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Released: June 27, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-88

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H
)
WT Docket No. 12-357
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

Adopted: June 27, 2013

Released: June 27, 2013

By the Commission: Acting Chairwoman Clyburn and Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai issuing
separate statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 2
III. DISCUSSION ........................................................................................................................................ 9
A. Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz ............................................ 10
1. Allocation for Commercial Use .............................................................................................. 13
2. Flexible Use............................................................................................................................. 15
3. Assignment of Licenses........................................................................................................... 17
4. Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band .............................. 18
B. Band Plan....................................................................................................................................... 24
1. Block Configuration................................................................................................................ 26
2. Service Area ............................................................................................................................ 33
3. Licensing the Gulf of Mexico ................................................................................................. 44
C. Technical Issues............................................................................................................................. 46
1. Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz............................................................................................ 49
2. Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz............................................................................................ 81
3. Canadian and Mexican Coordination .................................................................................... 154
4. Other Technical Issues .......................................................................................................... 155
D. Cost-Sharing ................................................................................................................................ 157
E. Regulatory Issues; Licensing and Operating Rules ..................................................................... 174
1. Regulatory Status .................................................................................................................. 175
2. Ownership Restrictions ......................................................................................................... 180
3. Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies ....................................................................................... 188
4. License Term, Performance Requirements, Renewal Criteria, Permanent
Discontinuance of Operations ............................................................................................... 192
5. Secondary Markets................................................................................................................ 234

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6. Other Operating Requirements.............................................................................................. 243
7. Facilitating Access to Spectrum and the Provision of Service to Tribal Lands .................... 248
F. Procedures for Any H Block Licenses Subject to Assignment by Competitive Bidding ............ 250
1. Application of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules................................................................. 251
2. Revision to Part 1 Certification Procedures .......................................................................... 253
3. Small Business Provisions for Geographic Area Licenses.................................................... 255
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS.............................................................................................................. 263
A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.......................................................................................... 263
B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 264
C. Further Information...................................................................................................................... 266
V. ORDERING CLAUSES..................................................................................................................... 267
APPENDIX A Final Rules
APPENDIX B Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
APPENDIX C List of Commenters to H Block NPRM

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
Today we increase the Nation's supply of spectrum for flexible-use services, including
mobile broadband, by adopting rules to auction and license ten megahertz of paired spectrum at
1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz--the H Block. This action implements the Congressional directive
in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act) that we grant new initial
licenses for these spectrum bands through a system of competitive bidding.1 In so doing, we extend the
widely deployed broadband Personal Communications Services (PCS) band, which is used by the four
national wireless providers, as well as regional and rural providers, to offer mobile service across the
United States. This additional spectrum for mobile use will help ensure that the speed, capacity, and
ubiquity of the Nation's wireless networks keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for mobile services.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
Wireless broadband represents a critical component of economic growth, job creation and
global competitiveness because consumers are increasingly using wireless broadband services to assist
them in their everyday lives.2 Demand for wireless broadband services and the network capacity
associated with those services is surging, resulting in a growing demand for spectrum to support these
services. Similarly, the number and type of devices being used by consumers to access content over
wireless broadband networks has proliferated. For example, the total number of mobile wireless
connections now exceeds the total U.S. population.3 As of the second quarter of 2012, 55 percent of U.S.

