formation similar to those
faced by other designated entities.”572 While the Commission has not intended to apply the Part 1 bidding
credit schedule uniformly to all services without any opportunity for the consideration of alternative
bidding credits, the schedule of size standards and bidding credits described in our Part 1 rules provides
small businesses with consistency and predictability and we are not persuaded that we should deviate
from that schedule here.573 As discussed above, the Commission took the characteristics of the AWS-3
service into consideration when proposing the two size standards and associated bidding credits in the
AWS-3 NPRM.574 Based on the record in this proceeding, we decline to adopt a bidding credit for
incumbent rural carriers in addition to the small business bidding credits that we adopt for the AWS-3
bands.
188.
CCA also supports the Commission’s proposal to offer small business bidding credits,
but asks the Commission to amend its bidding credit provisions to better fulfill the purposes of Section

568 Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 5.
569 Id.
570 Id. at 5-6.
571 See Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1090-91 ¶ 176 (citing Implementation of Section 309(j)
of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No. 93-253, Fifth Memorandum Opinion and Order,
10 FCC Rcd 403, 457-8 ¶ 100 (1994)); H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9580-81 ¶ 260.
572 See Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1090-91 ¶ 176 (citing Amendment of Part 1 of the
Commission’s Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No. 97-82, Order on Reconsideration of the
Third Report and Order, Fifth Report and Order, and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making,
15 FCC Rcd
15293, 15320-21 ¶ 52 (2000); Revision of Part 22 and Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate Future
Development of Paging Systems; Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive
Bidding, Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration of the Third Report and Order, 14 FCC Rcd 10030,
10091-92 ¶ 114 (1999); Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish New Personal Communications
Services, Narrowband PCS; Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding,
Narrowband PCS, Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 15 FCC Rcd
10456, 10476-77 ¶ 41 (2000); Amendment to Parts 1, 2, 87 and 101 of the Commission’s Rules to License Fixed
Services at 24 GHz, WT Docket No. 99-327, Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 16934, 16968-69 ¶ 81 (2000)). The
Commission pointed out that, due to certain financing programs, “rural telephone companies may have greater
ability than other designated entities to attract capital.” Id.
573 See Amendment of Part 22 of the Commission’s Rules to Benefit the Consumers of Air-Ground
Telecommunications Services, Order on Reconsideration and Report and Order, 20 FCC Rcd 19663, 19680 ¶ 36
(2005).
574 See supra ¶ 185; see also AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11538 ¶ 152.
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309 of the Communications Act.575 CCA asserts that the Commission’s thresholds for defining small and
very small business are decades old and have not kept pace with the realities of today’s marketplace, and
that the current definitions have the effect of excluding carriers that have no ability, or limited ability, to
participate absent a bidding credit.576 CCA notes, by way of example, that the generally acceptable small
business size standard for cellular or other wireless telecommunications entities as defined by the Small
Business Administration (“SBA”) is firms with 1,500 or fewer employees (including affiliates).577 CCA
urges the Commission to reevaluate its standards when determining eligibility for bidding credits in the
AWS-3 auction, rather than using the same small business size standards that were used in prior AWS
auctions,578 but offers no suggestions regarding what alternative size standards could potentially be used
for AWS-3.
189.
Based on the Commission’s prior experience with the use of bidding credits in spectrum
auctions, we believe that the use of bidding credits is an effective tool in achieving the statutory objective
of promoting participation by designated entities in the provision of spectrum-based services.579 In the
absence of small business size standards and bidding credits, designated entities might have less of an
opportunity to obtain spectrum in this band. We believe that continuing to extend such benefits to the
AWS-3 bands would be consistent with our statutory mandate. We are not persuaded by the record
before us that we should adopt small business size standards for AWS-3 that differ from those used in
prior AWS auctions. To the contrary, in light of the similarities between AWS-3 and the other AWS
services, we adopt for AWS-3 the size standards and associated bidding credits for small businesses used
in prior AWS auctions.580 Moreover, we continue to believe that use of the small business size standards
and credits set forth in the Part 1 schedule provides consistency and predictability for small businesses,581
and conclude that we would be ill-advised in the absence of any alternative size standards proposals from
commenters to adopt changes to our Part 1 bidding credit schedule in the context of a proceeding
establishing service-specific rules for the AWS-3 bands. We also note that in first adopting small
business size standards for eligibility for designated entity benefits, the Commission rejected the SBA’s
1,500 employee standard as a means to qualify as a designated entity.582 The Commission concluded that
such a definition would be too inclusive and would allow many large telecommunications firms to take
advantage of preferences not intended for them.583 Accordingly, for the AWS-3 bands, we will define a
small business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding 3 years not exceeding $40
million, and a very small business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding 3 years not
exceeding $15 million. Under these definitions, small businesses would be provided with a bidding credit
of 15 percent and very small businesses with a bidding credit of 25 percent, consistent with the

575 CCA Comments at 11.
576 Id.
577 CCA Comments at 11-12.
578 CCA Comments at 11-12.
579 See, e.g., AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25219-20 ¶ 148.
580 On March 20, 2014, we requested the U.S. Small Business Administration’s approval of our final rule adopting
these small business size standards. Letter from Gary D. Michaels, Deputy Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, to Khem Sharma, Division
Chief, Office of Size Standards, U.S. Small Business Administration, dated March 20, 2014.
581 See 47 C.F.R. §1.2110(f)(2).
582 Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No. 93-253,
Second Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 2348, 2396 ¶ 273 (1994).
583 Id.
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standardized schedule in Part 1 of our Rules.584 Given the record before us and the benefits discussed
above, we conclude that the potential benefits of our proposals would likely outweigh any potential costs.
d.

Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act Requirements

190.
The Commission noted in the AWS-3 NPRM that the CSEA established SRF to reimburse
Federal agencies operating on certain frequencies that have been reallocated from Federal to non-Federal
use for the cost of relocating their operations.585 The SRF is funded from cash proceeds attributable to
“eligible frequencies” in an auction involving such frequencies.586 CSEA requires NTIA to notify the
Commission of estimated relocation costs and timelines for relocation from eligible frequencies by
eligible Federal entities at least 6 months in advance of a scheduled auction of eligible frequencies.587
CSEA further requires that the total cash proceeds from any auction of “eligible frequencies” must equal
at least 110 percent of estimated relocation costs of eligible Federal entities,588 and prohibits the
Commission from concluding any auction of eligible frequencies that falls short of this revenue
requirement.589
191.
The Commission invited comment on the applicability of the 110 percent requirement in
the CSEA590 to the various relocation and sharing scenarios discussed in the AWS-3 NPRM. The
Commission also noted in the AWS-3 NPRM that the proceeds of certain spectrum required to be
auctioned under Section 6401 of the Spectrum Act are to be deposited in the Public Safety Trust Fund
established under Section 6413 of the Spectrum Act, and invited comment on the potential interplay
between these Spectrum Act provisions and the CSEA. We received no comment on either of these

584 47 C.F.R. §1.2110(f)(2)(ii), (iii).
585 See 47 U.S.C. § 928 (Spectrum Relocation Fund).
586 47 U.S.C. § 928(b). “Eligible frequencies” are defined as those in the 216-220 MHz band, the 1432-1435 MHz
band, the 1710-1755 MHz band, the 2385-2390 MHz band, and any other band of frequencies reallocated from
Federal use to non-Federal use or to shared use after January 1, 2003 that is assigned by competitive bidding
pursuant to Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, id. § 309(j). See id. § 923(g)(2).
587 47 U.S.C. § 923(g)(4). On March 20, 2013, the Commission notified NTIA that it “plans to commence the
auction of licenses in the 1695-1710 MHz band and the 1755-1780 MHz band as early as September 2014.” FCC
March 2013 Letter to NTIA
at 1.
588 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(16)(A). Section 309(j)(16)(A) of the Communications Act, which was added by Section
203(b) of CSEA, required the Commission to revise its existing regulations to prescribe methods by which the total
cash proceeds from any auction of licenses authorizing use of “eligible frequencies” shall equal at least 110 percent
of the total estimated relocation costs provided to the Commission by NTIA. See id. § 309(j)(16)(A). In
implementing rules and procedures necessary to comply with CSEA, the Commission amended its reserve price rule
to provide that, for any auction of “eligible frequencies” requiring recovery of estimated relocation costs, the
Commission will establish a reserve price or prices pursuant to which the total cash proceeds from any auction of
eligible frequencies shall equal at least 110 percent of the total estimated relocation costs of provided to the
Commission by NTIA. See Implementation of the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act and Modernization of
the Commission’s Competitive Bidding Rules and Procedures, Report and Order, 21 FCC Rcd 891, 894 ¶¶ 6-7
(2006) (implementing provisions of CSEA) (CSEA Implementation Report and Order); 47 C.F.R. § 1.2104(c). The
Commission also modified its Tribal land bidding credit rule to enable the Commission, in auctions subject to
CSEA, to award all eligible applicants tribal land bidding credits on a pro rata basis in the event that the net winning
bids at the close of bidding (exclusive of tribal land bidding credits) are not sufficient both to meet the reserve
price(s) and to award all eligible applicants full tribal land bidding credits. See id. at 896-898 ¶¶ 13-16; 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.2110(f)(3)(v). The reserve price and Tribal land bidding credit rules adopted by the Commission in the CSEA
Implementation Report and Order
remain in effect today.
589 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(16)(B).
590 See id. § 309(j)(8)(D) (as amended by Section 6401(c) of the Spectrum Act).
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issues.591 Accordingly, the 110 percent requirement will be addressed in the context of determining
whether and how to establish the reserve price as the final procedures are developed—through a series of
public notices with opportunities for comment—that will govern the auction of licenses in the AWS-3
bands.
e.

Multi-Stage Auction and Licensing Alternatives for 1.7 GHz

192.
The Commission acknowledged in the AWS-3 NPRM that the Federal/non-Federal
sharing scenarios then under consideration by CSMAC are very complex and workable rules may prove
difficult to implement prior to the licensing deadlines imposed by the Spectrum Act. The Commission
therefore sought comment on alternative licensing constructs that could facilitate ongoing “operator-to-
operator” negotiations between licensees in commercial bands (e.g., 2155 MHz) and Federal agencies
occupying complementary Federal bands (e.g., 1.7 GHz), should sharing or relocation for exclusive use
not be possible. The Commission asked whether, for example, the license for the commercial bands
could be paired with an “overlay” license in Federal bands providing that commercial use of such bands
would be entirely contingent upon successful coordination with incumbent Federal users, or alternatively,
whether the commercial licenses could grant to the licensee exclusive eligibility status with respect to a
future assignment of rights in such Federal bands. The Commission also asked whether an auction could
proceed in two stages, to enable the initial assignment of a “negotiation right” and subsequent payments
into the Spectrum Relocation Fund to facilitate relocation or upgrades pursuant to the CSEA. Under this
scenario, for example, the first stage could assign commercial licenses and any concomitant rights to
negotiate with incumbent Federal users for the use of Federal spectrum, with the second stage consisting
of a supplementary round with participation limited to eligible commercial licensees, and a reserve price
set based on the 110 percent funding requirement established by the CSEA. The Commission invited
comment on what approaches would generate the most certainty, and therefore expected value, in the use
of the spectrum.
193.
T-Mobile, the only commenter that addressed this issue, opposed the issuance of overlay
licenses.592 While T-Mobile supports operator-to-operator negotiations post-auction in order to maximize
commercial licensees’ access to Federal spectrum, it maintains that an overlay license approach would be
inconsistent with the Spectrum Act’s preference to relocate federal users to the maximum extent feasible,
and with the CSEA, because activities provided for in the statute such as studying relocation options and
updating equipment to facilitate clearing or shared use of the spectrum would not be undertaken if overlay
licenses are issued.593 T-Mobile also notes that an overlay auction would create uncertainty about exactly
what rights a licensee would be granted, which would potentially reduce auction participation and
revenues.594 No commenter proposed any alternative licensing constructs or other approaches.
Accordingly, based on the record before us, we do not adopt licensing alternatives for 1.7 GHz.
12.

Non-Federal Relocation and Cost Sharing (2155-2180 MHz)

194.
There are two non-Federal incumbent services still authorized in portions of the 2155-
2180 MHz band: there are approximately 250 Fixed Microwave Service (FS) licenses in the 2160-2180
MHz band and approximately five BRS licensees in the 2150-2160/62 MHz band. The FS operations in
the 2160-2180 MHz band are typically configured to provide two-way microwave communications using
paired links in the 2110-2130 MHz band. While few BRS systems remain, in the past BRS systems were

591 But see Public Knowledge Ex Parte, dated March 13, 2014, at 4 (revenue not required for federal relocation
should be distributed in accordance with the Spectrum Act); Public Interest Spectrum Coalition Ex Parte, dated
February 20, 2014, at 2 and New America Foundation Ex Parte, dated March 24, 2014, at 3 (suggesting attribution
of a larger share of the proceeds to the 2155-2180 MHz band).
592 T-Mobile Comments at 19-20, 34.
593 Id.
594 Id. at 20.
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deployed via three types of system configurations: high-power video stations, high-power fixed two-way
systems, and low-power, cellularized two-way systems.595 Under the Commission’s rules, AWS licensees
in these bands must protect incumbent operations or relocate the incumbent licensees to comparable
facilities, until the applicable “sunset date,” after which the incumbents must cease operating if the AWS
licensee intends to operate a station in the relevant area.596 The Commission’s rules also address cost-
sharing reimbursement to cover the scenario where relocation of an incumbent system benefits more than
one AWS licensee.597
195.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, we proposed to extend to the AWS-3 band the current relocation
and cost sharing rules for both the FS in the 2160-2180 MHz band and the BRS in the 2150-2160/62 MHz
band and sought comment on our proposal. Comsearch agrees with the Commission’s proposal to extend
the current relocation and cost sharing rules for both FS in the 2160-2180 MHz band and BRS in the
2150-2160/62 MHz.598 Because the 2160-2180 MHz band is paired with the 2110-2130 MHz band,
which is subject to relocation and cost sharing under the AWS-1 rules, Comsearch believes that new
AWS-3 licensees will face practically the same relocation issues faced by current AWS-1 licensees given
that there are still over 120 FS microwave links and 4 BRS systems remaining in the bands, so it seems
reasonable that the incumbent protection and relocation rules set forth in Sections 27.1111-1132 of the
Rules should be applicable to AWS-3.599
196.
We conclude that extending the current relocation and cost sharing rules for both FS in
the 2160-2180 MHz band and BRS in the 2150-2160/62 MHz serves the public interest because it will
continue to accelerate the relocation process and will distribute relocation costs more equitably among the
beneficiaries of the relocation.

D.

Allocation Matters

197.
For the frequency bands considered for AWS-3 service, the AWS-3 NPRM identified
several amendments to Section 2.106 of our rules (Allocation Table)600 that would be necessary to
accommodate the proposed changes to the use of the bands.601 Although these proposed amendments
drew little specific comment, parties generally supported policies that would necessitate allocation
changes to provide for efficient use of the AWS-3 spectrum for mobile broadband services. Accordingly,
we modify the Allocation Table for the bands we are designating for AWS-3 use, as discussed below.

595 Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission’s Rules to Allocate Spectrum Below 3 GHz for Mobile and Fixed
Services to Support the Introduction of New Advanced Wireless Services, Including Third Generation Wireless
Systems, ET Docket No. 00-258, Ninth Report And Order and Order, 21 FCC Rcd at 4480 ¶ 12 (2006) (AWS
Allocation Ninth R&O
). The 2150-2160/62 MHz BRS band is subdivided into two channels: Channels 1 from 2150-
2156 MHz and Channel 2a/2 from 2156-2160/62 MHz.
596 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.1250-27.1255, 101.69-101.82; AWS Allocation Ninth R&O, 21 FCC Rcd at 4481-4503, 4505-07,
4515-19, 4526-33, ¶¶ 15-54, 58-63, 74-85, 104-125.
597 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.1160-1190.
598 Comsearch Comments at 13.
599 Comsearch Comments at 14. Noting the Commission’s statement that cost sharing was established to address the
case where relocation of an incumbent system benefits more than one AWS licensee, Comsearch provides statistics
from The CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse semi-annual report to show that over 1600 links have been relocated since
the establishment of cost sharing for AWS in 2006. Comsearch Comments at 14. Comsearch concludes that, since
new AWS-3 licensees will benefit from these relocations, cost sharing should be established in the AWS-3 band.
Comsearch Comments at 14,
600 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
601 See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11546-49 ¶¶ 170-75.
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1.
1695-1710 MHz
198.
The 1695-1710 MHz band is allocated for primary Federal and non-Federal
meteorological satellite (MetSat) (space-to-Earth) use. In addition, the 1695-1700 MHz portion of the
band is allocated for primary Federal and non-Federal meteorological aids (radiosonde) use, and the
1700-1710 MHz portion of the band is allocated for primary Federal fixed use and secondary non-Federal
fixed use.602 We are adopting the amendments proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM relating to the 1695-1710
MHz band,603 which were unopposed by commenters and supported by a recent NTIA Report.604 To
facilitate the Spectrum Act’s requirement that the Commission allocate this segment of the 1675-1710
MHz band to support wireless broadband use, we are amending the Allocation Table by allocating the
1695-1710 MHz band to fixed and mobile except aeronautical mobile services on a primary basis for
non-Federal use.605 We decline to allocate the 1695-1710 MHz band to the aeronautical mobile services
in order to better protect Federal MetSat earth stations in this band from harmful interference.
199.
We are maintaining the primary Federal MetSat (space-to-Earth) allocation in the
1695-1710 MHz band, but are limiting this allocation to 27 Protection Zones within which one or more
Federal earth stations will continue to operate. Specifically, we are adopting footnote US88 to provide for
the protection of certain Federal earth stations that receive in the 1695-1710 MHz band as well as a few
sites below 1695 MHz to ensure there is no impact due to adjacent band emissions. NTIA has endorsed
the recommendations contained in a July 2013 Final Report authored by Working Group 1 of the
Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC WG-1).606 CSMAC WG-1 made
recommendations regarding Federal/non-Federal sharing of the 1695-1710 MHz band, including
protection zones (i.e., coordination areas) for Federal earth stations in this band.607 In addition, we are
deleting the primary non-Federal MetSat (space-to-Earth) allocation from the 1695-1710 MHz band, and
are permitting non-Federal earth stations to continue to receive MetSat data from primary Federal MetSat
space stations on an unprotected basis.608 See Appendix A for the text of footnote US88.609

602 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
603 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11546-47 ¶¶ 170-71.
604 See infra, n.607.
605 The service rules that we are adopting today do not authorize fixed use in this band. Nonetheless, a fixed service
allocation will harmonize the non-Federal allocations with the adjacent 1710-1755 MHz AWS-1 band and allow for
future consideration of low-power fixed use of the band, such as by customer premises equipment, thereby
providing maximum flexibility for service providers to better respond to market demand, consistent with past
Commission actions. See, e.g., Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Flexible Service Offerings in the
Commercial Mobile Services, WT Docket No. 96-6, First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule
Making
, 11 FCC Rcd 8965 (1996). In the 1700-1710 MHz band, the primary non-Federal fixed service allocation
replaces an existing unused secondary allocation.
606 See NTIA November 2013 Letter at 1.
607 See NTIA November 2013 Letter, enclosure titled “Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee Final
Report, Working Group 1 – 1695-1710 MHz Meteorological-Satellite, Rev. 1,” dated July 23, 2013 (shown in the
docket as “View (204)”) (CSMAC WG-1 Final Report).
608 It appears that more than 160 registered U.S. users of non-Federal direct readout earth stations receive in the
1695-1710 MHz band. See NOAA’s 2011 presentation titled “The President’s Broadband Initiative: Impacts Upon
NOAA Satellite and User” at 4, 9, (available at http://directreadout.noaa.gov/Miami11/2011_presentations.html.
See also Fast Track Report, note 11 (stating that “Given that the satellite will continue to transmit their signals,
receive-only station operators would need to convert to another access mechanism only if and when wireless
broadband systems built-out in their area. Since high density metropolitan areas will be the first priority for wireless
services, the operators of meteorological-satellite earth stations may find that they can continue to directly access the
satellite date unimpeded for some time.”).
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200.
We also remove from the Allocation Table three unused allocations that apply to the
1695-1710 MHz band. First, we delete the primary Federal fixed service allocation from the
1700-1710 MHz band and associated footnote G118 from the Allocation Table. Second, we delete the
primary meteorological aids (radiosonde) allocation from the 1695-1700 MHz band.610 Third, we delete
the footnote allocation that allows all other applications in the Earth exploration-satellite service (EESS)
(space-to-Earth) besides MetSat applications to operate in the 1695-1710 MHz band.611
2.
2155-2180 MHz
201.
The 2155-2180 MHz band is presently allocated on a primary basis to fixed and mobile
services in the non-Federal Table as part of the larger 2120-2180 MHz band.612 The AWS-3 NPRM noted
the benefits of allowing Federal users to access the AWS-3 bands, including spectrum not presently
allocated for Federal use (e.g., 2155-2180 MHz) on Federal lands or properties that are generally
unserved by commercial wireless networks. It sought comment on specific locations where such shared
use might be appropriate, a suitable regulatory framework for that use, and amendments to the
Commission’s rules required to facilitate that use.613
202.
Oceus Networks strongly supports sharing both the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz
bands “on U.S. military bases and ranges for mission-oriented tactical LTE…[and for] capabilities [that]
would be able to evolve alongside a commercial technology roadmap.”614 NTIA generally states that it
agrees that expanding opportunities for preserving Federal users’ access to the AWS-3 bands on Federal
lands and military training ranges in areas generally served by commercial networks may allow Federal
agencies greater flexibility to meet tactical, training, and other requirements.615 T-Mobile states that it
does not object to Federal use of non-Federal spectrum in areas where commercial providers are not
generally providing service, because shared use of AWS-3 spectrum could produce economies of scale
and scope in for equipment for both Federal and non-Federal users, thereby lowering costs and speeding
implementation. However, T-Mobile cautions that it is premature to adopt Federal sharing rules in
commercial bands at present because of the urgency in bringing additional spectrum to market for mobile
broadband services. T-Mobile therefore recommends that the Commission re-evaluate Federal sharing of
commercial spectrum at a later date, when Federal requirements for additional spectrum versus more
efficient use of existing spectrum are better understood.616
203.
AT&T states that Oceus has not shown a specific need to provide sharing in the 2155-
2180 MHz band, and that allowing Oceus to construct and manage a secondary wireless network in a
(Continued from previous page)
609 The protection zones listed in footnote US88 were extracted from Table 2 of the CSMAC WG-1 Final Report.
The complete list of earth station locations, protected center frequencies, and maximum protection radii for channel
bandwidths of 5, 10, and 15 megahertz are specified in Table 1 of the CSMAC WG-1 Final Report.
610 See Fast Track Report at 2-2 (“radiosondes operate in the 1675-1683 MHz portion of the band”).
611 Previously, the Commission added a reference to international footnote 5.289 (“Earth exploration-satellite service
applications, other than the meteorological-satellite service, may also be used in the bands 460-470 MHz and 1690-
1710 MHz for space-to-Earth transmissions subject to not causing harmful interference to stations operating in
accordance with the Table.”) to the United States Table of Frequency Allocations in Section 2.106. In this action,
we move this text to new footnote US289, except that the “band 1690-1695 MHz” is specified. We note that
footnotes 5.289 and US201 both provide for the same applications using different wording. Therefore, we simplify
the U.S. Table by adding the text of footnote US201 to new footnote US289.
612 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
613 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11515-16 ¶ 81.
614 Oceus Networks, Inc. Comments at ii.
615 See NTIA November 2013 Letter at 3.
616 T-Mobile Comments at 24-25.
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licensed market would effectively foreclose the ability of the licensee to expand its coverage into that area
at a later time.617 Verizon states that the Commission should promote sharing in bands explicitly
identified for shared use, such as the BAS band, 1780-1850 MHz, and the 3.5 GHz band, and not require
sharing in bands licensed for exclusive, flexible use.618 Responding to Oceus’s statement that that
military bases are underserved by CMRS operators because carriers do not deploy in those areas, Verizon
asserts that access to military bases and processes to gain approval to construct and operate wireless
facilities on bases make siting there more difficult.619 Similarly, noting that it has cell sites on more than
130 bases nationwide (and that the number grows as siting negotiations conclude), AT&T also disagrees
that there are barriers to DoD using commercial wireless technology, and notes that network buildout on
military facilities can be achieved through existing procurement arrangements.620 Oceus responds that it
has sought a geographically limited approach for specific military operations but that even broader
sharing opportunities will have to be addressed in the future in non-Federal bands, that existing contract
vehicles such as AT&T describes are inadequate, and that secondary user would be required to cease
interfering by rule if an AWS licensee were to expand coverage into the area of the secondary license.621
204.
On March 21, 2014, NTIA, on behalf of DoD, requested that the Commission defer
action on the specific text of a new US footnote in the Table of Allocations until requirements for a more
flexible approach, beyond tactical or training applications in remote areas, can be developed in
consultation with military and industry stakeholders.622 In accordance with NTIA’s request, on behalf of
DoD, we are deferring action on this matter.

617 See Letter from Stacey G. Black, Asst. Vice President, Federal Regulatory External and Legislative Affairs,
AT&T, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC (dated Mar. 20, 2014) (AT&T Letter dated March 20, 2014) (written
ex parte response to recent filings) at 2.
618 See Verizon Ex Parte dated March 21, 2014, at 2.
619 Id. at 2 citing, e.g., Oceus Ex Parte dated March 12, 2014, Attach. at 9 (“Proposed sharing regime in AWS-3
band provides opportunity for fuller spectrum use by allowing military access to band in geographic areas with
limited 2G and 3G carrier buildout.”).
620 AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 2-3. AT&T states that, as the result of a contract, it recently added a
multitude of cell sites for the United States Army for two of its Combat Training Center (CTC) bases located at Fort
Irwin, CA, and Fort Polk, LA, that extended AT&T’s local network coverage in California and Louisiana onto both
bases to provide LTE coverage that met the specific training area coverage requirements for the Army. AT&T notes
that the result included lower cost COTS devices and increased communications coverage that, according to Army
Magazine, will “double the number of instrumented entities in CTC battlefields”. Id. at 3 quoting Scott Gourley,
“Combat Training Center Upgraded Support Army Chief’s Vision,” Army Magazine, Feb. 2014, at 47, 50 (Id.,
AT&T Ex Parte, at Attachment). AT&T notes that in this application, the Army simply contracted with AT&T
(through its prime contractor Northrop Grumman) for commercial services on the base with no need to seek
spectrum sharing relief from the FCC in order to accomplish this mission. Id. AT&T Ex Parte at 2. CTIA notes that
secondary market and other mechanisms already exist to permit agencies or third parties with access to commercial
spectrum. See CTIA Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014.
621 See Letter from Douglas C. Smith, CEO, Oceus Networks, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC (dated Mar. 24,
2014) (Oceus Letter dated March 24, 2014) (written ex parte response to recent filings) at 1-2.
622 See Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, to Julius P.
Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC (March 21, 2014) at 2. Earlier, NTIA stated that it
agrees that expanding opportunities for preserving Federal users’ access to the AWS-3 bands on Federal lands and
military training ranges in areas generally served by commercial networks may allow Federal agencies greater
flexibility to meet tactical, training, and other requirements. See NTIA November 2013 Letter at 3. NTIA also states
that its Manual of Regulations already authorizes access to a wide range of non-federal bands for military tactical
and training operations, including the 2155-2180 MHz band, on a coordinated basis. NTIA November 2013 Letter,
at 3, n.13, citing NTIA Manual at § 7.15.3, available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/redbook/2013/7_13.pdf.
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205.
We are adopting the other amendments proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM relating to the
2155-2180 MHz band,623 which were unopposed by commenters, by updating and combining footnotes
NG153624 and NG178, and numbering the resultant footnote as NG41. Specifically, we: (1) remove the
first two sentences from footnote NG153; (2) revise the last sentence in footnote NG153; (3) add
language highlighting that all initial non-AWS authorizations in the 2160-2180 MHz band applied for
after January 16, 1992 were issued on a secondary basis; and (4) add language highlighting the sunset
provisions that apply to Part 101 fixed stations that were authorized on a primary basis.625 We therefore
remove footnotes NG153 and NG178, and add footnote NG41 to read as shown in Appendix A.
3.
1755-1780 MHz
206.
The 1755-1780 MHz band is presently allocated on a primary basis for Federal fixed,
mobile, and space operations (Earth-to-space), but contains no non-Federal allocations.626 However, the
AWS-3 NPRM observed that this band is allocated internationally on a primary basis to the fixed and
mobile services in all three International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regions.627 The AWS-3 NPRM
also observed that the 1755-1780 MHz band has several characteristics that make it especially appealing
for commercial wireless use,628 and proposed that it be used for mobile uplinks,629 with fixed stations not
authorized in the band.630 The AWS-3 NPRM also inquired as to the changes necessary to the Allocation
Table to permit commercial wireless use of the 1755-1780 MHz band.631 Commenters strongly supported
using the 1755-1780 MHz band for commercial wireless services.632 As noted above, Verizon Wireless
supported the proposal to prohibit fixed station use of the band, stating that the authorization of fixed
high-gain antennas could cause interference to government operations in that band.633
207.
We concur with commenting parties that a commercial wireless service in the
1755-1780 MHz band is desirable, and establishment of that service requires that we add primary fixed634

623 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11547-48 ¶ 173.
624 Footnote NG153 currently reads as follows: “The band 2160-2165 MHz is reserved for future emerging
technologies on a co-primary basis with the fixed and mobile services. Allocations to specific services will be made
in future proceedings. Authorizations in the band 2160-2162 MHz for stations in the Multipoint Distribution
Service applied for after January 16, 1992, shall be on a secondary basis to emerging technologies.” 47 C.F.R.
§ 2.106, footnote NG153.
625 Part 101 use of the 2160-2180 MHz band is restricted to Common Carrier Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave
Service; see 47 C.F.R. § 101.101. Applications for new facilities submitted after the adoption date of the Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
in ET Docket No. 92-9 (Jan. 16, 1992) “will be granted on a secondary basis only.” 47
C.F.R. §§ 101.79(a)(1), 101.101.
626 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
627 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11495 ¶ 32.
628 Id. at 11496 ¶ 33.
629 Id. at 11496 ¶ 34.
630 Id. at 11519-20 ¶ 98.
631 Id. at 11548 ¶ 174.
632 See, e.g., CTIA Comments at 10-12; Ericsson Comments at 18-24; Motorola Mobility LLC Comments at 3;
Nokia Solutions and Networks Comments at 5; United States Cellular Corporation Comments at 10; AT&T Reply
Comments at 1.
633 Verizon Wireless Comments at 24.
634 As discussed in note 605, supra, a fixed service allocation will permit future consideration of low power fixed
use of the 1755-1780 MHz band, such as by customer premises equipment, thereby providing maximum flexibility
for service providers to better respond to market demand.
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and mobile service allocations to the non-Federal Table in that band. That addition will facilitate both
Federal/non-Federal sharing, and a near-term spectrum auction, of that band. While that addition was not
the focus of commenting parties, it finds implicit support in the record, including support from Federal
users of the 1755-1780 MHz band.635 Additionally, we are deleting the existing fixed and mobile
allocations from the Federal Table in that band, but are adding new footnote US91 to govern shared
Federal/non-Federal use of the 1755-1780 MHz band, as shown in Appendix A.636
208.
In addition, we are adopting a non-substantive update to the non-Federal Table by
expanding the cross reference to Part 27 of the Commission’s rules, which is shown as “Wireless
Communications (27)” in the 1710-1755 MHz band, by displaying this cross reference in the
1695-1780 MHz band.637
4.
2020-2025 MHz
209.
As proposed in the AWS-3 NPRM, we are removing footnote NG177 from the Allocation
Table. Footnote NG177 related to the Broadcast Auxiliary Service in the 1990-2110 MHz band
transitioning to the 2025-2110 MHz band, and that transition has now been completed.638 Because we are
deferring consideration of rules that would apply to the 2020-2025 MHz band, we make no other
allocation changes that relate to that band at this time.
5.
2025-2110 MHz
210.
The 2025-2110 MHz band is allocated on a primary basis to fixed and mobile services in
the non-Federal Table; and on a primary basis to the space operation, Earth exploration-satellite, and
space research services in the Federal Table.639 In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission noted and sought
comment on the DoD Proposal, under which DoD proposes to relocate key operations from the 1755-
1780 MHz band and to obtain increased Federal access to the shared 2025-2110 MHz band.640 Comments
were initially mixed on this proposal,641 but most wireless industry commenters subsequently supported
the DoD Proposal.642 Others also support it or believe it to be preferable to commercial use of the 2025-

635 See NTIA July 2013 Letter. The NTIA July 2013 Letter included “recent correspondence to NTIA from the Chief
Information Officer of the Department of Defense (DoD) that outlines a proposal for making 1755-1780 MHz
available for auction and licensing in the near-term, while protecting critical DoD capabilities ….” NTIA July 2013
Letter
at 1.
636 See NTIA November 2013 Letter, at the enclosures titled “Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory
Committee (CSMA) Working Group 3 (WG 3) Report on 1755-1850 MHz Satellite Control and Electronic
Warfare;” “Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMA) Working Group 4: 1755-1850 MHz
Point-to-Point Microwave[,] Tactical Radio Relay (TRR)[, and] Joint Tactical Radio System / Software Defined
Radio (JTRS/SDR),” Final Report, dated July 24, 2013; and Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory
Committee (CSMAC) Working Group 5 (WG-5)[:] 1755-1850 MHz Airborne Operations (Air Combat Training
System, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Precision-Guided Munitions, Aeronautical Mobile Telemetry), Final
Report (Sept. 16, 2013).”
637 We are also adding missing cross references to Part 27 of our rules in the 1850-2000 MHz band (for 1915-1920
and 1995-2000 MHz bands) and the 2000-2020 MHz band. 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.105(e), 27.5(j)-(k).
638 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11547 ¶ 172.
639 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
640 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11548-11549 ¶ 175 (Allocation Matters, Other Bands including 2025-2110 MHz).
See also id. at 11493,11514 ¶¶ 23, 79, citing NTIA July 2013 Letter, at 1-2. See also id., Enclosure 1 (Letter from
Teresa M. Takai, Chief Information Officer, DoD, to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for
Communications and Information, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce (July 17, 2013).
641 See, e.g., CTIA – The Wireless Association Comments at 17-18, 23; T-Mobile Comments at 23-24; United States
Cellular Corporation Reply Comments at 18-19.
642 See ¶ 25, supra.
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2110 MHz band, maintaining that 2025-2110 MHz – and especially the 2095-2110 MHz portion – is not a
viable candidate band for commercial use, as it would impinge on existing uses.643 Recently, NTIA
endorsed the DoD Proposal and recommended amendments to the Allocation Table for the 2025-2110
MHz band to implement military use of that band under specific conditions that protect non-Federal
operations.644
211.
We find the DoD Proposal to be constructive, and consistent with efficient use of both the
1755-1780 MHz and 2025-2110 MHz bands. Commercial use of the former band can occur in a timely
manner under the DoD Proposal. Accordingly, we adopt NTIA’s recommended amendments, as set forth
in Appendix A. Specifically, we are adding primary Federal fixed and mobile service allocations to the
2025-2110 MHz band, limiting Federal use of these allocations to military use, specifying coordination
requirements for such operations in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding between Federal
and non-Federal fixed and mobile operations, and providing interference protection and priority to the
specified non-Federal fixed and mobile operations in this band; delete footnote US393 and add footnote
US92.645 These amendments will take effect only after the auction of the1755-1780MHz band
concludes.646
6.

Statutory Requirements

212.
In discussing any changes to the Allocation Table, the Commission sought specific
comment on any special statutory conditions that may apply, noting two particular statutory provisions of
special relevance here.
213.
First, Congress recognized the potential benefits of flexible spectrum allocations and in
1997 amended the Communications Act to add section 303(y), which grants the Commission the
authority to adopt flexible allocations if certain factors are met.647 The Commission sought comment on
how best to read Section 303(y) in light of the subsequent mandate of Section 6401 to “allocate the
spectrum described [therein] for commercial use.” The Commission also sought comment on whether
any allocation changes, together with the proposed service rules, proposed or identified in the AWS-3
NPRM
or by commenters would satisfy the four elements of Section 303(y) of the Act. Commenters did
not address these issues. For the reasons and in light of the specific rules set forth in this order, we
conclude that the allocations and service rules adopted herein satisfy these Section 303(y) statutory
requirements , to the extent they are not superseded by Section 6401.
214.
Section 1062(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 requires
that, if “in order to make available for other use a band of frequencies of which it is a primary user, the
Department of Defense is required to surrender use of such band of frequencies, the Department shall not
surrender use of such band of frequencies until…the [NTIA], in consultation with the [FCC], identifies

643 See, e.g., Boeing Comments at 4; NAB Comments at 3 and 6; TIA Comments at 11; Raytheon Reply Comments
at 7-9.
644 See NTIA November 2013 Letter, at 2-3.
645 See App. A, § 2.106 footnote US92.
646 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(16)(B) (“The Commission shall not conclude any auction of eligible frequencies
described in section 923(g)(2) of this title if the total cash proceeds attributable to such spectrum are less than 110
percent of the total estimated relocation or sharing costs provided to the Commission pursuant to section 923(g)(4)
of this title.”).
647 Section 303(y) provides the Commission with authority to allocate spectrum for flexible use if: “(1) such use is
consistent with international agreements to which the United States is a party; and (2) the Commission finds, after
notice and an opportunity for public comment, that (A) such an allocation would be in the public interest; (B) such
use would not deter investment in communications services and systems, or technology development; and (C) such
use would not result in harmful interference among users.” Balanced Budget Act of 1997, 47 U.S.C. § 303(y), Pub.
L. No. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251, 268-69.
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and makes available to the Department for its primary use, if necessary, an alternative band or bands of
frequencies as a replacement for the band to be so surrendered.”648 Furthermore, current law requires that
“the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
jointly certify…that such alternative band or bands provides comparable technical characteristics to
restore essential military capability that will be lost as a result of the band of frequencies to be so
surrendered.”649
215.
NTIA states that the amendments to the Allocation Table for the 2025-2110 MHz band
that it recommends – and that we are adopting herein – “would provide DoD additional spectrum access
to a band with comparable technical characteristics to restore essential military capabilities that will be
lost as a result of relocating systems out of 1755-1780 MHz, a statutory requirement under the Secretary
of Commerce's, DoD's, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's joint certification to Congress
under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000.”650 Based on NTIA’s representation,
we view this statutory provision as satisfied. This rule change will take effect only after the auction for
1755-1780 MHz concludes and the joint certification is submitted to Congress.651

E.

Federal/Non-Federal Coordination

216.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on coordination procedures
including whether coordination models or elements thereof used in different wireless and satellite services
would be applicable.652 In particular, the Commission sought comment on whether the coordination
procedures established for non-Federal licensees to gain early access to adjacent AWS-1 uplink band
(1710-1755 MHz) could serve as a model for coordination. The Commission explained that, in AWS-1,
the Commission worked closely with NTIA to craft a coordination procedure before the full band
transition was completed.
Prior to operating, the AWS-1 licensee was required to contact the appropriate
Federal agency to get information necessary to perform an interference
analysis.653 The AWS-1 licensee would first perform the interference analysis
and then send it to the appropriate designated agency contact for review.654 At
the end of 60 days, if the Federal agency raised no objection, the AWS-1 licensee
was permitted to commence operations.655 NTIA required Federal agencies to
cooperate with AWS-1 licensees and provide, within 30 days of a request from
an AWS-1 licensee wishing to operate within a coordination zone, site-specific
technical information that would allow the licensee to complete the interference
analysis.656 NTIA also required agencies that disapprove of an interference
analysis submitted by an AWS-1 licensee to provide the licensee with a detailed

648 Section 1062(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106–65; 113 Stat.
768); see also provisions (Surrender of Department of Defense Spectrum) set out as a note under 47 U.S.C. § 921.
649 Id.
650 See NTIA November 2013 Letter, at 2, citing AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11549-15550 ¶ 178 (citing Sec.
1062(b)).
651 See supra ¶ 211; 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(16)(B).
652 See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11510-11513 ¶¶ 65-76.
653 Id. at 11510 ¶ 67 citing The Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration—Coordination Procedures in the 1710-1755 MHz Band, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd
4730 (2006) (AWS-1 Coordination Procedures PN).
654 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11510 ¶ 67 citing AWS-1 Coordination Procedures PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 4733.
655 Id.
656 Id.
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rationale for its disapproval.657 Finally, Federal agencies were required to work
in good faith to identify the source of the harmful interference and work with
AWS-1 licensees to eliminate or mitigate the interference.658
217.
T-Mobile recommends that the Commission pattern the AWS-3 coordination process
after the process used by non-Federal licensees to gain early access to AWS-1 spectrum.659 Raytheon
disagrees and argues that AWS-1 coordination procedures would not offer sufficient protection to the
1695-1710 MHz band.660 Motorola recommends that if the Commission does not apply AWS-1
coordination procedures to the AWS-3 spectrum, then it should apply Part 27 coordination procedures.661
Mobile Future argues that the Commission should work with NTIA to develop an interference protection
model, inputs to the model, and the coordination procedure.662 Such efforts, Mobile Future continues,
should address issues that should be resolved before an auction commences.663
218.
The Commission recognizes that bidders need as much certainty as possible regarding the
scope of Federal incumbency, relocation timelines, and the potential for temporary or indefinite sharing
through geographic or temporal access to spectrum.664 Indeed, such certainty is central to meeting the
goals of the Spectrum Act to fund the Public Safety Broadband Network and to improve the CSEA to
facilitate better transparency, coordination, and predictability for bidders and licensees.665
1.