1 See Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 6401, 125 Stat. 156, 222-223
(2012), codified at 47 U.S.C. 1451 (Spectrum Act); see also 47 U.S.C. 309(j).
2 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, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 16258,
16261 9 (2012) (H Block NPRM); 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 Report and Order); Connecting America:
The National Broadband Plan at 77-79 (National Broadband Plan), available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-296935A1.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
3 See CTIA The Wireless Association Wireless Industry Indices, Semi-Annual Data Survey Results, A
Comprehensive Report from CTIA Analyzing the U.S. Wireless Industry, Mid-Year 2012 Top-of-the-Line Survey
Results, Annualized Wireless Survey Results Dec. 1985 to June 2012 (CTIA Semi-Annual Data Survey Results)
(continued....)
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mobile subscribers owned smartphones, compared to 41 percent in July 2011.4 Ownership of tablets,
which were first introduced in the market in January 2010, among Americans is also increasing.5 Pew
Internet research surveys, as of June 2013, show that 34 percent of American adults own a tablet
computer, up from 4 percent in September 2010.6 Tablets generated on average approximately 2.4 times
the amount of mobile traffic as the average smartphone in 2012.7 Global mobile data traffic is anticipated
to grow thirteen-fold between 2012 and 2017.8 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 increased wireless spectrum, moreover, is expected to continue increasing.10
In response, the Commission continues to work to free up additional licensed and unlicensed spectrum to
meet this growing demand.11
(Continued from previous page)
(estimating 321,716,905 total U.S. subscriber connections as of June 2012), available at
http://files.ctia.org/pdf/CTIA_Survey_MY_2012_Graphics-_final.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013). 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, 2012, was estimated to be 313.9 million. See U.S. Census Bureau,
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/totals/2012/index.html (last visited June 20, 2013).
4 Nielsen Newswire, The Nielsen Company, Two Thirds of New Mobile Buyers Now Opting for Smartphones, July
12, 2012, available at http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/two-thirds-of-new-mobile-buyers-now-
opting-for-smartphones/ (last visited June 20, 2013).
5 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16104 3; Sixteenth Mobile Wireless Competition Report, 28 FCC
Rcd at 3711, 3862 2, 255.
6 See Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Tablet Ownership 2013" (June 10, 2013), available
at
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Tablet-Ownership-2013.aspx (last visited June 17, 2013).
7 See Cisco White Paper, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012-2017,
Executive Summary at 2, February 6, 2013, available at
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.pdf
(last visited June 20, 2013).
8 See Cisco White Paper, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012-2017,
Executive Summary at 3, February 6, 2013, available at
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.pdf
(last visited June 20, 2013).
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., 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 Report
and Order
, 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,
(continued....)
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3.
In February 2012, Congress enacted Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act).12 The Spectrum Act includes several provisions to make more
spectrum available for commercial use, including through a system of competitive bidding, and to
improve public safety communications.13 Among other things, the Spectrum Act states that the
Commission, by February 23, 2015, shall allocate the H Block bands--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000
MHz--for commercial use, and through a system of competitive bidding grant new initial licenses for the
use of each band, subject to flexible use service rules.14 Congress provided, however, that if the
Commission determines that either of the bands cannot be used without causing harmful interference to
commercial licensees in 1930-1995 MHz (PCS downlink), then the Commission shall not allocate such
band for commercial use or grant new licenses for the use of such band.15 Additionally, Sections
6401(c)(4) and 6413 of the Spectrum Act specify that the proceeds from an auction of licenses in the
1995-2000 MHz band and in the 1915-1920 MHz band shall be deposited in the Public Safety Trust
Fund. Section 6413 of the Spectrum Act specifies how the funds deposited into the Public Safety Trust
Fund shall be used, and these purposes include the funding of (or reimbursement to the U.S. Treasury for
the funding of) the nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network by the First Responder
Network Authority (FirstNet).16 The rules we adopt today will enable the H Block spectrum to be the first
spectrum specified by the Spectrum Act to be licensed by auction, and thus likely will represent the first