Post-auction: Federal/Non-Federal Coordination Requirement

a.
§ 309(j)(16)(C) Condition
219.
There are two Federal/non-Federal coordination scenarios: (1) “early access” prior to
Federal relocation and (2) permanent sharing. Under the first scenario, the Commission is required to

657 Id.
658 Id.
659 T-Mobile Comments at 10 citing AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11510at ¶ 67. T-Mobile states that
“coordination procedures must be transparent and responsive. For instance, there should be a single Federal point of
contact for coordination. In addition, if there is a coordination portal, it must be clear who will operate it. Any
coordination portal must be non-proprietary and should be funded through the Spectrum Relocation Fund.” T-
Mobile Comments at 11-12.
660 Raytheon Reply Comments at ii, iii, and 14.
661 Motorola Reply Comments at 4.
662 Mobile Future Comments at 11-12.
663 Id.
664 Accord, Annex O Section 0.4.2 (“NTIA expects that the transition plans’ content will provide valuable
information to prospective bidders preparing for an auction and to winning bidders planning for their system
deployments or leasing strategies.”) and Section O.5.1 (“With regard to spectrum sharing in eligible frequencies, the
statute contemplates a range of potential arrangements including: (1) short-term or temporary sharing in anticipation
of the ultimate relocation of federal entities’ spectrum-related operations; (2) long-term or indefinite sharing
between federal entities and non-federal users; and (3) sharing among relocated federal entities and incumbents to
make spectrum available for non-federal use.”).
665 See Relocation of and Spectrum Sharing by Federal Government Stations—Technical Panels and Dispute
Resolution Boards, 78 FR 5310, 5311 (NTIA, Jan. 25, 2013) (the Spectrum Act improved the CSEA provisions to
“facilitate better transparency, coordination, and predictability for bidders in FCC spectrum auctions and the
ultimate winners of those auctions through, for example, a new requirement that NTIA publish the agencies
transition plans on NTIA’s website at least 120 days before commencement of the corresponding FCC auction, with
the exception of classified and other sensitive information.”).
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condition non-Federal licenses on not causing harmful interference to relocating Federal operations.666
The Spectrum Act did not amend this provision of the original CSEA (2004), which contemplated Federal
relocations but not the Federal non-Federal sharing scenario added by the Spectrum Act. Accordingly,
we conclude that this statutory provision governs the scenario for which it was adopted—Federal
relocations—and that it is inapplicable to the sharing scenario under which termination of the eligible
Federal entity’s authorization is unrestricted. We will apply the condition to each AWS-3 license by
rule.667 Thus, licenses to operate in the 1695-1710 MHz or 1755-1780 MHz bands are subject to the
condition that the licensee must not cause harmful interference to an incumbent Federal entity relocating
from these bands under an approved Transition Plan. This condition remains in effect until NTIA
terminates the applicable authorization of the incumbent Federal entity. Although this statutory license
condition does not apply to the permanent sharing scenario added by the Spectrum Act, the rules we adopt
today require successful coordination to avoid causing harmful interference to these Federal incumbents.
b.

General Coordination Requirement

220.
For both coordination scenarios (early access prior to Federal relocation and permanent
sharing) successful coordination with Federal incumbents is required prior to operation as follows:
 1695-1710 MHz: 27 Protection Zones with distances depending on uplink EIRP
 1755-1780 MHz: unless stated otherwise in a Joint FCC/NTIA public notice (or in a
written agreement among all relevant parties) the coordination requirement is as
follows depending on the type of Federal authorization(s) involved:
o US&P Federal assignments: Each AWS licensee must contact each Federal
agency that has U.S. and Possessions (US&P) authority prior to its first
operations in its licensed area to reach a coordination arrangement on an
operator-to-operator basis.
o Other Federal assignments: Each AWS licensee must successfully
coordinate a proposed operation with each non-US&P Federal incumbent.
The default requirement is a nationwide coordination zone with possible
revisions and details to be announced in a Joint FCC/NTIA public notice.
221.
Joint FCC/NTIA Public Notice on Coordination Details. Federal use of the radio
spectrum is generally governed by the NTIA while non-Federal use is governed by the Commission.668
As such, consistent with the approach used for AWS-1, we believe that any guidance or details
concerning Federal/non-Federal coordination should be issued jointly by NTIA and the Commission. In
this regard, we authorize and direct the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to work with NTIA staff, in
collaboration with affected Federal agencies or CSMAC members, to develop a joint FCC and NTIA
public notice with information on coordination procedures in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz
bands. We understand that one or more Federal incumbents are proposing to develop one or more online
portals, similar to the portal that DoD developed for AWS-1, that would permit AWS licensees to submit
coordination data online in a standard format for distribution to the relevant Federal incumbents. Until

666 See 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(16)(C) (Authority to issue prior to deauthorization) (“In any auction conducted under the
regulations required by [the 110 percent rule], the Commission may grant a license assigned for the use of eligible
frequencies prior to the termination of an eligible Federal entity’s authorization. However, the Commission shall
condition such license by requiring that the licensee cannot cause harmful interference to such Federal entity until
such entity’s authorization has been terminated by the [NTIA].”)
667 See App A., 47 C.F.R. § 27.5(h).
668 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 305(a), 902(b)(2)(A).
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such online capability exists, the Spectrum Act requires each incumbent agency to include contact
information in its Transition Plan.669 Until a coordination portal is operational, licensees will have to rely
on the point of contact provided in each agency's transition plan.
222.
The successful implementation of commercial services in the AWS-3 bands depends
upon successful coordination and sharing with Federal users, whether on a temporary basis as Federal
systems relocate their operations or on an ongoing, permanent shared basis for those systems that remain
in the band. The Federal incumbents in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands must be able to
continue operations free from harmful interference and without being held accountable for interference
into new commercial operations while the agencies are operating within their authorized operational
parameters. Similarly, federal incumbents remaining in the band must be able to have the flexibility to
coordinate with commercial licensees if reasonable modification of existing, grandfathered operations are
required in the future. We expect a good faith effort from both the AWS-3 licensees and the Federal
incumbents to share information about their systems, agree to appropriate interference methodologies, and
communicate results so as to facilitate commercial use of the band. This extends to AWS licensees
sharing information with Federal incumbents and cooperating in testing once Federal incumbents develop
and implement real-time spectrum monitoring systems around existing Federal operations protected in the
1695-1710 MHz and adjacent bands.
2.

Pre-auction Information on Federal Incumbents for Bidders

223.
NTIA must post the public version of each approved transition plan on its website no
later than 120 days before the start date of the auction.670 The transition plans must generally describe an
agency’s plan for “the implementation by such entity of the relocation or sharing arrangement.”671 The
plans the agencies submitted to NTIA and the Technical Panel contain information about the frequencies
used, emission bandwidth, system use, geographic service area, timeline for sharing, timeline for
transition, and estimated cost of relocation or sharing.672 Agencies that will not be able to release the
entire plan will need to make a determination regarding what information can be released to reasonably
help inform potential bidders about the incumbent Federal uses and the timelines for sharing and
relocation.
224.
Supplemental Information Access: Affected agencies are permitted to redact from the
publicly-released transition plans classified national security information and “other information for
which there is a legal basis for nondisclosure and the public disclosure of which would be detrimental to
national security, homeland security, or public safety or would jeopardize a law enforcement
investigation” from the publicly-released transition plans.673 In the event that publicly-released transition
plans contain incomplete information or lack key information necessary for potential bidders to accurately
value the spectrum, the FCC, NTIA, and the affected Federal agencies will collaborate with industry
stakeholders on possible supplemental information disclosure processes.674 We recognize that any
supplemental information disclosure must appropriately protect national security considerations and law
enforcement equities in accordance with the statutory requirement. If it is determined that a supplemental

669 See id. § 923(h)(2)(F).
670 Id. § 923(h)(5).
671 Id. §§ 923(h)(1); 928(d)(2)(A).
672 See Annex O, Appendix, Common Format for Transition Plans.
673 47 U.S.C. §§ 923(h)(7); 929.
674 See, e.g., Letter from Scott K. Bergman, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CTIA, to FCC Chairman Wheeler
and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O’Reilly, and Assistant Secretary Strickling, NTIA, dated
Feb. 25, 2014 (proposing a three-stage timeline for release of Federal agencies’ transition plans and technical data
under which Federal agencies would open a window for executing non-disclosure agreements to receive information
under the second and third stages).
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information release process will be necessary and can be finalized, a Public Notice will announce the
process.

F.

Interoperability Requirement

225.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission asked commenters to address any specific
technical rules for the AWS-3 bands.675 USCC, T-Mobile, and several other commenters seek an
interoperability requirement among AWS-1 and AWS-3 devices, or at least among AWS-3 devices in the
1755-1780 MHz band (paired with 2155-2180 MHz band), asserting that interoperability creates
significant benefits.676 USCC urges the Commission to adopt a clear, ex ante interoperability
requirement, stating that access to interoperable devices by all AWS-3 licensees also would enhance
economies of scale, expand roaming opportunities, and promote competition, which would lead to greater
investment and innovation and lower costs for consumers.677 Specifically, USCC would require that: (1)
all AWS-3 mobile devices be capable of transmitting across the entire 1710-1780 MHz uplink band and
receiving across the entire 2110-2180 MHz downlink band; and (2) all AWS-3 networks support and
permit the use of such mobile devices.678 USCC stresses that it is particularly important for the AWS-3
interoperability requirement to obligate licensees to include all of the paired 1755-1780/2155-2180 MHz
bands.679 USCC states that a failure to adopt this requirement would significantly reduce the value of the
AWS-3 spectrum blocks located outside of the current 3GPP Band 10 frequency range (1710-1770
MHz/2110-2170 MHz band).680 USCC contends that this could encourage the large national carriers to
focus on, and thus monopolize, the other AWS-3 blocks, leaving only the “orphaned” uppermost 10
megahertz of AWS-3 spectrum potentially available to small and regional carriers, who even collectively
lack sufficient market power to drive device development.681 T-Mobile supports interoperability between
AWS-3 and AWS-1 and states that the Commission should require interoperability for future AWS-3
devices.682 T-Mobile also asserts that interoperability will promote a global market, not hinder

675 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶ 85.
676 USCC Comments at 16-17, USCC Reply Comments at 26-30; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 21-22. See also
Sprint Reply Comments at 6; NTCH Reply Comments at 2-3; Blooston Rural Carriers Reply Comments at 6-7;
Rural Wireless Association, Inc. Reply Comments at 2, 7-8; Smith Bagley, MTPCS, and Cellular Network
Partnership Joint Reply at 3-4.
677 USCC Comments at 16-17, USCC Reply Comments at 26-30.
678 USCC Comments at 16-17, USCC Reply Comments at 27.
679 USCC Ex Parte dated Feb. 27, 2014, at 3-4. USCC’s initial interoperability proposal included 1695-1710 MHz
and 2095-2110 MHz assuming that the Commission would pair these bands. USCC’s alternative interoperability
proposal does not include these bands because “[u]nfortunately, commenters . . .recognize[] that there are potentially
significant challenges to reallocating the 2095-2110 MHz band,[cites omitted] and thus pairing this spectrum with
the 1695-1710 MHz band.” USCC Ex Parte dated Feb. 27, 2014, at 3.
680 USCC Ex Parte dated Feb. 27, 2014, at 3-4.
681 Id. See also USCC Comments at 16-17; USCC Reply Comments at 26-30.
682 T-Mobile Ex Parte dated Feb. 14, 2014, at 1 and attached slide deck at 5. See also T-Mobile Reply Comments at
21-22 (supporting AWS-3 interoperability generally and stating that the Commission should consider an
interoperability mandate at least for the 1755-1780 MHz band because this band, when paired with the 2155-2180
MHz band, aligns closely with 3GPP Band Class 10 and devices throughout the band would not be required to span
multiple band classes). T-Mobile Reply Comments at 21-22 and n.82 citing Letter from Kris Rinne, Network
Technologies SVP, AT&T Mobility; Chris Pearson, President, 4G Americas; Neville Ray, Chief Technology
Officer, T-Mobile; Nicola Palmer, Chief Technology Officer, Verizon Wireless; and Steve Largent, President and
CEO, CTIA-The Wireless Association, to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary, NTIA, at 1 (dated Apr. 24,
2013).
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availability, affordability, and portability of user equipment as “boutique” band classes will; as well as
delaying deployment of services.683
226.
DISH proposes an interoperability requirement similar to USCC’s proposal, except DISH
would include the AWS-4 downlink band at 2180-2200 MHz.684 Verizon opposes any equipment
interoperability mandate685 and Verizon and AT&T state that the AWS-3 NPRM did not propose or seek
comment on an interoperability requirement between AWS-3 and AWS-4.686 Verizon also notes that that
DISH filed its AWS 1/3/4 interoperability proposal very recently and that there is inadequate time for
parties to evaluate it in this proceeding from a technical or other perspective.687 DISH acknowledges the
timing of its specific interoperability proposal but states that the Commission discussed in detail the
efficiencies of combining adjacent AWS-1 spectrum with AWS-3688 and that the general concept of
interoperability has been discussed in the record at length as it relates to combining the AWS-1 and
AWS-3 bands.689 Because the Commission tentatively found that having additional spectrum that is

683 See T-Mobile Reply Comments at 21, n.81 citing T-Mobile 17th Wireless Competition Report Comments at 23;
T-Mobile 17th Wireless Competition Report Reply Comments at 19.
684 See DISH Ex Parte dated March 7, 2014, Attach. at 5. See also DISH Ex Parte dated March 14, 2014 at 3
(stating that without an interoperability requirement, the AWS-4 downlink could not be carrier-aggregated with the
AWS-3 band because carrier aggregation is not feasible for two immediately adjacent 3GPP bands that use separate
filters).
685 Verizon Ex Parte dated March 14, 2014, at 2. Opposing USCC’s proposal for a spectrum cap to prevent a lack of
interoperability in the AWS bands like the one that occurred in the Lower 700 MHz band, Verizon Wireless states
that USCC “ignores all of the unique factors that led to the lack of interoperability in [the Lower 700 MHz] band –
factors that are entirely absent in the AWS-3 band.” Verizon Wireless Reply Comments at 7 citing USCC
Comments at 50-51. “The way for the FCC to ensure interoperability in bands going forward is to establish band
plans that will minimize interference . . . .” Verizon Wireless Reply at 7-8.
686 Verizon Ex Parte dated March 19, 2014, at 1-2; AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1. Regarding an
interoperability mandate, AT&T states that it “has not officially opposed the requirement that the paired allocations
in AWS-1 and AWS-3 interoperate.” Id.
687 Verizon Ex Parte dated March 19, 2014, at 1-2; see also AT&T Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1-2. Verizon
Wireless states that 3GPP standards work that is already underway to develop a single AWS-1/3 band class could be
slowed by adding AWS-4 downlink spectrum, delaying AWS-3 deployment and device availability. Id. at 2. DISH
disagrees with Verizon’s characterization of the current status of 3GPP work: “DISH challenges Verizon to produce
evidence to substantiate its claims that 3GPP work has started.” DISH Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 1.
Verizon responds thusly: As DISH recognizes, 3GPP standards work of this sort is initiated by submitting a work
item to a relevant working group. Verizon and T-Mobile have been actively working together to ensure
interoperability across the AWS-1 and AWS-3 bands. Indeed, we have drafted and finalized a work item that we—
and other industry stakeholders—will submit to the Radio Access Network (RAN4) working group for consideration
at its next meeting, which is scheduled to begin on March 31[, 2014]”.
688 DISH Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 2-3 citing AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11495 ¶ 30.
689 Id. at 2, n.6 citing “Letter from George Y. Wheeler, Peter M. Connolly, and Leighton T. Brown, United States
Cellular Corporation, to Marlene H. Dortch, FCC, GN Docket No. 13-185, at 3 (February 27, 2014) (asking the
Commission to require that “(1) all AWS-3 mobile devices be capable of transmitting across the entire 1710-1780
MHz uplink band and receiving across the entire 2110- 2180 MHz downlink band; and (2) all AWS-3 networks
support and permit the use of such mobile devices.”); Reply Comments of T-Mobile USA, Inc., GN Docket No. 13-
185, at 21 (October 28, 2013) (“[T]he Commission should consider an interoperability mandate at least for the 1755-
1780 MHz band…”). See also Letter from C. Sean Spivey, Competitive Carriers Association, to Marlene H. Dortch,
FCC, GN Docket No. 13-185, at 3 (March 6, 2014) (“CCA urged the Commission to adopt an interoperability
requirement for the AWS-3 band.”); Reply Comments of the Rural Wireless Association, GN Docket No. 13-185, at
7-8 (filed October 28, 2013) (“[I]t is imperative that the Commission adopt rules requiring interoperability in the
AWS-3 band in order to increase deployment of wireless broadband services to rural America. Mandating
interoperability across the AWS-3 band will avoid a repeat of the problems small wireless carriers have experienced
with obtaining devices that work in the Lower 700 MHz band, which has left them unable to effectively compete
(continued….)
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adjacent to that used for like services would promote efficiency in broadband deployment.690 DISH
asserts that rules that promote efficiency based on the principle of spectrum adjacency would be a logical
outgrowth of the AWS-3 NPRM’s tentative finding, no matter which side of the AWS-3 downlinks the
adjacent spectrum is on.691 DISH also dismisses as misguided Verizon’s suggestion that there may be
“technical limitations” that would prevent or delay the addition of 2180-2200 MHz to the AWS downlink
ecosystem as follows:
DISH’s proposal for interoperability between the AWS-1, AWS-3, and AWS-4
downlink bands impacts only devices, which are operating in receive mode and
are not subject to any transmit restrictions. Furthermore, nothing in DISH’s
proposal requires any changes to base stations operating in transmit mode in the
downlink band for AWS operators. Therefore, Verizon’s introduction of the
possible impact of “federal AMT operations at 2200-2290 MHz” on “AWS-3
equipment that also includes the AWS-4 downlink band” is irrelevant. Such
federal operations are only relevant to DISH’s base stations in 2180-2200
MHz.692
227.
The Commission historically has been interested in promoting interoperability.
Beginning with the licensing of cellular spectrum, the Commission maintained that consumer equipment
should be capable of operating over the entire range of cellular spectrum as a means to “insure full
coverage in all markets and compatibility on a nationwide basis.”693 Although the Commission did not
adopt a rule to require band-wide interoperability for PCS, it again stressed the importance of
interoperability by acknowledging industry efforts to establish voluntary interoperability standards and
asserted that “[t]he availability of interoperability standards will deliver important benefits to consumers
and help achieve our objectives of universality, competitive delivery of PCS, that includes the ability of
consumers to switch between PCS systems at low cost, and competitive markets for PCS equipment.”694
The Commission also stated that if PCS technology did not develop in a manner to accommodate roaming
(Continued from previous page)
against large carriers in their markets and has significantly delayed deployment of services. Not requiring a fully
interoperable AWS-3 device ecosystem could result in a repeat of the delayed roll-out of the Lower 700 MHz
band.”); Letter from Tamara Preiss, Verizon, to Marlene H. Dortch, FCC, GN Docket No. 13-185, at 2 (February 3,
2014) (asking the FCC to “adopt technical rules for the AWS-3 spectrum that are consistent with the rules for the
AWS-1 band, including a mobile uplink power limit of +23 dBm EIRP, which will facilitate use of the AWS-3
spectrum and interoperability across AWS bands. We noted the opportunity for industry to promote handset
interoperability through the development of a single band class that would cover AWS-1 and paired spectrum at
1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz.”).”
690 DISH Ex Parte dated March 20, 2014, at 2-3 citing AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11495 ¶ 30. DISH
acknowledges that the Commission went on to state that “the creation of an additional AWS allocation immediately
adjacent to the current AWS-1 allocation would allow for more immediate equipment development and
deployment,” but DISH describes this as only an application of the general rule that harmonized operations on
adjacent spectrum promote efficiency. Id. at 3.
691 Id. at 3-4. “Here, the concept of interoperability among both the spectrum to be auctioned (AWS-3) and the
immediately adjacent bands (AWS-1 and AWS-4) was adequately noticed in the AWS-3 NPRM.” Id. at 3.
692 Id. at 1-2 (notes omitted).
693 Inquiry Into the Use of the Bands 825-845 MHz and 870-890 MHz for Cellular Communications Systems; and
Amendment of Parts 2 and 22 of the Commission’s Rules Relative to Cellular Communications Systems, CC
Docket No. 79-318, Report & Order, 86 FCC 2d 469, 482 (1981) (Cellular Report and Order). The Commission
adopted band-wide interoperability requirements for cellular service. Id.
694 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, RM-7140, RM-
7175, RM-7618, GEN Docket No. 90-314, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 4957, 5021-22 ¶¶ 163-64
(1994) (Broadband PCS Memorandum Opinion and Order).
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and interoperability, it might consider “what actions the Commission may take to facilitate the more rapid
development of appropriate standards.”695 In 1997, we established a rule requiring receiver
interoperability for satellite digital audio radio services,696 and in implementing authority over public
safety broadband systems prior to the Spectrum Act, the Commission determined in 2007 that it was
“imperative” to establish a nationwide broadband interoperability standard.697 More recently, in WT
Docket No. 12-69, the Commission took certain steps to implement an industry solution to provide
interoperable Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in the Lower 700 MHz band in an efficient and
effective manner to improve choice and quality for consumers of mobile services.698 A number of the
principal wireless providers licensed in the 700 MHz band, along with the Competitive Carriers
Association, had developed a voluntary industry solution that would resolve the lack of interoperability in
this band while allowing flexibility in responding to evolving consumer needs and dynamic and fast-
paced technological developments. In reviewing the voluntary solution, the Commission determined that
amendments to the rules and modifications to licenses serve the public interest by enabling consumers,
especially in rural areas, to enjoy the benefits of greater competition and more choices, and by
encouraging efficient use of spectrum, investment, job creation, and the development of innovative
mobile broadband services and equipment.699 Although no party requested that we impose an
interoperability requirement with respect to the 10 megahertz of H Block spectrum, as they have for the
larger AWS-3 band in this proceeding, we stressed again in that context that “interoperability is an
important aspect of future deployment of mobile broadband services and generally serves the public
interest.”700
228.
In the AWS-3 NPRM, the Commission noted that, where possible, it was proposing to
adopt for AWS-3 the same technical rules that apply to AWS-1701 and wireless industry commenters
overwhelmingly supported this approach—with strong objections to the Commission’s proposal to depart
from the AWS-1 power limit for mobiles and portables.702 The Commission also asked whether to pair
any of the proposed AWS-3 band segments, and whether there are likely to be any competitive effects of
the pairing choice that it should consider.703 Wireless industry commenters overwhelmingly urge us to
designate 1755-1780 MHz for AWS paired with 2155-2180 MHz due to its adjacency to AWS-1.704
Indeed, for well over the past decade, the wireless industry has sought commercial use of the 1710-1780
MHz Federal band to pair with the 2110-2180 MHz non-Federal band. In 2006, the Commission issued
licenses for AWS-1 at 1710-1755/2110-2155 MHz. In 2008, the Commission proposed AWS service

695 Id. at 5022 ¶ 164.
696 Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band,
Report and Order [and] Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC
Rcd 5754 ¶¶ 103, 106 (1997).
697 Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 06-150, Second Report and
Order,
22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15291 ¶ 363 (2007).
698 See Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket No. 12-69, Report and Order
and Order of Proposed Modification
, 28 FCC Rcd 15122 (2013) (Lower 700 MHz Interoperability R&O).
699 See id.
700 H Block R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 9498 ¶ 32.
701 See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517 ¶85.
702 See supra section, III.B.3.b (Mobile and Portable Stations (1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz)). “The
Commission should adopt technical rules for the AWS-3 spectrum that are consistent with the rules for the AWS-1
band . . . which will facilitate use of the AWS-3 spectrum and interoperability across AWS bands.” Verizon Ex
Parte
dated Feb. 3, 2014, at 2.
703 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11501¶ 48.
704 See paras. 42-44, supra.
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rules for 2155-2180 MHz unpaired, and most wireless industry commenters in that proceeding urged the
Commission to defer action until 2155-2180 MHz could be licensed paired with 1755-1780 MHz. As
discussed above, the record now before us overwhelmingly indicates that licensing 1755-1780 MHz
paired with 2155-2180 MHz is ideal precisely because it is contiguous to and can be used as an extension
of the AWS-1 bands.705 AT&T, in supporting the pairing of 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz, states
that “[t]he ability to combine the AWS-3 and AWS-1 bands in a single band class would result in more
efficient spectrum utilization and more efficient LTE networks.”706 The existence of Band Class 10
supports this conclusion but, as USCC and other commenters have noted, it could also result in outcomes
inimical to the public interest—operations in the United States limited to Band 10, e.g., if large carriers
focused on blocks within Band 10 leaving 1770-1780/2170-2180 MHz “orphaned.”707
229.
To the extent that smaller operators favor smaller license sizes, we note that the AWS-3
paired block that we are designating for the smallest geographic licensing area (CMAs) and all of the
smallest, 5 megahertz paired blocks, are within existing Band Class 10. Additionally, based on the record
before us, we conclude that the public interest is best served by requiring AWS-3 mobile and portable
stations that operate on any frequencies in the 1755-1780 MHz band (paired with the 2155-2180 MHz
band) to be capable of operating on all frequencies in the 1710-1780 MHz band (paired with the 2110-
2180 MHz band) using all air interfaces that the equipment utilizes on any frequencies in the 1710-1780
MHz band (paired with frequencies in the 2110-2180 MHz band). Although Section 6401 of the
Spectrum Act would require us to auction and license these bands by February 2015 pursuant to flexible
use service rules whether or not we adopt an additional interoperability requirement, we conclude that
adopting such a requirement prior to licensing best serves the public interest by removing uncertainty,
e.g., for potential applicants that intend to follow 3GPP standards if licensed in the 1755-1780 MHz and
2155-2180 MHz bands.708 With an assurance of basic interoperability across 1755-80 MHz (paired with
2155-2180 MHz) and AWS-1, potential licensees, particularly smaller ones, will face less uncertainty
over the development of a healthy device ecosystem.709 We note that at this time this rule applies to
AWS-3 licensees and AWS-3 bands as described herein. We adopt this basic interoperability requirement
pursuant to our separate authority under Title III of the Communications Act.710
230.
Consistent with precedent, we stress the importance of promoting interoperability
throughout the 1710-1780 MHz/2110-2180 MHz band—as reflected in the industry efforts to establish

705 See paras. 42-44, supra.
706 AT&T Comments at 6. See also CTIA Reply Comments at 3-7 stating that the opening comments demonstrate
the key public interest benefits of this pairing and that “‘[t]hese factors make it highly likely that a new,
internationally harmonized AWS-1/AWS-3 band class would result in significant economies of scale and allow for
more immediate equipment development and deployment.’” CTIA Reply Comments at 7, n.18 quoting AT&T
Comments at 7.
707 See text accompanying note 681, supra.
708 As several commenters note, voluntary industry band classes for commercial systems can significantly benefit or
harm consumers. “Adopting an interoperability requirement will help to ‘promote timely access to a variety of
mobile devices by all AWS-3 licensees, including small and regional carriers’ while preventing a situation, like that
in the 700 MHz band, where manufacturers focused on the needs of the larger carriers, which significantly delayed
‘the deployment of advanced services to many rural and underserved areas.’" Smith Bagley, MTPCS, and Cellular
Network Partnership Joint Reply at 4 quoting USCC Comments at 18.
709 “Interoperability will also ‘facilitate roaming arrangements and allow smaller regional carriers to compete with
the larger carriers—a result that is in the public interest.’” Smith Bagley, MTPCS, and Cellular Network
Partnership Joint Reply at 4 quoting USCC Comments at 24.
710 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 303(b), 303(g), 303(r). See also id. §§ 153(28) (defining “mobile stations”), (42) (defining
station license by reference to “use or operation of apparatus”), 153(57) (defining transmission to include “all
instrumentalities, facilities, and services incidental” thereto), 154(i). See generally Lower 700 MHz Interoperability
R&O
, 28 FCC Rcd at 15155-56 ¶¶ 69-70 (2013).
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voluntary interoperability standards covering most of this spectrum and the overwhelming industry
representations herein, and for well over the past decade before Congress, the Executive Branch,
internationally, and the Commission, as to the suitability of the 1710-1780 MHz band (paired with 2110-
2180 MHz) for AWS operations. Indeed, a failure to achieve basic interoperability of devices using the
same air interface(s) in the 1710-1780 MHz band (paired with the 2110-2180 MHz band) would be
completely at odds with longstanding commercial wireless industry-wide efforts for access to additional
spectrum. With this in mind, we emphasize that the availability of voluntary interoperability standards
will deliver important benefits to consumers and help achieve our objectives of universality, competitive
delivery of devices that utilize the 1710-1780 MHz band (paired with the 2155-2180 MHz band) because
devices that operate in the 1755-1780 MHz band (paired with 2155-2180 MHz) will include the AWS-1
bands, thereby promoting the ability of consumers to switch between AWS systems that use the same air
interface(s) at low cost, and competitive markets for equipment.”711
231.
Finally, we recognize that USCC initially sought an interoperability requirement that
extends to 1695-1710 MHz and that DISH recently proposed including the 2180-2200 MHz AWS-4 band.
Given that 1695-1710 MHz will be auctioned and licensed unpaired, we conclude that extending an
interoperability requirement to this band at this time would be inappropriate because the downlink band(s)
is undetermined. At this time, we also decline DISH’s suggestion to add the AWS-4 downlink band
(2180-2200 MHz) into the basic interoperability rule for AWS-3 licensees. The record is not developed
on this issue712 and relevant technical issues have not been fully explored by commenters. Nonetheless,
we appreciate the potential public interest benefits of an expansive, interoperable, band extending across
most, or possibly all, of the 1.7 GHz uplink band and the 2.1 GHz downlink band. Accordingly, at this
juncture, we encourage interested parties to work towards voluntary, standards-based solutions to
facilitate interoperability, to the extent technically practical, across all of these AWS-1/3/4 bands. Once
AWS-3 is licensed, we expect AWS-3 licensees to participate in good faith in standard setting processes
to extend interoperability across AWS-1/3/4 (1710-1780 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz), unless there are
technical impediments to doing so. If technical concerns arise, we expect parties to work to find
reasonable measures to remedy those concerns. In the absence of technical impediments to
interoperability, if the Commission determines that progress on interoperability has stalled in the
standards process, future AWS-3 licensees are hereby on notice that the Commission will consider
initiating a rulemaking regarding the extension of an interoperability mandate that includes AWS-4
(2180-2200 MHz) at that time. Should we undertake such a rulemaking, relevant considerations may
include considerations of harmful interference, technical cost and difficulty of implementation, and the
extent to which licensees are common to both the AWS-3 and AWS-4 bands.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Ex Parte Presentations

232.
We remind interested parties that this proceeding is “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in
accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.713 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two

711 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, RM-7140, RM-
7175, RM-7618, GEN Docket No. 90-314, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 4957, 5021-22 ¶¶ 163-64
(1994) (Broadband PCS Memorandum Opinion and Order).
712 Compare, e.g., text accompanying note 704, supra. Apart from longstanding, wireless industry-wide advocacy
for 1710-1780 MHz paired with 2110-2180 MHz, the record before us reflects among AWS-1/3 interoperability
proponents a reciprocal understanding of sorts among potential, future AWS-3 licensees: if licensed in 1755-
1780/2155-2180 MHz, each proponent is willing to accept any burden arising from the interoperability requirement
that it seeks. On the other hand, DISH’s proposed AWS-1/3/4 interoperability requirement would not apply to any
AWS-4 devices. While this lack of reciprocity does not disqualify the proposal, the distinction is a consideration
that cannot be ignored.
713 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
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business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing
oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment
filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt,
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex
parte
rules.
233.
As discussed in section III.E (Federal/Non-Federal Coordination) above, in the process of
developing one or more joint public notices regarding Federal/non-Federal coordination, NTIA may seek
recommendations from the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC). CSMAC
is an advisory committee created for the purpose of advising NTIA on spectrum policy issues. CSMAC
consists of private-sector “Special Government Employees” appointed by NTIA to provide advice and
recommendations on U.S. spectrum management policy.714 Commission staff has been present at
meetings of the full CSMAC and has participated in CSMAC’s working groups.715 Commission staff’s
participation in these meetings, and the free flow of information during the meetings, is essential to
gaining an understanding of the issues implicated in making 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz
available for commercial wireless use. While the CSMAC’s meetings are open to the public, the FCC’s
ex parte requirements could, depending on the particular factual circumstances, be triggered if FCC
decision makers are present, and oral or written presentations are made.716 Similarly, meetings of the
CSMAC’s working groups could, depending on the particular factual circumstances, be subject to the
Commission’s ex parte rules when FCC decision makers are present, if oral or written ex parte
presentations are made.
234.
Therefore, pursuant to our authority under Section 1.1200 of the Commission’s rules, we
continue the limited exemption in the AWS-3 proceeding (GN Docket No. 13-185) from the ex parte
disclosure requirements of Section 1.1206 presentations made in formally organized meetings of the
CSMAC at which FCC staff is present, and meetings held in connection with CSMAC, including working
groups in which FCC staff is a participant.717 Such presentations will be exempt to the same extent as
presentations are exempt under the shared jurisdiction exemption of Section 1.1204(a)(5).718 We note that

714 See U.S. Department of Commerce, Charter of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee
(2013), http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/csmac_2013_charter.pdf.
715 See, e.g., Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology Exempt Certain Ex
Parte Presentations in GN Docket No. 13-185, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 12268 (WTB,OET 2013).
716 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206.
717 Id. §§ 1.1200, 1.1206.
718 See id. § 1.1204(a)(5). Specifically, the ex parte requirements do not apply provided that “any new factual
information obtained through such a presentation that is relied on by the Commission in its decision-making process
will, if not otherwise submitted for the record, be disclosed by the Commission no later than at the time of the
release of the Commission’s decision.” Id.
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this exemption does not change the nature of public CSMAC proceedings; it simply allows FCC staff to
participate without triggering disclosure requirements under the Commission’s ex parte rules.
235.
The AWS-3 Report and Order discusses matters concerning relocating federal users in
1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz, spectrum sharing between commercial and federal users in 1695-
1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz, and implementation matters related to the Spectrum Relocation Fund
and the Public Safety Trust Fund. Discussions regarding these matters, may not be open to the public,
and will occur between or among several agencies or branches of the Federal Government. Commission
staff is regularly engaged with staff from NTIA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department
of Justice (DoJ), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other federal
agencies and offices for the purpose of coordinating these matters, including but not limited to facilitating
commercial use of the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands. In addition, relevant Congressional
committees have sought to further facilitate discussion among Federal Government stakeholders. Some
of these discussions may already be subject to the Section 1.1204(a)(5) ex parte exemption in the
Commission’s rules, to the extent that they involve a matter over which that agency or branch and the
Commission share jurisdiction, while others may not.719 We believe that these discussions among Federal
Government personnel will benefit from an uninhibited flow of information between and among all
participants, including potentially sensitive information regarding strategic federal use of these bands.
236.
Therefore, pursuant to our authority under Section 1.1200 of the Commission’s rules, we
exempt from the ex parte disclosure requirements of Section 1.1206 presentations regarding the AWS-3
proceeding (GN Docket No. 13-185) made between representatives from the FCC and NTIA, OMB,
OSTP, DoD, DoJ, NOAA, other federal offices and agencies, or Congressional committee members and
committee staff, to the same extent as presentations are exempt under the shared jurisdiction exemption of
Section 1.1204(a)(5).720
237.
To the extent that any of the participants in the above-described meetings intends the
Commission, with respect to any decision it makes in the AWS-3 proceeding, to rely on an ex parte
presentation to which we have extended an exemption herein, we encourage that party to file the
presentation (or, if oral, summary of it) in the record with ample time for other interested parties to the
proceeding to review and respond, as appropriate, and for Commission staff to fully analyze and
incorporate as necessary into any subsequent Commission decision. In this regard, we advise these
participants that, consistent with the limitations of the exemption that we have established herein for the
AWS-3 proceeding, in rendering a decision in this proceeding the Commission will not rely on an ex
parte
presentation covered by this exemption unless it is added to the record, at the latest, prior to the
release of the decision.

B.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

238.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)721 requires that an agency prepare a regulatory
flexibility analysis for notice and comment rulemakings, unless the agency certifies that “the rule will not,
if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.”722
Accordingly, we have prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) concerning the possible
impact of the rule changes contained in the Report and Order on small entities. The FRFA is set forth in
Appendix B.

719 See id.
720 See id; supra note 717.
721 See 5 U.S.C. § 601–612. The RFA has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness
Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
722 5 U.S.C. § 605(b).
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C.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

239.
This document contains modified information collection requirements subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) for review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public,
and other Federal agencies are invited to comment on the new or modified information collection
requirements contained in this proceeding. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought
specific comment on how the Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for
small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
240.
In this present document, we have assessed the effects of the policies adopted in this
Report and Order with regard to information collection burdens on small business concerns, and find that
these policies will benefit many companies with fewer than 25 employees because the revisions we adopt
should provide small entities with more information, more flexibility, and more options for gaining access
to valuable spectrum. In addition, we have described impacts that might affect small businesses, which
includes most businesses with fewer than 25 employees, in the FRFA in Appendix B, infra.

D.

Further Information

241.
For additional information on this proceeding, contact Ronald Repasi, Office of
Engineering and Technology, at (202) 418-0768 or Ronald.Repasi@fcc.gov or Peter Daronco, Broadband
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-7235 or Peter.Daronco@fcc.gov.

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

242.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201, 301, 302, 303,
307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and
sections 6003, 6004, and 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat.
156, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 201, 301, 302(a), 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333,
1403, 1404, and 1451, that this Report and Order IS HEREBY ADOPTED.
243.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Parts 1, 2 and 27 of the Commission’s Rules, 47
C.F.R. Parts 1, 2 and 27, ARE AMENDED as specified in Appendix A, effective 30 days after
publication in the Federal Register except as otherwise provided herein.723 It is our intention in adopting
these rule changes that, if any provision of the rules, or the application thereof to any person or
circumstance, are held to be unlawful, the remaining portions of the rules not deemed unlawful, and the
application of such rules to other persons or circumstances, shall remain in effect to the fullest extent
permitted by law.
244.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the amendments, adopted above and specified in the
Appendix A, to sections 2.1033(c)(19)(i)-(ii); 27.14(a),(f), (k), (s); 27.15(d)(1)(iii), (d)(2)(iii); 27.17(c);
27.50(d)(3); 27.1105; 27.1131; 27.1132; 27.1134(c), (f) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
2.1033(c)(19)(i)-(ii); 27.14(a),(f), (k), (s); 27.15(d)(1)(iii), (d)(2)(iii); 27.17(c); 27.50(d)(3); 27.1105;
27.1131; 27.1132; 27.1134(c), (f), which contain new or modified information collection requirements
that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act,

723 The Final Rules that we are adopting in Appendix A also include several non-substantive revisions to the rules as
follows: we are moving from 47 C.F.R. § 1.949(c) to 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(q) the criteria for renewal for AWS-4 with
one revision (changing “e.g.” to “including” to conform the language to the same rule that we are adopting today for
AWS-3. We also make this same, one-word revision to § 27.14(r)(6)(i) for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.
We delete “total” in § 27.14(r)(1) and correct “areas” to “area” in § 27.14(r)(4). Finally, in 47 C.F.R. § 27.53, we
redesignate paragraphs (d) through (m) as paragraphs (e) through (n) and reserve paragraph (d). This revision
restores certain technical provisions to longstanding letter assignments that are often cited in equipment certification
exhibits. Because of the non-substantive nature of these revisions, notice and comment are unnecessary. 5 U.S.C.
§ 553(b)(B).
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WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register
announcing such approval and the relevant effective date.
245.
The effective date of the amendment to 47 C.F.R. § 2.106 adding Fixed and Mobile
allocations to the Federal Table of Frequency Allocations WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE after the
Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing the relevant effective date.724
246.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in
Appendix B hereto IS ADOPTED.
247.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 801(a)(1)(A) of the Congressional
Review Act, 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order to
Congress and to the Government Accountability Office.
248.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order, including
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary

724 See supra ¶¶ 211, 215.
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APPENDIX A

Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR
parts 1, 2 and 27 as follows:

PART 1—PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 15 U.S.C. 79 et seq.; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 157, 225, 227, 303(r), 309, 1403,
1404, and 1451.
2. Section 1.949 is amended by deleting paragraph (c) as follows:
§ 1.949 Application for renewal of license.
Delete paragraph (c).