steps toward this statutory goal.
4.
In response to the Spectrum Act and to help meet the growing demand for wireless
spectrum, in December 2012, the Commission adopted the H Block NPRM.17 In the H Block NPRM, the
Commission proposed to increase the Nation's supply of spectrum for mobile broadband by applying
Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) flexible use wireless service rules in 10 megahertz of spectrum
adjoining the widely deployed Broadband PCS (PCS) band, at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.18
5.
The H Block NPRM also represents a renewed Commission effort to bring this spectrum
to market. The Commission first proposed licensing, operating, and technical rules for this spectrum
band in 2004.19 The 2004 AWS-2 NPRM sought comment on strict power and out-of-band emission
(OOBE) limits for mobile transmissions in the 1915-1920 MHz band, because of concerns about potential
(Continued from previous page)
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 generally Spectrum Act, supra n.1.
13 Spectrum Act 6001-6703.
14 See Spectrum Act 6401(b), codified at 47 U.S.C. 1451(b).
15 See Spectrum Act 6401(b)(4), 47 USC 1451(b)(4).
16 Spectrum Act 6401(c), 6413, codified at 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(8)(F), 1457; see also Spectrum Act 6202(a),
codified at 47 U.S.C. 1422(a) ("The First Responder Network Authority shall ensure the establishment of a
nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network."). Amounts remaining in the Public Safety Trust Fund
after fiscal year 2022 are required to be deposited into the Treasury's general fund for the purpose of deficit
reduction. Spectrum Act 6413(a)(2), codified at 47 U.S.C. 1457(a)(2).
17 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd 16258.
18 See id. Advanced Wireless Service does not refer to a specific band, but rather is a "flexible use" service
designation that enables a wide variety of high-bandwidth terrestrial wireless applications, including voice and data
(such as Internet browsing, message services, and full-motion video) content.
19 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, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19263 (2004)
(AWS-2 NPRM).
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harmful interference to PCS mobile reception.20 In response to those proposals, most commenters agreed
with such concerns.21 In 2008, the Commission issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in
which it sought to supplement the record.22 Those 2008 proposals included strict OOBE limits for the
Lower H Block of 90 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, within the PCS band,
and a power limit of 23 dBm/MHz Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP).23 The record again
reflected the commenters' calls for strict interference limits, particularly the OOBE limit, in 1915-1920
MHz to avoid harmful interference to PCS mobile receivers.24 In the 2008 NPRM, the Commission also
proposed prohibiting mobile transmissions in the 1995-2000 MHz band, and proposed the typical
interference rule of an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts,
for base and fixed stations for emissions outside of the 1995-2000 MHz band, and a power limit of 1640
watts EIRP for emissions less than 1 MHz and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz in non-
rural areas and double these power limits in rural areas.25
6.
The spectral proximity of the AWS-4 Band (2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz) to the
Upper H Block is relevant to the present discussion. The Commission's December 2012 AWS-4 Report
and Order
established licensing, operating, and technical rules for terrestrial AWS-4 operations in the
2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands.26 The technical rules for the AWS-4 uplink at 2000-2020
MHz balanced the public interest benefits associated with potential uses of the relevant bands.
Specifically, the Commission placed limited restrictions on AWS-4 uplink operations that allow for
flexible use of the AWS-4 band while also potentially enabling full flexible downlink use of the 1995-
2000 MHz band.27 The Commission explained that it based its determination on, among other things, the
asymmetrical nature of broadband traffic (with more downlink than uplink being used), the fact that any
limitations on AWS-4 were more than offset by the considerable increase in flexibility that the
Commission was providing AWS-4 licensees by granting them terrestrial use rights under the
Commission's Part 27 rules.28 In sum, the Commission stated that the AWS-4 technical rules would
enable both the AWS-4 band and the 1995-2000 MHz band to be used for providing flexible use services
in the most efficient manner possible.29
7.
In December 2012, the Commission adopted the H Block NPRM. Comments on the
H Block NPRM were due on February 6, 2013 and replies were due March 6, 2013. Fifteen comments
and seven replies were filed in response to the H Block NPRM. A list of commenters and reply
commenters can be found in Appendix C. In addition, as permitted under our rules, numerous ex parte
presentations have been submitted into the record.30