PART 2 – FREQUENCY ALLOCATIONS AND RADIO TREATY MATTERS;

GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS

3. The authority citation for part 2 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, and 336, unless otherwise noted.
4. Section 2.106, the Table of Frequency Allocations, is amended as follows:
a. Revise pages 28, 35, and 36.
b. In the list of United States (US) Footnotes, add footnotes US88, US91, US92, and US289; and remove
footnotes US201 and US393.
c. In the list of non-Federal Government (NG) Footnotes, add footnote NG41 and remove footnotes
NG153, NG177, and NG178.
d. In the list of Federal Government (G) Footnotes, remove footnote G118.
§ 2.106 Table of Frequency Allocations.
The revisions and additions read as follows:
* * * * *
95

456-459
456-459
456-460
FIXED
FIXED
Public Mobile (22)
MOBILE 5.286AA
LAND MOBILE
Maritime (80)
5.271 5.287 5.288
5.287 US64 US288
Private Land Mobile (90)
MedRadio (95I)
459-460
459-460
459-460
459-460
FIXED
FIXED
FIXED
MOBILE 5.286AA
MOBILE 5.286AA
MOBILE 5.286AA
MOBILE-SATELLITE (Earth-to-
space) 5.286A 5.286B 5.286C
5.209 5.271 5.286A 5.286B
5.209 5.271 5.286A 5.286B
5.287 US64 US288 NG32 NG112
5.286C 5.286E
5.209
5.286C 5.286E
NG124 NG148
460-470
460-470
460-462.5375
FIXED
Meteorological-satellite
FIXED
Private Land Mobile (90)
MOBILE 5.286AA
(space-to-Earth)
LAND MOBILE
Meteorological-satellite (space-to-Earth)
US209 US289 NG124
462.5375-462.7375
LAND MOBILE
Personal Radio (95)
US289
462.7375-467.5375
FIXED
Maritime (80)
LAND MOBILE
Private Land Mobile (90)
5.287 US73 US209 US288 US289
NG124
467.5375-467.7375
LAND MOBILE
Maritime (80)
5.287 US288 US289
Personal Radio (95)
467.7375-470
FIXED
Maritime (80)
5.287 US73 US209 US288
LAND MOBILE
Private Land Mobile (90)
5.287 5.288 5.289 5.290
US289
US73 US288 US289 NG124
470-790
470-512
470-585
470-608
470-512
Public Mobile (22)
BROADCASTING
BROADCASTING
FIXED
FIXED
Broadcast Radio (TV)(73)
Fixed
MOBILE
LAND MOBILE
LPTV, TV Translator/Booster (74G)
Mobile
BROADCASTING
BROADCASTING
Low Power Auxiliary (74H)
5.292 5.293
NG5 NG14 NG66 NG115 NG149
Private Land Mobile (90)
512-608
5.291 5.298
512-608
Broadcast Radio (TV)(73)
BROADCASTING
585-610
BROADCASTING
LPTV, TV Translator/Booster (74G)
5.297
FIXED
NG5 NG14 NG115 NG149
Low Power Auxiliary (74H)
MOBILE
608-614
608-614
BROADCASTING
RADIO ASTRONOMY
RADIONAVIGATION
LAND MOBILE (medical telemetry and medical telecommand)
Personal Radio (95)
Mobile-satellite except aeronautical
RADIO ASTRONOMY US74
mobile-satellite (Earth-to-space)
5.149 5.305 5.306 5.307
610-890
US246
614-698
FIXED
614-698
614-698
BROADCASTING
MOBILE 5.313A 5.317A
BROADCASTING
Broadcast Radio (TV)(73)
Fixed
BROADCASTING
LPTV, TV Translator/Booster (74G)
Mobile
Low Power Auxiliary (74H)
5.149 5.291A 5.294 5.296
5.300 5.302 5.304 5.306
5.293 5.309 5.311A
NG5 NG14 NG115 NG149
5.311A 5.312
5.149 5.305 5.306 5.307
5.311A 5.320
Page 28
96

Table of Frequency Allocations 1670-2200 MHz (UHF)
Page 35
International Table
United States Table
FCC Rule Part(s)
Region 1 Table
Region 2 Table
Region 3 Table
Federal Table
Non-Federal Table
1670-1675
1670-1675
1670-1675
METEOROLOGICAL AIDS
FIXED
Wireless Communications (27)
FIXED
MOBILE except aeronautical
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
mobile
MOBILE
MOBILE-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space) 5.351A 5.379B
5.341 5.379D 5.379E 5.380A
5.341 US211 US362
5.341 US211 US362
1675-1690
1675-1695
METEOROLOGICAL AIDS
METEOROLOGICAL AIDS (radiosonde)
FIXED
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) US88
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
MOBILE except aeronautical mobile
5.341
1690-1700
1690-1700
5.341 US211 US289
METEOROLOGICAL AIDS
METEOROLOGICAL AIDS
1695-1710
1695-1710
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE
FIXED
Wireless Communications (27)
(space-to-Earth)
(space-to-Earth) US88
MOBILE except aeronautical
Fixed
mobile
Mobile except aeronautical mobile
5.289 5.341 5.382
5.289 5.341 5.381
1700-1710
1700-1710
FIXED
FIXED
METEOROLOGICAL-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
METEOROLOGICAL-
MOBILE except aeronautical mobile
SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
MOBILE except aeronautical
mobile
5.289 5.341
5.289 5.341 5.384
5.341
5.341 US88
1710-1930
1710-1761
1710-1780
FIXED
FIXED
MOBILE 5.384A 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE
5.341 US91 US378 US385
1761-1780
SPACE OPERATION
(Earth-to-space) G42
US91
5.341 US91 US378 US385
1780-1850
1780-1850
FIXED
MOBILE
SPACE OPERATION
(Earth-to-space) G42
5.149 5.341 5.385 5.386 5.387 5.388
1850-2025
1850-2000
FIXED
RF Devices (15)
1930-1970
1930-1970
1930-1970
MOBILE
Personal Communications (24)
FIXED
FIXED
FIXED
Wireless Communications (27)
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
Fixed Microwave (101)
Mobile-satellite (Earth-to-space)
5.388
5.388
5.388
97

1970-1980
FIXED
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
5.388
1980-2010
FIXED
2000-2020
MOBILE
FIXED
Satellite Communications (25)
MOBILE-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space) 5.351A
MOBILE
Wireless Communications (27)
MOBILE-SATELLITE
5.388 5.389A 5.389B 5.389F
(Earth-to-space)
2010-2025
2010-2025
2010-2025
FIXED
FIXED
FIXED
2020-2025
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
FIXED
MOBILE-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)
MOBILE
5.388
5.388 5.389C 5.389E
5.388
2025-2110
2025-2110
2025-2110
SPACE OPERATION (Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
SPACE OPERATION
FIXED NG118
TV Auxiliary Broadcasting (74F)
EARTH EXPLORATION-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
(Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
MOBILE 5.391
Cable TV Relay (78)
FIXED
EARTH EXPLORATION-SATELLITE
Local TV Transmission (101J)
MOBILE 5.391
(Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
SPACE RESEARCH (Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
FIXED
MOBILE 5.391
SPACE RESEARCH
(Earth-to-space) (space-to-space)
5.392 US90 US92 US222
5.392 US90 US92 US222
5.392
US346 US347
US346 US347
2110-2120
2110-2120
2110-2120
FIXED
FIXED
Public Mobile (22)
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE
Wireless Communications (27)
SPACE RESEARCH (deep space) (Earth-to-space)
Fixed Microwave (101)
5.388
US252
US252
2120-2170
2120-2160
2120-2170
2120-2200
2120-2180
FIXED
FIXED
FIXED
FIXED
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE 5.388A 5.388B
MOBILE
Mobile-satellite (space-to-Earth)
5.388
2160-2170
FIXED
MOBILE
MOBILE-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth)
5.388
5.388 5.389C 5.389E
5.388
2170-2200
NG41
FIXED
2180-2200
MOBILE
FIXED
Satellite Communications (25)
MOBILE-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) 5.351A
MOBILE
Wireless Communications (27)
MOBILE-SATELLITE
5.388 5.389A 5.389F
(space-to-Earth)
Page 36
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* * * * *

UNITED STATES (US) FOOTNOTES

* * * * *
US88 In the bands 1675-1695 MHz and 1695-1710 MHz, the following provisions shall apply:
(a) Non-Federal use of the band 1695-1710 MHz by the fixed and mobile except aeronautical mobile
services is restricted to stations in the Advanced Wireless Service (AWS). Base stations that enable AWS
mobile and portable stations to operate in the band 1695-1710 MHz must be successfully coordinated
prior to operation as follows: (i) all base stations within the 27 protection zones listed in paragraph (b)
that enable mobiles to operate at a maximum e.i.r.p. of 20 dBm, and (ii) nationwide for base stations that
enable mobiles to operate with a maximum e.i.r.p. greater than 20 dBm, up to a maximum e.i.r.p. of
30 dBm, unless otherwise specified by Commission rule, order, or notice.
(b) Forty-seven Federal earth stations located within the protection zones listed below operate on a
co-equal, primary basis with AWS operations. All other Federal earth stations operate on a secondary
basis.
(1) Protection zones for Federal earth stations receiving in the band 1695-1710 MHz:
State Location
Latitude
Longitude
Radius (km)
AK
Barrow ……………... 71° 19' 22" 156° 36' 41"
...…..….. 35
AK
Elmendorf AFB ……. 61° 14' 08" 149° 55' 31"
….....….. 98
AK
Fairbanks …………... 64° 58' 22" 147° 30' 02"
…….….. 20
AZ
Yuma ………………. 32° 39' 24" 114° 36' 22"
…….….. 95
CA
Monterey …………... 36° 35' 34" 121° 51' 20"
…….….. 76
CA
Twenty-Nine Palms... 34° 17' 46" 116° 09' 44"
…….….. 80
FL
Miami ……………… 25° 44' 05" 080° 09' 45"
…….….. 51
HI
Hickam AFB ………. 21° 19' 18" 157° 57' 30"
…….….. 28
MD Suitland ……………. 38° 51' 07" 076° 56' 12"
…….….. 98
MS
Stennis Space Center
30° 21' 23" 089° 36' 41"
…….….. 57
SD
Sioux Falls ………… 43° 44' 09" 096° 37' 33"
…….….. 42
VA
Wallops Island …….. 37° 56' 45" 075° 27' 45"
…….….. 30
GU
Andersen AFB …….. 13° 34' 52" 144° 55' 28"
…….….. 42
(2) Protection zones for Federal earth stations receiving in the band 1675-1695 MHz:
State Location
Latitude
Longitude
Radius (km)
CA
Sacramento ………… 38° 35' 50" 121° 32' 34"
…….….. 55
CO
Boulder …………….. 39° 59' 26" 105° 15' 51"
…….….. 02
ID
Boise ………………. 43° 35' 42" 116° 13' 49"
…….….. 39
IL
Rock Island …….…... 41° 31' 04" 090° 33' 46"
…….….. 19
MO
Kansas City ………... 39° 16' 40" 094° 39' 44"
…….….. 40
MO
St. Louis …………… 38° 35' 26" 090° 12' 25"
…….….. 34
MS
Columbus Lake ……. 33° 32' 04" 088° 30' 06"
…….….. 03
MS
Vicksburg ……....….. 32° 20' 47" 090° 50' 10"
…….….. 16
NE
Omaha …….…..….... 41° 20' 56" 095° 57' 34"
…….….. 30
OH
Cincinnati …...……... 39° 06' 10" 084° 30' 35"
…….….. 32
OK
Norman ……….……. 35° 10' 52" 097° 26' 21"
…….….. 03
TN
Knoxville …………... 35° 57' 58" 083° 55' 13"
…….….. 50
WV
Fairmont …………… 39° 26' 02" 080° 11' 33"
…….….. 04
PR
Guaynabo ………….. 18° 25' 26" 066° 06' 50"
…….….. 48
NOTE: The coordinates are specified in the conventional manner (North latitude, West longitude),
except that the Guam (GU) entry is specified in terms of East longitude.
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US91 In the band 1755-1780 MHz, the following provisions shall apply:
(a) Non-Federal use of the band 1755-1780 MHz by the fixed and mobile services is restricted to
stations in the Advanced Wireless Service (AWS). Base stations that enable AWS mobile and portable
stations to operate in the band 1755-1780 MHz must be successfully coordinated on a nationwide basis
prior to operation, unless otherwise specified by Commission rule, order, or notice.
(b) In the band 1755-1780 MHz, the Federal systems listed below operate on a co-equal, primary
basis with AWS stations. All other Federal stations in the fixed and mobile services identified in an
approved Transition Plan will operate on a primary basis until reaccommodated in accordance with 47
CFR part 301.
(1) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) may operate indefinitely at the following locations:
State
Training area
Latitude
Longitude
AZ
Yuma Proving Ground ….......................
33° 12' 14"
114° 13' 47"
CA
Fort Irwin ……………..……………….
35° 23' 19"
116° 37' 43"
LA
Fort Polk …………...………………….
31° 08' 38"
093° 06' 52"
NC
Fort Bragg (including Camp MacKall).... 35° 09' 04"
078° 59' 13"
NM
White Sands Missile Range……………. 32° 52' 50"
106° 23' 10"
TX
Fort Hood …………...…......................... 31° 13' 50"
097° 45' 23"
(2) Air combat training system (ACTS) stations may operate on two frequencies within two
geographic zones that are defined by the following coordinates:
Geographic Zone
Latitude
Longitude
Polygon 1
41° 52' 00"
117° 49' 00"
42° 00' 00"
115° 05' 00"
43° 31' 13''
115° 47' 18"
Polygon 2
47° 29' 00''
111° 22' 00''
48° 13' 00''
110° 00' 00''
47° 30' 00''
107° 00' 00''
44° 11' 00''
103° 06' 00''
NOTE: ACTS transmitters may cause interference to AWS base stations between separation distances
of 285 km (minimum) and 415 km (maximum).
(3) In the sub-band 1761-1780 MHz, Federal earth stations in the space operation service (Earth-to-
space) may transmit at the following 25 sites and non-Federal base stations must accept harmful
interference caused by the operation of these earth stations:
State Site
Latitude
Longitude
AK
Fairbanks ………...…..…..
64° 58' 20" 147° 30' 59"
CA
Camp Parks …………...…. 37° 43' 51"
121° 52' 50"
CA
Huntington Beach ……….. 33° 44' 50" 118° 02' 04"
CA
Laguna Peak ………...…...
34° 06' 31" 119° 03' 53"
CA
Monterey ……………...…. 36° 35' 42"
121° 52' 28"
CA
Sacramento …………...….
38° 39' 59" 121° 23' 33"
CA
Vandenberg AFB ………... 34° 49' 23"
120° 30' 07"
CO
Buckley ………………….. 39° 42' 55" 104° 46' 29"
CO
Schriever AFB ……….......
38° 48' 22"
104° 31' 41"
FL
Cape Canaveral AFS ….....
28° 29' 09"
080° 34' 33"
FL
Cape GA, CCAFB ……….
28° 29' 03" 080° 34' 21"
FL
JIATF-S Key West …...….
24° 32' 36" 081° 48' 17"
HI
Kaena Point, Oahu ………. 21° 33' 43"
158° 14' 31"
MD
Annapolis …………...…… 38° 59' 27"
076° 29' 25"
MD
Blossom Point ………...…. 38° 25' 53"
077° 05' 06"
MD
Patuxent River NAS …..…
38° 16' 28" 076° 24' 45"
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ME
Prospect Harbor …….........
44° 24' 16" 068° 00' 46"
NC
Ft Bragg ……………….....
35° 09' 04"
078° 59' 13"
NH
New Boston AFS ……...… 42° 56' 46"
071° 37' 44"
NM
Kirtland AFB ………….....
34° 59' 06"
106° 30' 28"
TX
Ft Hood ………………..… 31° 08' 57"
097° 46' 12"
VA
Fort Belvoir …………….... 38° 44' 04" 077° 09' 12"
WA
Joint Base Lewis-McChord 47° 06' 11"
122° 33' 11"
GU
Andersen AFB ……...…....
13° 36' 54"
144° 51' 22"
GU
NAVSOC Det. Charlie …..
13° 34' 58"
144° 50' 32"
NOTE: The coordinates are specified in the conventional manner (North latitude, West longitude),
except that the Guam (GU) entries are specified in terms of East longitude. Use at Cape Canaveral AFS
is restricted to launch support only. If required, successfully coordinated with all affected AWS licensees,
and authorized by NTIA, reasonable modifications of these grandfathered Federal systems beyond their
current authorizations or the addition of new earth station locations may be permitted. The details of the
coordination must be filed with NTIA and FCC.
(c) In the band 1755-1780 MHz, the military services may conduct Electronic Warfare (EW)
operations on Federal ranges and within associated airspace on a non-interference basis with respect to
non-Federal AWS operations and shall not constrain implementation of non-Federal AWS operations.
This use is restricted to Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), training, and Large Force
Exercise (LFE) operations.
US92 In the band 2025-2110 MHz, Federal use of the co-primary fixed and mobile services is
restricted to the military services and the following provisions apply:
(a) Federal use shall not cause harmful interference to, nor constrain the deployment and use of the
band by, the Television Broadcast Auxiliary Service, the Cable Television Relay Service, or the Local
Television Transmission Service. To facilitate compatible operations, coordination is required in
accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding between Federal and non-Federal fixed and mobile
operations. Non-Federal licensees shall make all reasonable efforts to accommodate military mobile and
fixed operations; however, the use of the band 2025-2110 MHz by the non-Federal fixed and mobile
services has priority over military fixed and mobile operations.
(b) Military stations should, to the extent practicable, employ frequency agile technologies and
techniques, including the capability to tune to other frequencies and the use of a modular retrofit
capability, to facilitate sharing of this band with incumbent Federal and non-Federal operations.
* * * * *
US289 In the bands 460-470 MHz and 1690-1695 MHz, the following provisions shall apply:
(a) In the band 460-470 MHz, space stations in the Earth exploration-satellite service (EESS) may be
authorized for space-to-Earth transmissions on a secondary basis with respect to the fixed and mobile
services. When operating in the meteorological-satellite service, such stations shall be protected from
harmful interference from other EESS applications. The power flux density produced at the Earth’s
surface by any space station in this band shall not exceed -152 dBW/m²/4 kHz.
(b) In the band 1690-1695 MHz, EESS applications, other than the meteorological-satellite service,
may also be used for space-to-Earth transmissions subject to not causing harmful interference to stations
operating in accordance with the Table of Frequency Allocations.
* * * * *

NON-FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (NG) FOOTNOTES

* * * * *
NG41 In the band 2120-2180 MHz, the following provisions shall apply to grandfathered stations in
the fixed service:
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(a) In the sub-band 2160-2162 MHz, authorizations in the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) applied
for after January 16, 1992 shall be granted on a secondary basis to Advanced Wireless Services (AWS).
In the band 2150-2162 MHz, all other BRS stations shall operate on a primary basis until December 9,
2021, and may continue to operate on a secondary basis thereafter, unless said facility is relocated in
accordance with 47 CFR 27.1250 through 27.1255.
(b) In the sub-band 2160-2180 MHz, fixed stations authorized pursuant to 47 CFR part 101 may
continue to operate on a secondary basis to AWS.
* * * * *
5. Section 2.1033 by adding paragraph (c)(19) to read as follows:
§ 2.1033 Application for certification
* * * * *
(c) * * *
(19) Applications for certification of equipment operating under part 27 of this chapter, that a
manufacturer is seeking to certify for operation in the
(i) 1755-1780 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, or both bands shall include a statement indicating
compliance with the pairing of 1710-1780 and 2110-2180 MHz specified in § 27.5(h) of this chapter and
§ 27.75 of this chapter.
(ii) 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, or both bands shall include a statement indicating
compliance with § 27.77 of this chapter.
* * * * *

PART 27—MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

6. The authority citation for part 27 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. § 154, 301, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 332, 336, 337, 1403, 1404, and 1451 unless
otherwise noted.
7. Section 27.1 is amended by adding paragraphs (b)(11) through (13) to read as follows:
§ 27.1 Basis and Purpose.
* * * * *
(b) * * *
(11) 1695-1710 MHz.
(12) 1755-1780 MHz.
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(13) 2155-2180 MHz
8. Section 27.5(h) is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.5 Frequencies
* * * * *
(h) 1710-1755 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz
bands. The following frequencies are available for licensing pursuant to this part in the 1710-1755 MHz,
2110-2155 MHz, 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands:
(1) Four paired channel blocks of 10 megahertz each are available for assignment as follows:
Block A: 1710-1720 MHz and 2110-2120 MHz;
Block B: 1720-1730 MHz and 2120-2130 MHz;
Block F: 1745-1755 MHz and 2145-2155 MHz; and
Block J: 1770-1780 MHz and 2170-2180 MHz.
(2) Six paired channel blocks of 5 megahertz each are available for assignment as follows:
Block C: 1730-1735 MHz and 2130-2135 MHz;
Block D: 1735-1740 MHz and 2135-2140 MHz;
Block E: 1740-1745 MHz and 2140-2145 MHz;
Block G: 1755-1760 MHz and 2155-2160 MHz;
Block H: 1760-1765 MHz and 2160-2165 MHz; and
Block I: 1765-1770 MHz and 2165-2170 MHz.
(3) One unpaired block of 5 megahertz and one unpaired block of 10 megahertz each are
available for assignment as follows:
Block A1: 1695-1700 MHz
Block B1: 1700-1710 MHz
NOTE TO PARAGRAPH (h): Licenses to operate in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands
are subject to the condition that the licensee must not cause harmful interference to an incumbent
Federal entity relocating from these bands under an approved Transition Plan. This condition
remains in effect until NTIA terminates the applicable authorization of the incumbent Federal
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entity.
9. Section 27.6 is amended by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:
§ 27.6 Service areas.
* * * * *
(k) 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. AWS service areas for the
1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands are as follows:
(1) Service areas for Block G (1755-1760 MHz and 2155-2160 MHz) are based on cellular
markets comprising Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Rural Service Areas (RSAs) as defined by
Public Notice Report No. CL-92-40 “Common Carrier Public Mobile Services Information, Cellular
MSA/RSA Markets and Counties,” dated January 24, 1992, DA 92-109, 7 FCC Rcd 742 (1992), with the
following modifications:
(i) The service areas of cellular markets that border the U.S. coastline of the Gulf of Mexico
extend 12 nautical miles from the U.S. Gulf coastline.
(ii) The service area of cellular market 306 that comprises the water area of the Gulf of Mexico
extends from 12 nautical miles off the U.S. Gulf coast outward into the Gulf.
(2) Service areas for Blocks H (1760-1765 MHz and 2160-2165 MHz), I (1765-1770 MHz and
2165-2170 MHz), J (1770-1780 MHz and 2170-2180 MHz), A1 (1695-1700 MHz) and B1 (1700-1710
MHz) are based on Economic Areas (EAs) as defined in paragraph (a) of this section.
10. Section 27.11(j) is added to read as follows:
§27.11 Initial authorization.
(j) 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands.
(1) Initial authorizations for the 1695-1710 MHz band shall be based on the frequency blocks
specified in § 27.5(h)(3) of this part and the corresponding service area specified in § 27.6(k)(2) of this
part.
(2) Initial authorizations for the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz shall be based on the
paired frequency blocks specified in § 27.5(h)(1),(2) of this part and the corresponding service areas
specified in § 27.6(k)(1),(2) of this part.
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11. Section 27.13(k) is added to read as follows:
§ 27.13 License Period.
* * * * *
(k) 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. Authorizations for the 1695-
1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands will have a term not to exceed twelve (12) years
from the date of issuance and ten (10) years from the date of any subsequent license renewal.
12. Revise paragraphs (a), (f), (k), (r)(1), (r)(4), and (r)(6)(i), and add paragraphs (q)(7) and (s) to
§27.14 to read as follows:
§ 27.14 Construction requirements; Criteria for renewal.
(a) AWS and WCS licensees, with the exception of WCS licensees holding authorizations for
Block A in the 698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 734-740 MHz
bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz band, Block C, C1 or C2 in the 746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz
bands, Block A in the 2305-2310 MHz and 2350-2355 MHz bands, Block B in the 2310-2315 MHz and
2355-2360 MHz bands, Block C in the 2315-2320 MHz band, and Block D in the 2345-2350 MHz band,
and with the exception of licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000
MHz bands, the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, or 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and
2155-2180 MHz bands, must, as a performance requirement, make a showing of “substantial service” in
their license area within the prescribed license term set forth in §27.13. “Substantial service” is defined
as service which is sound, favorable and substantially above a level of mediocre service which just might
minimally warrant renewal. Failure by any licensee to meet this requirement will result in forfeiture of the
license and the licensee will be ineligible to regain it.
* * * * *
(f) Comparative renewal proceedings do not apply to WCS licensees holding authorizations for
the 698-746 MHz, 747-762 MHz, and 777-792 MHz bands or licensees holding AWS authorizations for
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, or
the 1695-1710 MHz, or the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. These licensees must file a
renewal application in accordance with the provisions set forth in §1.949 of this chapter.
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* * * * *
(k) Licensees holding WCS or AWS authorizations in the spectrum blocks enumerated in
paragraphs (g), (h), (i), (q), (r) or (s) of this section, including any licensee that obtained its license
pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (j) of this section, shall demonstrate compliance with
performance requirements by filing a construction notification with the Commission, within 15 days of
the expiration of the applicable benchmark, in accordance with the provisions set forth in §1.946(d) of
this chapter. The licensee must certify whether it has met the applicable performance requirements. The
licensee must file a description and certification of the areas for which it is providing service. The
construction notifications must include electronic coverage maps, supporting technical documentation and
any other information as the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau may prescribe by public notice.
* * * * *
(q) * * *
* * * * *
(7) Renewal showing. An applicant for renewal of a geographic-area authorization in the 2000–
2020 MHz and 2180–2200 MHz service bands must make a renewal showing, independent of its
performance requirements, as a condition of renewal. The showing must include a detailed description of
the applicant's provision of service during the entire license period and address:
(i) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant (including the population served, the
area served, the number of subscribers, the services offered);
(ii) The date service commenced, whether service was ever interrupted, and the duration of any
interruption or outage;
(iii) The extent to which service is provided to rural areas;
(iv) The extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal land as defined in §
1.2110(f)(3)(i); and
(v) Any other factors associated with the level of service to the public.
(r) * * *
(1) A licensee shall provide signal coverage and offer service within four (4) years from the date
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of the initial license to at least forty (40) percent of the population in each of its licensed areas (“Interim
Buildout Requirement”).
* * * * *
(4) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Final Buildout Requirement for a particular
licensed area, its authorization for each license area in which it fails to meet the Final Buildout
Requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action and the licensee will be ineligible
to regain it if the Commission makes the license available at a later date.
* * * * *
(6) * * *
(i) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant (including the population served, the
area served, the number of subscribers, the services offered);
* * * * *
(s) The following provisions apply to any licensee holding an AWS authorization in the 1695-
1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands:
(1) A licensee shall provide reliable signal coverage and offer service within six (6) years from
the date of the initial license to at least forty (40) percent of the population in each of its licensed areas
(“Interim Buildout Requirement”).
(2) A licensee shall provide reliable signal coverage and offer service within twelve (12) years
from the date of the initial license to at least seventy-five (75) percent of the population in each of its
licensed areas (“Final Buildout Requirement”).
(3) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Interim Buildout Requirement for a particular
licensed area, then the Final Buildout Requirement (in this paragraph (s)) and the AWS license term (as
set forth in § 27.13(k)) for each license area in which it fails to meet the Interim Buildout Requirement
shall be accelerated by two (2) years (from twelve (12) to ten (10) years).
(4) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Final Buildout Requirement for a particular
licensed area, its authorization for each license area in which it fails to meet the Final Buildout
Requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action and the licensee will be ineligible
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to regain it if the Commission makes the license available at a later date.
(5) To demonstrate compliance with these performance requirements, licensees shall use the most
recently available U.S. Census Data at the time of measurement and shall base their measurements of
population served on areas no larger than the Census Tract level. The population within a specific Census
Tract (or other acceptable identifier) will be deemed served by the licensee only if it provides signal
coverage to and offers service within the specific Census Tract (or other acceptable identifier). To the
extent the Census Tract (or other acceptable identifier) extends beyond the boundaries of a license area, a
licensee with authorizations for such areas may include only the population within the Census Tract (or
other acceptable identifier) towards meeting the performance requirement of a single, individual license.
For the Gulf of Mexico license area, the licensee shall demonstrate compliance with these performance
requirements, using off-shore platforms, including production, manifold, compression, pumping and
valving platforms as a proxy for population in the Gulf of Mexico.
(6) An applicant for renewal of a license covered by this paragraph (s) must make a renewal
showing, independent of its performance requirements, as a condition of each renewal. The showing
must include a detailed description of the applicant’s provision of service during the entire license period
and address:
(i) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant (including the population served, the
area served, the number of subscribers, the services offered);
(ii) The date service commenced, whether service was ever interrupted, and the duration of any
interruption or outage;
(iii) The extent to which service is provided to rural areas;
(iv) The extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal land as defined in
§ 1.2110(f)(3)(i) of this chapter; and
(v) Any other factors associated with the level of service to the public.
13. Section 27.15 is amended by revising the first sentences of paragraphs (d)(1)(i), and (d)(2)(i), and
paragraphs (d)(1)(iii) and (d)(2)(iii) to read as follows:
§ 27.15 Geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation.
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* * * * *
(d) * * *
(1) * * *
(i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in the 698-704 MHz and 728-
734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 734-740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz
band, or Blocks C, C1, and C2 in the 746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz bands; and for licensees holding
AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands, the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-
2200 MHz bands; or the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands, the following
rules apply to WCS and AWS licensees holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the
construction requirements set forth in §27.14. * * *
* * * * *
(iii) For licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz
bands, or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, or the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and
2155-2180 MHz bands, the following rules apply for purposes of implementing the construction
requirements set forth in §27.14. Each party to a geographic partitioning must individually meet any
service-specific performance requirements (i.e., construction and operation requirements). If a partitioner
or partitionee fails to meet any service-specific performance requirements on or before the required date,
then the consequences for this failure shall be those enumerated in §27.14(q) for 2000-2020 MHz and
2180-2200 MHz licenses, those enumerated in §27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz
licenses, and those enumerated in § 27.14(s) for 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz
licenses.
(2) * * *
(i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in the 698-704 MHz and 728-
734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 734-740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz
band, or Blocks C, C1, and C2 in the 746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz bands; and for licensees holding
AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands, the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-
2200 MHz bands or the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands; the following
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rules apply to WCS and AWS licensees holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the
construction requirements set forth in §27.14. * * *
* * * * *
(iii) For licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz
bands, or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, or the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and
2155-2180 MHz bands, the following rules apply for purposes of implementing the construction
requirements set forth in §27.14. Each party to a spectrum disaggregation must individually meet any
service-specific performance requirements (i.e., construction and operation requirements). If a
disaggregator or a disaggregatee fails to meet any service-specific performance requirements on or before
the required date, then the consequences for this failure shall be those enumerated in §27.14(q) for 2000-
2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz licenses, those enumerated in §27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz licenses, and those enumerated in § 27.14(s) for 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-
2180 MHz.
Section 27.17 is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.17 Discontinuance of service in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz,
1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands.
(a) Termination of authorization. An AWS authorization in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780
MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands
will automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if the licensee permanently
discontinues service either during the initial license term or during any subsequent license term, as
follows:
(1) after the interim buildout deadline as specified in §27.14(r) or (s), as applicable (where the
licensee meets the interim buildout requirement), or after the accelerated final buildout deadline (where
the licensee failed to meet the interim buildout requirement).
(2) after the AWS-4 final buildout deadline as specified in §27.14(q)(1) (where the licensee meets
the AWS-4 interim buildout requirement), or after the accelerated final buildout deadline specified in
§ 27.14(q)(3) (where the licensee failed to meet its AWS-4 interim buildout requirement).
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(b) For licensees with common carrier or non-common carrier regulatory status that hold AWS
authorizations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020
MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands, permanent discontinuance of service is defined as
180 consecutive days during which a licensee does not provide service to at least one subscriber that is
not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to the licensee. For licensees with private, internal regulatory
status that hold AWS authorizations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-
2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands, permanent discontinuance of
service is defined as 180 consecutive days during which a licensee does not operate.
(c) Filing Requirements. A licensee that holds an AWS authorization in the 1695-1710 MHz,
1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200
MHz bands that permanently discontinues service as defined in this section must notify the Commission
of the discontinuance within 10 days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 requesting license cancellation. An
authorization will automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if service is permanently
discontinued as defined in this section, even if a licensee fails to file the required form requesting license
cancellation.
14. Section 27.50(d) is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.50 Power limits and duty cycle.
* * * * *
(d) The following power and antenna height requirements apply to stations transmitting in the
1695-1710 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020
MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands:
(1) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 1995–2000 MHz, 2110–2155
MHz, 2155-2180 MHz or 2180–2200 MHz band and located in any county with population density of
100 or fewer persons per square mile, based upon the most recently available population statistics from
the Bureau of the Census, is limited to:
(A) an equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of 3280 watts when transmitting with an
emission bandwidth of 1 MHz or less;
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(B) an EIRP of 3280 watts/MHz when transmitting with an emission bandwidth greater than 1
MHz.
(2) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 1995–2000 MHz, the 2110–2155
MHz 2155-2180 MHz band, or 2180–2200 MHz band and situated in any geographic location other than
that described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section is limited to:
(A) an equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of 1640 watts when transmitting with an emission
bandwidth of 1 MHz or less;
(B) an EIRP of 1640 watts/MHz when transmitting with an emission bandwidth greater than 1
MHz.
(3) A licensee operating a base or fixed station in the 2110–2155 MHz band utilizing a power
greater than 1640 watts EIRP and greater than 1640 watts/MHz EIRP must coordinate such operations in
advance with all Government and non–Government satellite entities in the 2025–2110 MHz band. A
licensee operating a base or fixed station in the 2110–2180 MHz band utilizing power greater than 1640
watts EIRP and greater than 1640 watts/MHz EIRP must be coordinated in advance with the following
licensees authorized to operate within 120 kilometers (75 miles) of the base or fixed station operating in
this band: all Broadband Radio Service (BRS) licensees authorized under part 27 in the 2155–2160 MHz
band and all advanced wireless services (AWS) licensees authorized to operate on adjacent frequency
blocks in the 2110–2180 MHz band.
(4) Fixed, mobile, and portable (hand-held) stations operating in the 1710-1755 MHz band and
mobile and portable stations operating in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands are limited to 1
watt EIRP. Fixed stations operating in the 1710-1755 MHz band are limited to a maximum antenna
height of 10 meters above ground. Mobile and portable stations operating in these bands must employ a
means for limiting power to the minimum necessary for successful communications.
* * * * *
15. Section 27.53 is amended to redesignate paragraphs (d) through (m) as paragraphs (e) through (n)
and, as redesignated, paragraph (d) is reserved.
16. Section 27.53(h) (as redesignated) is amended to read as follows:
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§ 27.53 Emission limits.
* * * * *
(h) AWS emission limits —(1) General protection levels. Except as otherwise specified below,
for operations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000
MHz, 2000-2020 MHz,, 2110-2155 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 bands, the power of any
emission outside a licensee's frequency block shall be attenuated below the transmitter power (P) in watts
by at least 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB.
* * * * *
17. Section 27.55(a) is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.55 Power strength limits.
(a) Field strength limits. For the following bands, the predicted or measured median field strength
at any location on the geographical border of a licensee's service area shall not exceed the value specified
unless the adjacent affected service area licensee(s) agree(s) to a different field strength. This value
applies to both the initially offered service areas and to partitioned service areas.
(1) 1995-2000 MHz, 2110-2155, 2155-2180, 2180-2200, 2305-2320, and 2345-2360 MHz bands:
47 dBµV/m.
* * * * *
18. Section 27.57(c) is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.57 International coordination.
* * * * *
(c) Operation in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-
2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands is subject to
international agreements with Mexico and Canada.
19. Add § 27.75 to read as follows:
§ 27.75 Basic interoperability requirement.
(a) (1) Mobile and portable stations that operate on any portion of frequencies in the paired 1755-
1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz band must be capable of operating on all frequencies in the paired 1710-
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1780 MHz and 2110-2180 MHz band, using the same air interfaces that the equipment utilizes on any
frequencies in the paired 1710-1780 MHz and 2110-2180 MHz band.
(2) Reserved.
(b) The basic interoperability requirement in paragraph (a) does not require a licensee to use any
particular industry standard. Devices may also contain functions that are not operational in U.S.
Territories.
20. Add § 27.77 to read as follows:
§ 27.77 Restriction on mobile and portable equipment in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz
bands.
Mobile and portable stations in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands may operate only
when under the control of a base station. Base stations that enable mobile or portable equipment to
operate in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz band are subject to prior coordination requirements.
See § 27.1134 of this part (Protection of Federal Government operations).
21. Subpart L is renamed to read as follows:

Subpart L—1695-1710 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2155-2180 MHz,

2180-2200 MHz Bands
22. Section 27.1105 is added to read as follows:
§ 27.1105 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands subject to competitive
bidding.
Mutually exclusive initial applications for 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180
MHz band licenses are subject to competitive bidding. The general competitive bidding procedures set
forth in 47 CFR part 1, subpart Q will apply unless otherwise provided in this subpart.
23. Section 27.1106 is added to read as follows:
§ 27.1106 Designated Entities in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands.
Eligibility for small business provisions:
(a) Small business. (1) A small business is an entity that, together with its affiliates, its
controlling interests, the affiliates of its controlling interests, and the entities with which it has an
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attributable material relationship, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding
three (3) years.
(2) A very small business is an entity that, together with its affiliates, its controlling interests, the
affiliates of its controlling interests, and the entities with which it has an attributable material relationship,
has average gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three (3) years.
(b) Bidding credits. A winning bidder that qualifies as a small business as defined in this section
or a consortium of small businesses may use the bidding credit specified in § 1.2110(f)(2)(iii) of this
chapter. A winning bidder that qualifies as a very small business as defined in this section or a consortium
of very small businesses may use the bidding credit specified in § 1.2110(f)(2)(ii) of this chapter.
24. Section 27.1131 is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.1131 Protection of part 101 operations.
All AWS licensees, prior to initiating operations from any base or fixed station, must coordinate
their frequency usage with co-channel and adjacent-channel incumbent, Part 101 fixed-point-to-point
microwave licensees operating in the 2110-2180 MHz band. Coordination shall be conducted in
accordance with the provisions of § 24.237 of this chapter.
25. Section 27.1132 is amended to read as follows:
§ 27.1132 Protection of incumbent operations in the 2150-2160/62 MHz band.
All AWS licensees, prior to initiating operations from any base or fixed station in the 2110-2180
MHz band, shall follow the provisions of §27.1255 of this part.
26. Section 27.1134 is amended by revising paragraph (c) and adding paragraph (f) to read as
follows:
§ 27.1134 Protection of Federal Government operations.
* * * * *
(c) Protection of Federal operations in the 1675-1710 MHz band.
(1) 27 Protection Zones. Within 27 Protection Zones, prior to operating a base station that enables
mobile or portable stations to transmit in the 1695-1710 MHz band, licensees must successfully
coordinate such base station operations with Federal Government entities operating meteorological
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satellite Earth-station receivers in the 1675-1710 MHz band. See 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, US note 88 of this
chapter for the 27 Protection Zones and other details.
(2) Operation outside of 27 Protection Zones. Non-Federal operations, for mobile and portable
stations operating at a maximum EIRP of 20 dBm, are permitted outside of the protection zones without
coordination. All non-Federal operations for mobile and portables operating at a maximum EIRP of
greater than 20 dBm and up to 30 dBm must be coordinated nationwide. All such operations may not
cause harmful interference to the Federal operations protected in 47 C.F.R. § 2.106, US note 88.
(3) Interference. If protected Federal operations receive harmful interference from AWS
operations in the 1695-1710 MHz band, an AWS licensee must, upon notification, modify its operations
and/or technical parameters as necessary to eliminate the interference.
(4) Point of contact. AWS licensees in the 1695-1710 MHz band must provide and maintain a
point of contact at all times so that immediate contact can be made should interference against protected
Federal sites occur.
(5) Coordination procedures. Federal use of the radio spectrum is generally governed by the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) while non-Federal use is governed
by the Commission. As such, any guidance or details concerning Federal/non-Federal coordination must
be issued jointly by NTIA and the Commission. The Commission may jointly issue with NTIA one or
more public notices with guidance or details concerning the coordination procedures for the 1695-1710
MHz band.
(6) Requirements for licensees operating in the 1710-1755 MHz band. AWS licensees operating
fixed stations in the 1710-1755 MHz band, if notified that such stations are causing interference to
radiosonde receivers operating in the Meteorological Aids Service in the 1675-1700 MHz band or a
meteorological-satellite earth receiver operating in the Meteorological-Satellite Service in the 1675-1710
MHz band, shall be required to modify the stations' location and/or technical parameters as necessary to
eliminate the interference.
* * * * *
(f) Protection of Federal operations in the 1755-1780 MHz band. The Federal Government
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operates communications systems in the 1755-1780 MHz band. Certain systems are expected to continue
to operate in the band indefinitely. All other operations will be relocating to other frequencies or
otherwise cease operations in the 1755-1780 MHz band in accordance with 47 CFR part 301. Until such
a time as Federal operations in the 1755-1780 MHz bands vacate this spectrum, AWS licensees shall
protect such systems and must accept any interference received from these Federal operations. See 47
C.F.R. § 2.106, US note 91 of this chapter for details. AWS licensees must successfully coordinate
proposed operations with all Federal incumbents prior to operation as follows:
(1) Protection Zone(s). A protection zone is established for each Federal operation pursuant to
47 C.F.R. § 2.106, US note 91 of this chapter. Unless otherwise specified in later Commission actions,
the default protection zone is nationwide. A base station which enables mobile or portable stations to
transmit in the 1755-1780 MHz band may not operate within the Protection Zone(s) of a Federal
operation until the licensee successfully coordinates such base station operations with Federal
Government entities as follows depending on the type of Federal incumbent authorization:
(i) Federal US&P Assignments: Each AWS licensee must coordinate with each Federal agency
that has U.S. and Possessions (US&P) authority prior to its first operations in its licensed area to reach a
coordination arrangement with each US&P agency on an operator-to-operator basis. (Agencies with U.S.
and Possessions (US&P) authority do not operate nationwide and may be able to share, prior to
relocation, in some areas.)
(ii) Other Federal Assignments: Each AWS licensee must successfully coordinate all base station
operations within a Protection Zone with the Federal incumbents. The default requirement is a
nationwide coordination zone with possible revisions to the Protection Zone and other details to be
announced in a Joint FCC/NTIA public notice.
(2) Interference: If protected Federal operations receive harmful interference from AWS
operations in the 1755-1780 MHz band, an AWS licensee must, upon notification, modify its operations
and/or technical parameters as necessary to eliminate the interference.
(3) Point of contact. AWS licensees in the 1755-1780 MHz band must provide and maintain a
point of contact at all times so that immediate contact can be made should interference against protected
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Federal operations occur.
(4) Coordination procedures. Federal use of the radio spectrum is generally governed by the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) while non-Federal use is governed
by the Commission. As such, any guidance or details concerning Federal/non-Federal coordination must
be issued jointly by NTIA and the Commission. The Commission may jointly issue with NTIA one or
more public notices with guidance or details concerning the coordination procedures for the 1755-1780
MHz band.
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APPENDIX B

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 the
Commission incorporated an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
. No comments were filed addressing the IRFA. Because we amend the
rules in this Report and Order, we have included this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA)
which conforms to the RFA.2

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

2.
Wireless broadband is a critical component of economic growth, job creation, and global
competitiveness and consumers are increasingly using wireless broadband services to assist them in their
everyday lives.3 The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablet computers, combined with deployment of
high-speed 3G and 4G technologies, is driving more intensive use of mobile networks, so much so that
the total number of mobile wireless connections now exceeds the total U.S. population.4 As of the second
quarter of 2013, 64 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones.5 It is predicted that by 2019,
almost all handsets in North America will be smartphones and that total smartphone traffic over mobile
networks will increase 10 times between 2013 and 2019.6 As of June 2013, 34 percent of American