20 AWS-2 NPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 19299, 19304 91, 107.
21 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16260 5.
22 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. 07-195, 04-356, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd
9859 (2008) (2008 FNPRM).
23 2008 FNPRM, 23 FCC Rcd at 9860-61 4.
24 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16261 6; see e.g., Comments of AT&T Inc., WT Docket Nos. 07-195, 04-356 at
4-12 (filed July 25, 2008).
25 2008 FNPRM, 23 FCC Rcd at 9860-61 4.
26 See generally AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 16102.
27 Id. at 16127-45, 16157-61 64-100, 135-151.
28 See, e.g., id. at 16170-71, 16172-73 179, 184.
29 Id. at 16124, 16132-33 55, 71-72.
30 See 47 C.F.R. 1.1415(d); 47 C.F.R. 1.1200-1.1216.
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8.
As observed in the H Block NPRM, circumstances have changed in the years since the
Commission previously sought comment on the H Block spectrum bands.31 Wireless broadband
technologies and the wireless broadband industry have evolved considerably. Additionally, Congress
enacted the Spectrum Act. Accordingly, we provided notice that our determinations here would be based
solely on the record developed in response to the H Block NPRM, and we invited parties to re-file in this
docket earlier comments with any necessary updates.32

III.

DISCUSSION

9.
In this H Block Report and Order, we implement the Spectrum Act provisions pertaining
to the H Block and build upon recent Commission actions to increase the availability of spectrum for
wireless use by adopting rules to grant licenses for the H Block for terrestrial fixed and mobile use via a
system of competitive bidding. As explained below, we adopt H Block terrestrial service, technical, and
licensing rules that generally follow the Commission's Part 27 flexible use rules, modified as necessary to
account for issues unique to the H Block bands. Specifically, we take the following actions:
We find that the Commission's prior action to allocate the H Block for Fixed and Mobile use
satisfies the requirement of the Spectrum Act that we allocate this spectrum for commercial
use.
We find that we are required to adopt flexible use service rules for the H Block and that we
are required to license this spectrum using a system of competitive bidding, unless we
determine that either the 1915-1920 MHz band or the 1995-2000 MHz band cannot be used
without causing harmful interference to the broadband PCS downlink band at 1930-1995
MHz.
We find that, consistent with the technical rules we adopt, the use of both the 1915-1920
MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band can occur without causing harmful interference to
broadband PCS downlink operations at 1930-1995 MHz.
We adopt as the H Block band plan the 1915-1920 MHz band paired with the 1995-2000
MHz band, configured as 5 + 5 megahertz blocks, and licensed on an Economic Area (EA)
basis.
We adopt technical rules for the H Block, including rules governing the relationship of the H
Block bands to adjacent and nearby bands, with a particular focus on adopting rules for the
1915-1920 MHz band that protect operations in the broadband PCS band at 1930-1995, as
required by the Spectrum Act.
We adopt technical rules that authorize the 1915-1920 MHz band for mobile and low power
fixed operations (uplink) and the 1995-2000 MHz band for base and fixed operations
(downlink).
We adopt cost sharing rules that require H Block licensees to pay a pro rata share of
expenses previously incurred by UTAM, Inc. and by Sprint in clearing incumbents from the
1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band, respectively.
We adopt a variety of flexible use regulatory, licensing, and operating rules for H Block
licensees.
We adopt procedures to assign H Block licenses through a system of competitive bidding.

31 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16262 11.
32 Id.
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A.

Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz

10.
The Spectrum Act, among other requirements, provides that the Commission shall
allocate for commercial use and license using a system of competitive bidding the H Block no later than
February 23, 2015.33
11.
Section 6401(b) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 reads, in
parts pertinent, as follows:
SEC. 6401. DEADLINES FOR AUCTION OF CERTAIN SPECTRUM
* * *
(b) REALLOCATION AND AUCTION.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding paragraph (15)(A) of section309(j) of
the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), not later than 3 years
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall, except as
provided in paragraph (4)--
(A) allocate the spectrum described in paragraph (2) for commercial use;
and
(B) through a system of competitive bidding under such section, grant
new initial licenses for the use of such spectrum, subject to flexible-use
service rules.
(2) SPECTRUM DESCRIBED.--The spectrum described in this paragraph
is the following:
(A) The frequencies between 1915 megahertz and 1920 megahertz.
(B) The frequencies between 1995 megahertz and 2000 megahertz.
* * *
* * *
(4) DETERMINATION BY COMMISSION.--If the Commission
determines that the band of frequencies described in paragraph (2)(A) or the
band of frequencies described in paragraph (2)(B) cannot be used without
causing harmful interference to commercial mobile service licensees in the
frequencies between 1930 megahertz and 1995 megahertz, the Commission
may not--
(A) allocate such band for commercial use under paragraph (1)(A); or
(B) grant licenses under paragraph (1)(B) for the use of such band.
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Section 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b).
12.
To implement these requirements, in the H Block NPRM, the Commission sought
comment on the Spectrum Act's four main statutory elements relating to the H Block: (1) allocation for
commercial use; (2) flexible use; (3) assignment of licenses; and (4) a determination regarding
interference.34 Below, we address the relevant comments and discuss our conclusions.
1.