1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See 5 U.S.C. § 604.
3 Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 Annual Report and
Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions With Respect to Mobile Wireless, Including Commercial Mobile
Services, WT Docket No. 11-186, Sixteenth Report, 28 FCC Rcd 3700, 3929-3931 ¶¶ 361-66 (2013) (Sixteenth
Mobile Wireless Competition Report
); see also Service Rules for the Advanced Wireless Services H Block—
Implementing Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920
MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands, WT Docket No. 12-357, Report and Order, FCC 13-88 28 FCC Rcd 9483, __ ¶ 2
(2013) (H Block R&O); Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz
Bands, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Report and Order and Order of Proposed
Modification
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102, 16104 ¶ 3 (2012) (AWS-4 Service Rules R&O); Connecting America: The
National Broadband Plan at 77-79.
4 See CTIA – The Wireless Association® A Wireless Industry Survey Results – December 1985 to December 2012
(estimating 326,475,248 total U.S. subscriber connections as of December 2012), available at
http://files.ctia.org/pdf/CTIA_Survey_YE_2012_Graphics-FINAL.pdf (last visited March 31, 2014). According to
the Bureau of the Census, the combined population of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as
of July 1, 2013, was estimated to be 316.1 million. See U.S. Census Bureau,
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2013_PEPANNRES&prod
Type=tablev (last visited March 31, 2014)
5 Nielsen Newswire, The Nielsen Company, Smartphone Switch: Three-Fourths of Recent Acquirers Chose
Smartphones,
(Sept. 17, 2013) available at http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2013/smartphone-switch--three-
fourths-of-recent-acquirers-chose-smart.html Nielsen Newswire, The Nielsen Company, Two Thirds of New Mobile
Buyers Now Opting for Smartphones, July 12, 2012, available at http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2012/two-
thirds-of-new-mobile-buyers-now-opting-for-smartphones.html (last visited March 31, 2014).
6 Ericsson Mobility, Ericsson Mobility Report on the Pulse of the Networked Society, Nov. 2013 at 7 and 11
available at http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2013/ericsson-mobility-report-november-2013.pdf (last visited
March 31, 2014).
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adults owned a tablet computer device, an increase from only 18 percent in September 2010.7 Tablets
generated on average approximately 2.6 times the amount of mobile traffic as the average smartphone in
2013.8 All of these trends are resulting in more demand for network capacity and for capital to invest in
the infrastructure, technology, and spectrum to support this capacity.9 The demand for spectrum,
moreover, is expected to continue increasing.10 In response, both Congress and the President have issued
directives to make available additional spectrum for flexible uses, including mobile broadband. The
Commission continues to work to make available additional licensed and unlicensed spectrum to meet
this growing demand.11
3.
In this Report and Order, we increase the Nation’s supply of spectrum for mobile
broadband by adopting rules for fixed and mobile services, including Advanced Wireless Services
(“AWS”) in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands, some of which were
previously allocated exclusively for Federal government use. We refer to these bands collectively as
“AWS-3.” These service rules will make available 65 megahertz of spectrum for flexible use in
accordance with the Spectrum Act. Specifically, we adopt service, technical, and licensing rules that will
encourage innovation and investment in mobile broadband and provide certainty and a stable regulatory
regime in which broadband deployment can rapidly occur. For example, we find the spectrum is properly
allocated for commercial use as the Spectrum Act requires, and authorize mobile operations in the 1695-
1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands and base and fixed operations in the 2155-2180 MHz band.12 We
also adopt service, technical, assignment, and licensing rules for this spectrum that generally follow the
Commission’s Part 27 rules that govern flexible use terrestrial wireless service—except that in order to
protect incumbents that remain in these bands, our rules are more stringent in certain respects. For
example, to protect certain Federal operations in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands from
harmful interference, we adopt technical rules that require AWS-3 licensees using these frequencies to

7 See Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet & American Life Project, “Tablet Ownership 2013” (June 10, 2013), available
at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Tablet-Ownership-2013.aspx (last visited Sept. 5, 2013).
8 See Cisco White Paper, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013-2018
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.pdf at 2
Feb. 5, 2014 (Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast) (last visited Feb. 6, 2014).
9 See CTIA Semi-Annual Data Survey Results (detailing growth in cumulative capital investment and cell sites).
10 The Council of Economic Advisors has found that “the spectrum currently allocated to wireless is not sufficient to
handle the projected growth in demand, even with technological improvements allowing for more efficient use of
existing spectrum and significant investment in new facilities.” Council of Economic Advisors, The Economic
Benefits of New Spectrum for Wireless Broadband at 5 (Feb. 21, 2012), available at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/factsheets-reports (last visited June 20, 2013).
11 See, e.g., H Block R&O; Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive
Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 12357 (2012) (Incentive Auctions
NPRM
) (proposing to hold the world’s first incentive auction of repurposed television broadcast spectrum); AWS-4
Service Rules R&O
, 27 FCC Rcd 16102 (making 40 megahertz of spectrum available for mobile broadband);
Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless Communications Services
in the 2.3 GHz Band; Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-
2360 MHz Frequency Band, WT Docket No. 07-293, IB Docket No. 95-91, Order on Reconsideration, FCC 12-130,
27 FCC Rcd 13651 (2012) (acting to free up 30 megahertz of spectrum for mobile broadband); Amendment of the
Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 3550-3650 MHz Band, GN Docket No. 12-354,
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 15594 (2012) (pursuing opportunities for innovative
sharing use of small cells in 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band); Revision of Part 15 of the
Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5 GHz Band,
ET Docket No. 13-49, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 1769 (2013) (examining the potential to free up
195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band suitable for “Gigabit Wi-Fi”).
12 See AWS-3 Report and Order, section III.A (Bands for AWS-3).
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coordinate their proposed operations with NTIA prior to commencing operations.13 The market-oriented
licensing framework for these bands will ensure efficient spectrum utilization and will foster the
development of new and innovative technologies and services, as well as encourage the growth and
development of broadband services, ultimately leading to greater benefits to consumers.14
4.
A portion of the proceeds from the auction of Federal spectrum will be used to cover the
relocation and sharing costs of Federal incumbents associated with relocating their spectrum-dependent
systems from spectrum bands authorized to be auctioned under the Commission’s competitive bidding
authority.15 A portion will also be made available for use by the First Responder Network Authority
(FirstNet) to carry out its duties and responsibilities, among other things, to deploy and operate a
nationwide public safety broadband network.16

B.

Legal Basis

5.
The actions taken are authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Title VI
of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 1122-96, 126 Stat. 156, 47
U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 201, 301, 302a, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 1403, 1404,
and 1451.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will
Apply

6.
The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of
the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.17 The
RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,”
“small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”18 In addition, the term “small business” has
the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.19 A “small
business concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field
of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.20
7.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our
action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards that encompass
entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration.21 As of 2010, there were
27.9 million small businesses in the United States, according to the SBA.22 Additionally, a “small

13 See, AWS-3 Report and Order, section III.E (Federal/Non-Federal Coordination).
14 See, AWS-3 Report and Order, III.C (Licensing and Operating Rules; Regulatory Issues).
15 Pub. L. No. 108-494, 118 Stat. 3986, 3991 (2004), codified at 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j), 923(g), 928.
16 Id. § 6401(c)(3), 6413(b)(3), codified at 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j)(8)(D)(ii), 1457(b)(3).
17 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
18 Id. § 601(6).
19 Id. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business Act, 15
U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency,
after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public
comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and
publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.” Id.
20 15 U.S.C. § 632.
21 See 5 U.S.C. § 601(3)–(6).
22 See Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” available at http://
http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf (last visited Jun. 6, 2013).
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organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and
is not dominant in its field.”23 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small
organizations.24 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments
of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of
less than fifty thousand.”25 Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 89,527 governmental
jurisdictions in the United States.26 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,761 entities may qualify
as “small governmental jurisdictions.”27 Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are
small.
8.
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). This industry comprises
establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide
communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide
services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access,
and wireless video services.28 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless
Telecommunications Carriers. The size standard for that category is that a business is small if it has 1,500
or fewer employees.29 For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 11,163
establishments that operated for the entire year.30 Of this total, 10,791 establishments had employment of
999 or fewer employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more.31 Thus under this category
and the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that may be affected by our proposed
action.32 Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the
provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, PCS, and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR)
Telephony services.33 Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than

23 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
24 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
25 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
26 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007).
27 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 local governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, township, and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,095. As a basis of
estimating how many of these 89,476 local government organizations were small, in 2011, we note that there were a
total of 715 cities and towns (incorporated places and minor civil divisions) with populations over 50,000. CITY
AND TOWNS TOTALS: VINTAGE 2011 – U.S. Census Bureau, available at
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2011/index.html. If we subtract the 715 cities and towns that meet
or exceed the 50,000 population threshold, we conclude that approximately 88,761 are small. U.S. CENSUS
BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 (Data cited therein are
from 2007).
28 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517210&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
29 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
30 U.S. Census Bureau, Subject Series: Information, Table 5, “Establishment and Firm Size: Employment Size of
Firms for the United States: 2007 NAICS Code 517210” (issued Nov. 2010).
31 See
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&prod
Type=table. Available census data do not provide a more precise estimate of the number of firms that have
employment of 1,500 or fewer employees; the largest category provided is for firms with “100 employees or more.”
32http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&pro
dType=table.
33 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
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1,500 employees.34 Consequently, the Commission estimates that approximately half or more of these
firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of wireless firms
can be considered small.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements

9.
The projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements resulting
from the Report and Order will apply to all entities in the same manner. The Commission believes that
applying the same rules equally to all entities in this context promotes fairness. The Commission does
not believe that the costs and/or administrative burdens associated with the rules will unduly burden small
entities, as discussed below. The revisions the Commission adopts should benefit small entities by giving
them more information, more flexibility, and more options for gaining access to valuable wireless
spectrum.
10.
Any applicants for AWS-3 licenses will be required to file license applications using the
Commission’s automated Universal Licensing System (ULS). ULS is an online electronic filing system
that also serves as a powerful information tool, one that enables potential licensees to research
applications, licenses, and antenna structures. It also keeps the public informed with weekly public
notices, FCC rulemakings, processing utilities, and a telecommunications glossary. AWS-3 licensees that
must submit long-form license applications must do so through ULS using Form 601,35 FCC Ownership
Disclosure Information for the Wireless Telecommunications Services using FCC Form 602,36 and other
appropriate forms.37

E.

Steps taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

11.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in reaching its approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) the
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the
resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design,
standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.38
12.
As set forth in this Report and Order, we will license the AWS-3 bands under a hybrid of
Economic Area (EA) and Cellular Market Area (CMA) geographic licenses.39 Licensing some spectrum
blocks on an EA basis best balances the Commission's goals of encouraging the offering of broadband
service both to broad geographic areas and to sizeable populations, while licensing one block by CMA
will enable smaller carriers to serve smaller, less dense population areas that more closely fit their smaller
footprints. Licensees may also adjust their geographic coverage through secondary markets. These rules
should enable licensees of AWS-3 spectrum, or any entities providing service in other AWS bands,
whether large or small, to more easily adjust their spectrum holdings to build their networks pursuant to
individual business plans. As a result, we believe the ability of licensees to adjust spectrum holdings will
provide an economic benefit by making it easier for small entities to acquire spectrum or access spectrum
in these bands.

34 See id.
35 47 C.F.R. § 1.913(a)(1).
36 Id. § 1.919.
37 Id. § 1.2107.
38 5 U.S.C. § 604(a)(6).
39 See AWS-3 Report and Order, ¶¶ 20, 48-49.
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13.
This Report and Order adopts rules to protect licensees operating in nearby spectrum
bands from harmful interference, which may include small entities. The technical rules adopted in the
Report and Order are based on the rules for AWS-1 spectrum,40 with specific additions or modifications
designed, among other things, to protect Federal incumbents and Broadband Radio Service licensees that
will share some of the AWS-3 spectrum. 41 The technical rules in the Report and Order will therefore
allow licensees of the AWS-3 spectrum to operate while also protecting licensees in nearby spectrum
from harmful interference, some of whom may be small entities, and meet the statutory requirements of
the Spectrum Act. In response to comments to the AWS-3 NPRM urging that an interoperability
requirement is necessary to prevent the large national carriers from leaving certain AWS-3 spectrum
blocks “orphaned” (not included in voluntary industry standards) for small and regional carriers that lack
sufficient market power to drive device development,42 the Report and Order also adopts a requirement
that mobile and portable stations that operate on any portion of frequencies in the paired 1755-1780 MHz
and 2155-2180 MHz band must be capable of operating on all frequencies in the paired 1710-1780 MHz
and 2110-2180 MHz band, using the same air interfaces that the equipment utilizes on any frequencies in
the paired 1710-1780 MHz and 2110-2180 MHz band.43 In response to comments seeking smaller
spectrum block sizes and license areas (including from commenters that may be or may represent small
entities), the Commission is licensing adopted several 5 megahertz spectrum blocks and one 5 megahertz
paired block will be licensed by CMAs.44
14.
The Report and Order provides AWS-3 licensees with the flexibility to provide any fixed
or mobile service that is consistent with the allocations for this spectrum, which is consistent with other
spectrum allocated or designated for licensed fixed and mobile services, e.g., AWS-1.45 The Report and
Order
further provides for licensing of this spectrum under the Commission’s market-oriented Part 27
rules.46 This includes applying the Commission’s secondary market policies and rules to all transactions
involving the use of AWS-3 bands, which will provide greater predictability and regulatory parity with
bands licensed for mobile broadband service. These rules should make it easier for AWS-3 providers to
enter secondary market arrangements involving use of their spectrum. The secondary market rules apply
equally to all entities, whether small or large. As a result, we believe that this will provide an economic
benefit to small entities by making it easier for entities, whether large or small, to enter into secondary
market arrangements for AWS-3 spectrum.
15.
The Report and Order adopts rules pertaining to how the AWS-3 licenses will be
assigned, including rules to assist small entities in competitive bidding.47 Specifically, small businesses
will have available a bidding credit of 15 percent and very small businesses a bidding credit of 25 percent.
Providing small businesses and very small businesses with bidding credits will provide an economic
benefit to small entities by making it easier for small entities to acquire spectrum or access to spectrum in
these bands.

40 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.50-53.
41 See AWS-3 Report and Order, ¶¶ 79 (prohibiting fixed stations in the AWS-3 uplink bands), 90 (establishing
Protection Zones around certain Federal station locations), 97 (requiring coordination with co-channel BRS
stations), 100 (requiring that uplink devices be associated with or under the control of a base station), and 217-225
(requiring coordination with co-channel Federal incumbents).
42 See id., ¶ 225.
43 See id., ¶ 229.
44 See id., section III.A (Bands for AWS-3).
45 See id, ¶ 112.
46 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.1 et seq.
47 See AWS-3 Report and Order, ¶¶ 176-189.
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F.

Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Rules

16.
None.

G.

Report to Congress

17.
The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, in a
report to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.48 In addition, the Commission will send a
copy the Report and Order, including FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration. A copy of this Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in
the Federal Register.49

48 See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A). The Congressional Review Act is contained in Title II, § 251, of the CWAAA, see
Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, § 251, 110 Stat. 868.
49 See 5 U.S.C. § 604(b).
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APPENDIX C

Commenters to AWS-3 NPRM

4G Americas
Aerospace and Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC)
Aerospace Industries Association
Atlantic Seawinds Communications, LLC
AT&T Services, Inc.
Bluegrass Cellular, Inc.
Cohen, Dippell and Everist, P.C.
Competitive Carriers Association
Comsearch
CTIA-The Wireless Association
EIBASS
Ericsson
GoGo, Inc.
GPS Innovation Alliance
Hearing Industries Association
Maneesh Pangasa
Mobile Future
Motorola Mobility LLC
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
Nokia Solutions and Networks
Oceus Networks
Philips Healthcare
Public Service Wireless Services, Inc.
Raytheon Company
Rural Wireless Association, Inc.
Telecommunications Industry Association
Telecommunications Industry Association
The Boeing Company
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
United States Cellular Corporation
Verizon Wireless
xG Technology, Inc.

Reply Commenters to AWS-3 NPRM

AT&T Services, Inc.
Blooston Rural Carriers
Carolina West Wireless
Competitive Carriers Association, et al
Consumer Electronics Association
CTIA-The Wireless Association
DISH Network Corporation
GPS Innovation Alliance
Motorola Mobility LLC
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association
NTCH, Inc.
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Oceus Networks
Raytheon Company
Rural Wireless Association, Inc.
Smith Bagley, Inc., MTPCS, LLC d/b/a Cellular One and Cellular Network Partners d/b/a Pioneer
Cellular
Sprint Corporation
The Boeing Company
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
United States Cellular Corporation
Verizon Wireless

Ex Parte

filers to AWS-3 NPRM
AT&T Services, Inc.
Carolina West Wireless
Competitive Carriers Association
Council Tree Investors, Inc., McBride Spectrum Partners et al.
CTIA-The Wireless Association
DISH Network Corporation
EIBASS
Grain Management, LLC
Minority Media & Telecom Council
Mobile Future
New America Foundation
New Cell, Inc, d/b/a Cellcom
NTELOS Holdings Corporation
Oceus Networks
Public KnowledgeSandhill Communications, LLC
TerraStar Corporation
Texas 10 d/b/as Cellular One and Central Louisiana Cellular d/b/a Cellular One
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
United States Cellular Corporation
Verizon
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STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN THOMAS E. WHEELER

Re:
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands,
Report and Order, GN Docket No. 13-185
Everyone at the Commission is ready for this winter to be over. With today’s agenda, the
Commission officially declares that winter is over and the Spring of Spectrum has begun, which is at least
as important as opening day of the baseball season!
Thanks to years of effort by people from across this building and across the federal government
and industry, the spectrum pipeline is reopening.
We recently completed our first auction of mobile broadband spectrum since 2008. Our H-Block
auction made 10 megahertz of spectrum available, and raised $1.56 billion in the process, a significant
down payment on FirstNet.
This Report and Order establishing service rules for AWS-3 moves us closer to holding an
auction for 65 megahertz of spectrum this Fall, the most since the 700 MHz auction in 2008. Even a year
ago, no one was sure we’d come to this day. And while there may be disagreements about some of the
details around the edges, make no mistake, making this spectrum available for auction for commercial use
is a home run no matter how you look at it.
The new capacity will expand the workhorse AWS-1 commercial wireless band to enable faster
wireless speeds and more capacity to help satisfy consumers’ voracious appetite for mobile data.
This proceeding represents a step forward in spectrum policy. Some of the spectrum being
auctioned is already available in the Commission’s inventory. But 40 megahertz of the spectrum to be
auctioned is used nearly exclusively by federal agencies today.
A long and unprecedentedly candid and purpose-driven discussion among federal and
commercial users about how to enhance spectrum efficiency through both clearing and sharing has
brought us to this point. I commend NTIA, DOD, DOJ, the White House, and committees on Capitol Hill
for their leadership in enabling commercial use of the 1755-1780 MHz band. I also commend NOAA for
spearheading the effort to make the 1695-1710 MHz band available for commercial use.
Today is a big step in the process that will lead to the AWS-3 auction this Fall. Make no mistake
about it, however, we, together with our Executive Branch colleagues, need to organize a fast process to
finalize the technical details that must be resolved before this auction can take place. The clock is ticking.
We pledge the full support and commitment of the FCC to this important effort. We all are working
against a shot clock without much time on it.
Making these airwaves available for flexible, commercial use is not natural for incumbent
spectrum holders. We appreciate their willingness to find solutions to accomplish that goal, however, we
are mindful that protection zones and coordination are still issues being debated. As a result, the Order
defaults to nationwide coordination zones that no one (including the DoD) feels is an adequate solution.
In other words, there is more work to be done to ensure the success of this auction.
I expect our efforts will result in a pre-auction Public Notice that sets out the rules of the road for
new entrants in the band and provides greater certainty to incumbents. We expect we will be able to tailor
the coordination zones and procedures to meet the expectations of stakeholders coming out of last year’s
CSMAC discussions.
As usual, we will also seek comment on auction rules and procedures for the future AWS-3
auction.
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And finally, we are working with federal partners to release additional information to inform
bidders in the forthcoming auction, recognizing that we also have to protect sensitive information about
federal systems for national security reasons.
Working together, as we have already on this item, we will get this right and free up significant
amounts of spectrum.
Thank you to the Wireless Bureau and to the Office of Engineering and Technology for your
leadership on this important item. And I want to particularly thank John Leibovitz and Julie Knapp, who
have personally worked tirelessly on these issues for several years.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re:
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands,
Report and Order, GN Docket No. 13-185
With this Order, the Commission expedites the allocation of flexible use spectrum so wireless
providers can better satisfy the ever increasing consumer demand for mobile broadband services. The
initiative to pair the 1755 to 1780 and 2155 to 2180 bands has been a painstaking effort involving the
wireless industry, federal agencies, and NAB that has spanned several years. But there is nothing like a
federal statute with a tight deadline for licensing spectrum to encourage parties to reassess what really
matters, find common ground, and do the right thing for the American public. I commend all relevant
stakeholders who helped us reach this point.
My review of the policy decisions, in this Order, begins with the trends we are seeing in the
mobile wireless market. Each year, the percentage of American adults who are cutting the cord and
relying solely on mobile is increasing. For those living below the poverty line, the figure is now at 56
percent, and robust competition is the best way to provide them with affordable choices. But
consolidation, secondary market transactions, and difficult investment markets have substantially reduced
the number of competitive options for consumers. For example, in the 2006 AWS-1 auction, 104 bidders
won 1,087 licenses. Now, four carriers hold 1,000 of those licenses. After carefully considering all the
arguments on the band plan, I was more persuaded by the view that smaller block sizes and license areas
could enhance competition, and yes, I would have preferred a different band plan.
However, the effort to repurpose federal spectrum for commercial use requires compromise and,
in addition to promoting competition, we must consider other policy goals including the fact that the
Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act requires us to design an auction, which returns 110 percent of
the total estimated relocation costs of federal users. Since future efforts to repurpose spectrum will
involve more difficult policy issues, compromise will become increasingly important going forward. I
appreciate Chairman Wheeler’s decision to propose an alternative plan that better addresses the concerns
of smaller carriers.
I am also pleased that the Order mandates interoperability between the AWS-1 and AWS-3
bands. In the 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we explained that the proposed AWS-3 bands are
immediately adjacent to the AWS-1 bands, that we are proposing technical rules for uplink and downlink
operations in the AWS-3 band that are consistent with those operations in the AWS-1 band,1 agreed with
T-Mobile that “the creation of an additional AWS allocation immediately adjacent to the current AWS-1
allocation will allow for more immediate equipment development and deployment,” and tentatively
concluded “that having additional spectrum that is adjacent to that used for like services will promote
efficiency in broadband deployment.”2 We sought comment on proposed technical rules, our tentative
conclusions, the competitive effects of our proposed rules, and asked commenters to address any other
rules not specifically identified in the Notice.3
In response, several parties supported this proposal for a number of reasons, including that
consistent technical rules would facilitate use of the AWS-3 spectrum and interoperability across these
AWS bands. Some of these parties specifically asked the Commission to adopt a requirement that
devices manufactured for the AWS-3 band be interoperable with the AWS-1 band. I agree with those