Allocation for Commercial Use

13.
Background. The Spectrum Act requires the Commission to allocate the H Block
spectrum bands, 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz, for commercial use.35 As the Commission

33 Spectrum Act, 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b).
34 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16263-66 13-21.
35 Spectrum Act, 6401(b)(1)(A), (b)(2)(A), (B), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(1)(A), (b)(2)(A), (B). This requirement is
subject to the harmful interference exception previously noted. See supra Section II. (Background), infra Section
(continued....)
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observed in the H Block NPRM, the Spectrum Act does not define the phrase, "allocate . . . for
commercial use."36 The Commission posited that the Spectrum Act requires us to make any necessary
changes to the Non-Federal Table of Allocations to reflect that the H Block bands could be used
commercially by, and licensed to, non-Federal entities under flexible use service rules unless the band
cannot be used without causing harmful interference to commercial mobile service licensees in the PCS
downlink band.37 The Commission observed that the H Block spectrum's pre-existing allocation was for
non-Federal, Fixed and Mobile use on a primary basis and designated for use in the commercial
PCS/AWS bands, and that this prior allocation appeared to be fully consistent with Section 6401 of the
Spectrum Act.38 The Commission sought comment on this tentative conclusion. In response,
commenters agreed with the Commission's tentative conclusion that the H Block's existing allocation met
the requirements of the Spectrum Act.39
14.
Discussion. We find that the existing allocation of the H Block for non-Federal Fixed
and Mobile use on a primary basis meets the "commercial use" allocation requirement of Section
6401(b)(1)(A) of the Spectrum Act. As the record indicates, the Commission has already allocated both
blocks of the H Block spectrum for non-Federal Fixed and Mobile use on a primary basis.40 Specifically,
in 2004, the Commission adopted the present spectrum pairing.41 Thus, no further action to allocate the H
Block spectrum bands for commercial use pursuant to the Spectrum Act is necessary.42
2.

Flexible Use

15.
Background. The Spectrum Act also requires the Commission to license the H Block
under flexible use service rules.43 In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed that any service rules
adopted for the H Block permit a licensee to employ the spectrum for any non-Federal use permitted by
the United States Table of Frequency Allocations,44 subject to our Part 27 flexible use and other
applicable rules, including service rules to avoid harmful interference.45 Thus, the Commission proposed
(Continued from previous page)
III.A.4. (Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz, Determination of No Harmful
Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band); Spectrum Act, 6401(b)(4), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(4).
36 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16263 14.
37 Id.
38 Id.
39 See AT&T Comments at 1-2; CCA Comments at 4-5; C Spire Comments at 3; MetroPCS Comments at 3.
40 See Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Service, Second Report
and Order,
8 FCC Rcd 7700 (1993) (reallocation including 1915-1920 MHz, originally unlicensed PCS);
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, IB Docket No. 99-81, Third Report and Order, Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and
Second Memorandum Opinion and Order
, 18 FCC Rcd 2223, 2238 28 (2003) (AWS Third Report and Order)
(reallocation including 1995-2000 MHz); 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, RM-9498, RM-10024, Sixth Report and
Order, Third Memorandum Opinion and Order, Fifth Memorandum Opinion and Order
, 19 FCC Rcd 20720, 20722
1 (2004) (AWS Sixth Report and Order).
41 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20736-40 30-40.
42 See, e.g., CCA Comments at 4-5; C Spire Comments at 3; CTIA Comments at 4-5; MetroPCS Comments at 6.
43 Spectrum Act, 6401(b)(1)(B), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(1)(B).
44 47 C.F.R. 2.106.
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the H Block may be used for any fixed or mobile service that is consistent with the allocations for the
band.46 Commenters uniformly supported this proposal.47
16.
Discussion. We adopt the Commission's proposal to license the H Block under flexible
use service rules. We find the Spectrum Act's direction on this matter clear and direct--we are required
to grant licenses "subject to flexible-use service rules."48 Accordingly, adopting the flexible use service
rules for the H Block, which we do in the sections below, will give effect to the legislative mandate.
Adoption of flexible use service rules, moreover, is consistent with prior congressional and Commission
actions that promote flexible spectrum allocations and the record before us.49 As CCA comments,
flexible use allows licensees to innovate and "rapidly respond to changing consumer demands for wireless
services . . . [and] encourage[s] the similarly timely deployment of innovative commercial wireless
services to the public."50
3.