1 See Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-
1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 13-185, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on
Reconsideration
, 28 FCC Rcd 11479, 11495 ¶ 30, 11496 ¶ 33 (2013) (AWS-3 NPRM).
2 Id. at 11495 ¶ 30.
3 Id. at 11517 ¶ 85.
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who contend that an interoperability requirement would promote timely access to mobile devices across
these bands and prevent the difficult situation smaller carriers are experiencing in the lower 700 MHz
bands, which we auctioned in 2008. I am also pleased that the Order has strong language promoting a
voluntary solution that would extend interoperability to the AWS-4 band. For these reasons, I am voting
to approve today’s Order.
I want to acknowledge Roger Sherman, Ruth Milkman, Julie Knapp, and all former Wireless
Bureau and OET Chiefs, whose efforts over the years are finally coming to fruition. I also want to
acknowledge my wireless advisor, Louis Peraertz, for his wise counsel. To those who were involved in
negotiating with federal agencies and crafting the important service and technical rules in this Order –
well done. As the Order makes clear, more work is necessary before we can auction and license this
spectrum; so no rest for the weary. In addition to setting auctions procedures, we should also give the
public as much information as possible about geographic areas that will require coordination with federal
operations. I know you will approach those tasks with the same diligence and skill that you have shown
so far. Thank you.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Re:
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands,
Report and Order, GN Docket No. 13-185
This is a big deal.
It was 2008 the last time the Commission conducted an auction this significant. Think about that.
Our last major auction was conducted when the iPhone was in its infancy. We were giddy over our
ability to tap on a screen—any screen—and expect an Internet-enabled response based on the swipe of a
finger. Before streaming video in our palms and laps had become commonplace. Before the applications
economy grew to provide over 750,000 jobs. It was a long time ago.
But in the intervening years we were not asleep at the switch. Congress took steps to clear
spectrum used by federal authorities and directed this agency to put it to new commercial use. So as a
result of their efforts in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, we can sit here today and tee
up an auction of 65 megahertz of prime spectrum.
Our auctions, however, do not take place in a vacuum. Even after all the bids are in, after all the
winners are decided, there is a lot of work to do before consumers see the benefits. So it is worth noting
that our efforts today are designed to speed this along. Through interoperability requirements, we are
lowering the barriers to developing equipment for this new spectrum. By encouraging broader
interoperability with the 2180-2200 MHz band, we are facilitating the deployment of an additional 40
megahertz of spectrum. This is good stuff—designed to make it possible to put the benefits of these
airwaves in the hands of consumers in ways that are faster, smarter, and sooner.
But the promise of this proceeding goes even further. Because if we get this right, we will also
substantially fund the first nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network for public safety—the
First Responders Network Authority—even before we begin our upcoming spectrum incentive auction.
This is important. It means we can finally deliver on the promise of the 9/11 Commission
recommendations and give our public safety officials a start on the network they need to keep us safe.
Moreover, funding this network through these auctions now will free the Commission to develop more
robust incentives in our incentive auction later.
So there is a lot here to celebrate. But as far as we have come, we also need to keep an eye on
where we are going next. Because the demand for spectrum since we last held a major auction has
skyrocketed—and it shows no signs of stopping. Yet freeing the next swath of federal airwaves will not
come easy.
We can, of course, continue on our current course. When commercial wireless demands rise, we
can ask Congress to go to our federal partners and press them to find new ways to repurpose old airwaves
for new commercial use. But as everyone of us involved in this proceeding knows all too well, our three-
step process—clearing federal users, relocating them, and then auctioning the cleared spectrum for new
use—is growing creaky. It takes far too long.
That is why it is time for a fresh approach to federal spectrum. We need a policy built on carrots,
not sticks. We need to develop a series of incentives to serve as the catalyst for freeing more federal
spectrum for commercial use.
Across the board, we need to find ways to reward federal authorities for efficient use of their
spectrum. They could be straightforward and financial—under which a certain portion of the revenue
from the commercial auction of their previously held spectrum would be reserved for the federal entity
releasing the spectrum. They also could involve revenue opportunities from leasing or shared access,
including during a period of transition to cleared rights. As part of this effort, we should consider a
valuation of all spectrum used by federal authorities in order to provide a consistent way to reward
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efficiency. In short, we will make smarter use of a scarce resource if federal authorities see benefit in
commercial reallocation—rather than just loss.
The good news is that these ideas are gaining steam. The Administration added a batch of new
initiatives the spectrum policy mix in last year’s Executive Memorandum on Expanding America’s
Leadership in Wireless Innovation. In Congress, Representative Matsui and Representative Guthrie
introduced a ground-breaking bipartisan bill that provides a framework for rewarding federal spectrum
users for efficient use. This is a terrific bill that could have big impact.
Of course, this is all getting ahead of what we have right here, right now, today. But we need to
look for new spectrum opportunities down the road, well before we have the auction of this 65 megahertz
in the rear view mirror. Given the speed at which our wireless world is evolving, now is not a moment
too soon.
Thank you to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau for your hard work on this important
auction—and spectrum auctions yet to come.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

Re:
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands,
Report and Order, GN Docket No. 13-185
After five years without a major spectrum auction, things are starting to turn around. Last month
the Commission completed the auction of the long-fallow H Block, and today we adopt service rules so
that we can auction off the AWS-3 spectrum before the year is over. This is good news.
It’s good news because consumer demand for mobile broadband services has never been greater,
and new commercial spectrum is needed to “fuel the investment that has made the United States the world
leader in wireless innovation.”1
And it’s good news because spectrum auctions can raise billions of dollars for national priorities
identified by Congress in the Spectrum Act. Among those priorities are funding for state and local first
responders, public safety research, deficit reduction, and next-generation 911 deployment—not to
mention the funding of FirstNet.2 We need to raise at least $27.95 billion in net revenues if we are going
to meet all of these challenges.
Even more good news: We’re using the right type of auction to sell off the right spectrum. On
the former point, we are maintaining open eligibility and uncapped participation, consistent with the
Commission’s firmly-rooted standard that sets a high bar to any bidding restrictions.3 In a long line of
Commission cases, we have determined that eligibility restrictions may be imposed “only when open
eligibility would pose a significant likelihood of substantial harm to competition in specific markets and
when an eligibility restriction would be effective in eliminating that harm.”4
On the latter point, we’ve paired the 1755–1780 MHz band with the 2155–2180 MHz band,
which is adjacent to the existing AWS-1 band and already internationally harmonized for commercial use.
Those characteristics should mean faster deployment and more efficient use of spectrum. Together, these
choices make it more likely that we will have “robust competition, maximizing revenue through vigorous
auction participation,”5 as called for by the leaders of the bipartisan Congressional Spectrum Caucus.

1 Letter from House Energy and Commerce Committee Federal Spectrum Working Group to Lawrence Strickling,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications at 1 (July 10, 2012), available at http://go.usa.gov/gQ5d.
2 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 § 6413(b) (2012)
(Spectrum Act), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 1457(b).
3 See, e.g., Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000–2020 MHz and 2180–2200 MHz Bands, WT
Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, 27 FCC
Rcd 16102, 16193, para. 241 (2012) (AWS-4 Order); see also Service Rules for the 698–746, 747–762 and 777–792
MHz Bands
, WT Docket No. 06-150, Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15383-84, para. 256 (2007)
(700 MHz Second Report and Order); Amendment of Parts 1, 21, 73, 74 and 101 of the Commission’s Rules to
Facilitate the Provision of Fixed and Mobile Broadband Access, Educational and Other Advanced Services in the
2150–2162 and 2500–2690 MHz Bands
, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC
Rcd 14165, 14227–32, paras. 165–76 (2004); Allocations and Service Rules for the 71–76 GHz, 81–86 GHz and 92–
95 GHz Bands
, Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 23318, 23346, para. 69 (2003) (70/80/90 GHz Order) (“[E]ligibility
restriction [may] be imposed only when there is significant likelihood of substantial harm to competition in specific
markets and when the restriction will be effective in eliminating that harm.”).
4 AWS-4 Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16193, para. 241; see also 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at
15383–84, para. 256; 70/80/90 GHz Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 23346, para. 70.
5 See Letter from Hon. Brett Guthrie and Hon. Doris Matsui to Hon. Tom Wheeler, Chairman, FCC (Mar. 25, 2014),
available at http://go.usa.gov/KFhw.
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But there are a couple of catches: We are not clearing federal users out of the AWS-3 spectrum,
and we are giving the government greater access to 85 MHz of prime, commercial spectrum at 2025–
2110 MHz. We do this despite that fact that the federal government is already the sole or “dominant”
user of more than half the spectrum ideally suited for mobile broadband. That’s almost 1,300 MHz of
spectrum where, as the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) put it,
government exclusivity or dominance “effectively precludes substantial commercial use.”6
This is bad news for the American public. The best way to maximize the value of spectrum in
these types of bands, both at auction and for consumers, is to make it available for exclusive commercial
use. That’s what we did in the early 2000s when the FCC and the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) cleared federal users out of the 1710–1755 MHz band and conducted
the tremendously successful AWS-1 auction. Clearing that spectrum cost less than originally assumed
even without giving the government new spectrum to use. So consumers got more spectrum, and the
Treasury got more funds.
Since then, Congress has placed even greater emphasis on clearing. In a subsection titled
“Relocation Prioritized Over Sharing,” the Spectrum Act directs the NTIA to “choose options involving
shared use only when it determines, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and
Budget [OMB], that relocation is not feasible because of technical or cost constraints.”7 And if NTIA
makes that determination, it must “notify [Congress] of the determination, including the specific technical
or cost constraints on which the determination is based.”8 Consistent with these statutory requirements,
the AWS-3 NPRM proposed to allocate the 1695–1710 and 1755–1780 MHz bands for shared use only “if
clearing is not feasible.”9
The NTIA has not carried out these statutory duties—at least not yet. Although the Commission
commenced the notification-and-auction process of the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act more
than one year ago,10 NTIA has not yet notified Congress of its determination—assuming that one has been
made in consultation with OMB.
And it’s far from certain whether clearing the 1755–1780 MHz band was ever seriously
considered under the Spectrum Act standard. As the Commission readily acknowledges in this Order,
NTIA charged the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) working groups
with “addressing sharing issues” related to the spectrum at hand, not clearing.11 It also directed those

6 See President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Report to the President: Realizing the Full
Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth (rel. July 20, 2012) (PCAST Report); see also
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695–1710 MHz, 1755–1780
MHz, and 2155–2180 MHz Bands
, GN Docket No. 13-185, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on
Reconsideration, 28 FCC Rcd 11479, 11579–80 (2013) (Statement of Commissioner Ajit Pai, Approving in Part and
Concurring in Part) (AWS-3 NPRM) (citing National Telecommunications and Information Administration, United
States Frequency Allocations: The Radio Spectrum (Aug. 2011)).
7 Spectrum Act § 6701(a)(3) (amending Section 113(j) of the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration Organization Act (47 U.S.C. § 923)).
8 Spectrum Act § 6701(a)(3), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 923(j)(2).
9 AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11482, para. 2.
10 See Letter from Julius Genachowksi, Chairman, FCC, to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for
Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce, at 1 (March 20, 2013), available at
http://go.usa.gov/2VR5; see also Testimony of Commissioner Ajit Pai, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission” at 2–3
(Mar. 12, 2013) (calling on the Commission to “commence the notification-and-auction process now to preserve our
ability to auction the 1755–1780 MHz spectrum paired with the 2155–2180 MHz spectrum”), available at
http://go.usa.gov/2Vj3.
11 Order at para. 9.
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groups to use NTIA’s Fast Track Report “as the bases for beginning” their discussions,12 even though that
Report was prepared to assess the feasibility of sharing, not clearing.13 And on the heels of this directive
came the PCAST Report, which largely dismissed clearing as an option, as I noted at the time.14 These
decisions beg the question of whether the law is effectively a dead letter.
None of this is to say that clearing and relocating federal users is easy. Federal agencies are
focused on achieving their missions. And they often lack incentives to relocate and clear spectrum for
commercial use. But whatever the challenges, the statute favors clearing, not sharing.
The fact that NTIA has yet to publicly determine that clearing these bands is not feasible puts us
in a tight spot. We have a statutory deadline to auction and license the AWS-3 band, so we need to move
forward with service rules so that wireless operators can begin planning their bids. But coming up with
service rules requires a fair degree of clarity on the status of federal holdings. Getting that clarity, in turn,
requires extensive communications with federal users, with NTIA as the go-between. So we end up in a
game of telephone, made worse because we typically have to accept the government’s say-so on the
details of federal use.15 I hope we may find a better way, but for now we must muddle through.
I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for accommodating some of my suggestions, such
as including in this item a mechanism that will allow us to monitor the progress being made by those
federal incumbents that are relocating. As we move closer to auctioning this spectrum, I look forward to
working with my colleagues to ensure that federal incumbents provide thorough, substantive, and
substantiated transition plans. Potential licensees must have adequate information about the nature and
extent of incumbent operations in order to value the spectrum and formulate bids.
Finally, I cannot approve of the Order’s adoption of an interoperability mandate on AWS-3
licensees given that the AWS-3 NPRM never proposed such a rule.16 Nevertheless, because that mandate

12 See U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Framework
for Work within CSMAC, available at http://go.usa.gov/KMXC (NTIA Framework); see also U.S. Department of
Commerce, An Assessment of the Near-Term Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband Systems in the
1675–1710 MHz, 1755–1780 MHz, 3500–3650 MHz, 4200–4220 MHz, and 4380–4400 MHz Bands at 2-3–2-4
(Oct. 2010), available at http://go.usa.gov/KM9z (Fast Track Report).
13 Fast Track Report at 1-4 (“NTIA and the Federal agencies performed this Fast Track Evaluation . . . to evaluate
four bands by October 1, 2010, to determine if any spectrum in these bands could be made available on a
geographical sharing basis for wireless broadband use within five years.”); see also id. (“This Fast Track Evaluation
provides the analysis results for these candidate frequency bands and recommends the necessary actions that would
be required to accommodate broadband wireless services on a shared basis.”).
14 See Statement of Commissioner Ajit Pai on the Report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and
Technology (July 20, 2012), available at http://go.usa.gov/KMaQ.
15 In fact, the majority of the CSMAC members stated that “because only limited technical data was shared about
Federal systems with the working groups, participants were not able to fully engage in the type of informed
discussion of the analysis and underlying assumptions necessary to verify the accuracy of the information.” See
Separate Statement Concerning Working Group Reports for the 1755–1850 MHz Band (Aug. 29, 2013) available at
http://go.usa.gov/KM9P. I should note as well that NTIA’s Fast Track Report deferred making any
recommendations regarding the 1755–1780 MHz band, and when NTIA later assessed the full 1755–1850 MHz
band—reaching the conclusion that repurposing the entire 95 MHz would cost $18 billion over 10 years—NTIA did
not evaluate the possibility for clearing just the 1755–1780 MHz band. See U.S. Department of Commerce, An
Assessment of the Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband in the 1755–1850 MHz Band (Mar. 2012),
available at http://go.usa.gov/KM9G.
16 At best, the AWS-3 NPRM sought comment on possible technical or operational rules that would protect certain
services “from harmful interference.” See AWS-3 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 11517, para. 85; Order at para. 225. But
that section proposed to adopt the same technical requirements for AWS-3 that apply to AWS-1, and AWS-1 has no
interoperability mandate. Neither that paragraph, nor any other portion of the AWS-3 NPRM, discusses or proposes
an interoperability rule.
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only spans the 1710–1780 MHz and 2110–2180 MHz bands, and because international standards to cover
those bands are already being developed, I hope that error will be harmless.17
Many thanks to the team that negotiated for countless hours with their executive branch
counterparts, drafted this item, and worked with my office over the past several weeks, including Richard
Arsenault, Valerie Barrish, Peter Daronco, Connie Diaz, Nese Guendelsberger, David Horowitz, Bill
Hueber, Julius Knapp, John Leibovitz, Paul Malmud, Gary Michaels, Tom Mooring, Brian Regan, Ron
Repasi, Bill Richardson, Genevieve Ross, Blaise Scinto, Roger Sherman, John Spencer, Joel Taubenblatt,
Jeffrey Tignor, Tom Tran, Brian Wondrack, Janet Young, Nancy Zaczek, and Stephen Zak. I hope your
tireless efforts are rewarded with a successful AWS-3 auction later this year.

17 Of course, expanding that mandate to other spectrum bands may be positively harmful, and there is no emergency,
to my knowledge, that could countenance such a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MICHAEL P. O'RIELLY

Re:
Amendment of the Commission’s Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 1695-1710
MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands,
Report and Order, GN Docket No. 13-185
Today, we take another step to implement the “Spectrum Act” contained in the Middle Class Tax
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 by making available to the commercial marketplace an additional 65
megahertz of much needed spectrum. These frequencies will be used to deliver high-speed mobile
broadband and other wireless services that Americans demand.
The staff of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering Technology did
yeoman’s work to get us to today’s order and they deserve our highest gratitude. The Spectrum Act’s
upcoming February 2015 deadline put the Commission on a very tight timeline, especially given the fact
that two bands identified for auction currently host important federal operations that need to be relocated.
I am especially pleased that this order will enable us to auction 1755-1780 MHz paired with 2155-2180
MHz. These bands are not only ideal for wireless broadband, they are also globally harmonized, which
means consumers stand to benefit as U.S. providers take advantage of the economies of scale in network
equipment and overseas roaming. In the same vein, I would have preferred that we auction the uplink
1695-1710 MHz paired with a downlink band and, if necessary, had gone back to Congress to ask for a
limited delay to achieve this, potentially generating more value for both the industry and auction
proceeds.
While I am pleased that we have reached resolution on the major decisions that will enable us to
move forward with an auction, I am concerned about the remaining issues that still need to be resolved.
First, talks with NTIA will continue about the specifics of the transition plans and the technical
parameters surrounding the temporary and permanent sharing zones that will be employed to protect
legacy federal users. To ensure that Americans can realize the most benefit from this spectrum, the FCC
and NTIA should continue to decrease the number and the size of the areas where AWS-3 licensees must
coordinate during the relocation process and beyond.
Second, the Spectrum Act states Congress’s strong preference for clearing over spectrum sharing.
In fact, sharing is only allowed after NTIA determines, in consultation with the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget, that relocation of federal operations from a band “is not feasible.” And, even
then, it must notify the relevant Congressional Committees with a written explanation of the specific
technical or cost constraints that make clearing impracticable. I am very concerned that this has not yet
happened. I hope that NTIA complies with the statute and provides Congress with an explanation for
why federal users cannot ultimately vacate these bands.
Third, I am concerned about some of the remaining details surrounding the auction itself. The
law states that, in order for the AWS-3 auction to be successful, it will have to generate enough revenue
to cover 110 percent of the relocation costs. For these funds to be raised, auction participants need
certainty in order to have the confidence to bid freely. Leading up to the auction, the FCC will have to
keep the public informed about the factors that will affect providers’ decision making, including reserve
prices. In order to formulate business plans and bidding strategies, bidders will need to know the
geographic scope and estimated time frame for relocating federal users. Most importantly, they will need
to know how the spectrum screen will apply to this auction. The item defers this question to the mobile
spectrum holdings proceeding. But, as I have said before, I will strongly oppose arbitrary spectrum caps
or any spectrum screen that is not directly related to addressing undue power in a particular market. We
simply cannot afford the risk of using that proceeding to give favored industry players an unwarranted
discount on spectrum.
There are also a few aspects of the order upon which I must concur. First, I believe that the
appointed and confirmed Commissioners should decide issues of importance before the Commission. But
in response to concerns about the number of decisions that were delegated to the bureau-level, the final
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item no longer contains any reference to delegated authority and leaves those decisions to be made at a
future date. Having just gone through a number of instances when I requested to vote on an item, only to
have it go out on delegated authority anyway, I remain skeptical that I will have the opportunity to vote
on the upcoming decisions regarding AWS-3. Excessive reliance on delegation demeans the creditability
of the Commission.
In addition, I am opposed to the item’s discussion of extending interoperability to the AWS-4
band. Without adopting rules, the Commission here is telling industry that, absent technical impediments,
we expect them to implement interoperability. If they do not, or “if the Commission determines that
progress on interoperability has stalled in the standards process,” the Commission may regulate. This is
nothing more than stealth regulation. It just avoids the notice problems.
Again, I thank the dedicated staff in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of
Engineering and Technology who made great strides in their negotiations with NTIA, and the other
affected federal agencies, to get us here today.
139

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