Assignment of Licenses

17.
The Spectrum Act mandates that the Commission grant new initial licenses for the 1915-
1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands through a system of competitive bidding pursuant Section 309(j)
of the Communications Act.51 In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed applying competitive
bidding rules to resolve any mutually exclusive applications accepted for H Block licenses.52 Parties
uniformly supported the Commission's proposal to assign the H Block spectrum through a system of
competitive bidding. For example, MetroPCS voiced its support that the Commission was correctly
interpreting the Spectrum Act and that the H Block should be licensed through competitive bidding.53 We
agree and find that the Spectrum Act's requirement that we grant H Block licenses "through a system of
competitive bidding" clear and unambiguous. Thus, as detailed below, we adopt rules to govern the use
of a competitive bidding process for licensing the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands.54
4.

Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band

18.
The Spectrum Act states that the Commission may not allocate for commercial use or
license the H Block if the Commission "determines that" the H Block "cannot be used without causing
harmful interference to commercial mobile licensees" in the 1930-1995 MHz band (PCS downlink
band).55 Neither the Spectrum Act nor the Communications Act defines the term "harmful interference."
(Continued from previous page)
45 Part 27 licensees must also comply with other Commission rules of general applicability. See 47 C.F.R. 27.3;
see also infra Section III.E.6. (Regulatory Issues, Other Operating Requirements). In addition, flexible use in
international border areas is subject to any existing or future international agreements. See infra Section III.C.3.
(Canadian and Mexican Coordination).
46 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16264 16.
47 See CCA Comments at 5-6; MetroPCS Comments at 3-4; 6-8, U.S. Cellular Comments at 1.
48 Spectrum Act, 6401(b)(1)(B), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(1)(B).
49 E.g., CCA Comments at 5-6.
50 Id. at 6.
51 Spectrum Act, 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(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).
52 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16264-65 17.
53 MetroPCS Comments at 6.
54 See infra Section III.F. (Procedures for Any H Block Licenses Subject to Assignment by Competitive Bidding).
55 Spectrum Act, 6401(b)(4), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(4).
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In performing its statutory role to maximize the public interest in the spectrum, the Commission has
adopted a definition for this term, as well as for the unmodified term "interference." Commission rule
2.1(c) defines "interference" to mean "[t]he effect of unwanted energy due to one or a combination of
emissions, radiations, or inductions upon reception in a radiocommunication system, manifested by any
performance degradation, misinterpretation, or loss of information which could be extracted in the
absence of such unwanted energy." That same rule defines "harmful interference" to mean
"[i]nterference which endangers the functioning of a radionavigation service or of other safety services or
seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radiocommunication service operating in
accordance with [the International Telecommunications Union] Radio Regulations."56 In the H Block
NPRM
, the Commission proposed to use this definition of harmful interference in performing the analysis
required by the Spectrum Act.57 No party opposed the use of this definition.58
19.
We find it appropriate to use the Commission's existing definition of harmful
interference. We presume that Congress was aware of this rule, defining both interference and harmful
interference, when it crafted the Spectrum Act and used the term harmful interference. Because the
Spectrum Act offers no alternative to the Commission's pre-existing definition of harmful interference,
we believe it reasonable to conclude that Congress intended for it to apply to the situation here.59
Applying the existing definition of harmful interference to the Spectrum Act provision at issue, we find
that we may not allocate for commercial use or license the H Block if we determine that the H Block
cannot be used without causing serious degradation, obstruction, or repeated interruption to commercial
mobile licensees in the PCS downlink band. We further find that we need not set technical rules so
restrictive as to prevent all instances of interference, as opposed to harmful interference. Determining ex
ante
when operations in one band will seriously degrade, obstruct, or repeatedly interrupt operations in
another band necessarily involves the Commission examining the particular interference scenario that is
likely to arise and exercising its predictive judgment, which is entitled to deference.60 For example, in
1999, Congress adopted a statute that directed the Commission to "ensure that no facility [to be newly]
licensed or authorized under the [newly enacted Rural Local Broadcast Signal Act of 1999] . . . cause[]
harmful interference to the primary users of that spectrum."61 In determining technical rules to ensure
that the incumbent primary operators were not subject to harmful interference, the Commission
established interference parameters designed such that the presence of the new operators' signals "would
not be perceptible to the [incumbent operator's] customer in most cases."62 The D.C. Circuit found this

56 47 C.F.R. 2.1.
57 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16265 18.
58 47 C.F.R. 2.1.
59 See Hall v. U.S., 132 S.Ct. 1882, 1889 (2012) ("We assume that Congress is aware of existing law when it passes
legislation[.]" (internal quotation marks omitted)).
60 See Northpoint Technology, Ltd. v. FCC, 414 F.3d 61, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (deferring to the Commission's
interpretation of "harmful interference" as the phrase was applied under the Rural Local Broadcast Signal Act of
1999); see also American Radio Relay League, Inc. v. FCC, 524 F.3d 227, 233 (D.C. Cir. 2008) ("considerable
deference" on "highly technical question" involving harmful interference).
61 Rural Local Broadcast Signal Act of 1999, Pub L. No. 106113 2002(b)(2) (Nov. 29, 1999).
62 Amendment of Parts 2 and 25 of the Commission's Rules to Permit Operation of NGSO FSS Systems Co-
Frequency With GSO and Terrestrial Systems in the KU-Band Frequency Range, ET Docket No. 98-206, RM-9147,
RM-9245, Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd 9614, 9641 18 (2002),
Erratum, ET Docket No. 98-206, RM-9147, RM-9245 (rel. Jun. 4, 2002), Erratum, ET Docket No. 98-206, RM-
9147, RM-9245 (rel. Jun. 7, 2002), Erratum, ET Docket No. 98-206, RM-9147, RM-9245 (rel. Aug. 14, 2002), and
Erratum, ET Docket No. 98-206, RM-9147, RM-9245 (rel. Sep. 17, 2004), aff'd, Northpoint Technology, Ltd. v.
FCC
, 414 F.3d 61 (D.C. Cir. 2005); see also Aircell, Inc. Petition, Pursuant to Section 7 of the Act, for a Waiver of
the Airborne Cellular Rule, or, in the Alternative, for a Declaratory Ruling, Order on Remand, 18 FCC 1926, 1935-
(continued....)
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"qualitative requirement" to represent a reasonable application of the Commission's harmful interference
definition.63 In this similar statutory circumstance, we now establish technical rules (below) for the H
Block that will permit use of this block without causing harmful interference (although not necessarily
eliminating all interference) to PCS downlink operations.
a.

Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz

20.
Background. The Commission allocated the 1995-2000 MHz band for fixed and mobile
use in 2003.64 In 2004, this spectrum was designated for PCS/AWS base station operations and the
Commission proposed service rules.65 Before the H Block NPRM in December 2012, no party had filed
technical data or analysis indicating that base station operations in the Upper H Block would cause
harmful interference to licensees in the PCS downlink band. Accordingly, in the H Block NPRM, the
Commission tentatively concluded that base station operations in the Upper H Block posed no likelihood
of harmful interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band and that licensing of the Upper H
Block could proceed.66
21.
Discussion. In light of the technical rules we impose on operations in the Upper H Block,
described below, we conclude that operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band will not cause harmful
interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. The rules we adopt herein determine the
Upper H Block will be used for base station (i.e., downlink) transmissions.67 As the 1930-1995 MHz
PCS band is used for downlink transmissions, the 1995-2000 MHz band, in many respects, will operate as
an extension of the PCS band. As explained below, in contrast to an uplink band adjacent to a downlink
band, similarly used bands (i.e., downlink next to downlink) generally do not raise difficult interference
scenarios.68 More specifically, the technical rules we adopt include power limits and OOBE limits for
operations in the Upper H Block that are comparable to limits already imposed upon PCS licensees
governing the transmission of electromagnetic signals into adjacent PCS bands to prevent harmful
interference. As the technical rules we impose for the Upper H Block reflect similar technical constraints
as the existing PCS rules--and these rules have allowed robust service to develop in these bands--we
find no basis to conclude that the 1995-2000 MHz band "cannot be used without causing harmful
interference" to PCS downlink operators at 1930-1995 MHz.69 Additionally, in response to the H Block
NPRM
, no commenters raised concerns about the potential for harmful interference from the Upper H
Block into the 1930-1995 MHz band. In sum, because the 1995-2000 MHz band is adjacent to another
downlink band, the technical rules we adopt are comparable to the existing PCS rules for preventing
harmful interference and the record demonstrates no concern for harmful interference from the 1995-2000
MHz band into PCS operations in 1930-1995 MHz, we determine the Upper H Block can be allocated for
commercial use, assigned via a system of competitive bidding, and licensed subject to flexible use service
rules without causing harmful interference to PCS pursuant to the Spectrum Act.
(Continued from previous page)
36 22 (2003) (a transmission that is "measurable with sensitive test instruments, . . . [but] would likely go
unnoticed by the average caller" would be indicative of interference, but not of harmful interference); aff'd, AT&T
Wireless Services, Inc. v. FCC
, 365 F.3d 1095 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
63 Northpoint, 414 F.3d at 69-71.
64 AWS Third Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 2223; see also H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16265 19.
65 See AWS-2 NPRM, 19 FCC Rcd 19263.
66 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16265 19.
67 See infra Section III.B. (Band Plan); Section III.C.1. (Technical Issues, Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz).
68 See infra Section III.C. (Technical Issues).
69 See infra Section III.C.1. (Technical Issues, Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz).
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b.

Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz

22.
Background. In designating the 1915-1920 MHz band for PCS/AWS mobile operations
in 2004, the Commission concluded that any harmful interference from the Lower H Block to the PCS
downlink band (i.e., 1930-1995 MHz) could be addressed through service and technical rules.70
Subsequently, in the H Block NPRM, the Commission tentatively concluded that it would be possible to
license the Lower H Block under flexible service rules without causing harmful interference to
commercial mobile licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band.71 Acknowledging the prior concerns with
mobile operations in 1915-1920 MHz, the Commission sought comment on the proposed band plan and
service rules, and it specifically sought technical analysis on the potential for harmful interference into the
PCS downlink band.72 In response, parties submitted four technical studies and offered numerous
comments discussing the potential for harmful interference from Lower H Block operations into
operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band.73 As detailed below, commenters suggest that, with appropriate
technical rules, deployment in the Lower H Block can occur without causing harmful interference to the
1930-1995 MHz PCS band.74
23.
Discussion. We adopt the Commission's tentative conclusion set forth in the H Block
NPRM, and determine that operations in the 1915-1920 MHz band, subject to appropriate technical rules,
will not cause harmful interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. As we explain below,
in designating the Lower H Block for uplink use, we must address the issue of uplink spectrum in close
frequency proximity to the downlink spectrum in the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band. Our analysis is based
on our prior findings with respect to similar services, our experience evaluating the probabilistic nature of
mobile-to-mobile interference, and our evaluation of the technical studies submitted into the record that
examine this specific scenario. Notably, the proponents of these studies acknowledge that the
interference scenario at issue--namely, mobile-to-mobile interference between mobile transmitters
operating in the Lower H Block and mobile receivers operating in the PCS downlink band--is inherently
a probabilistic one.75 That is, a number of low probability events all need to occur before an actual Lower
H Block transmission would seriously degrade, obstruct, or repeatedly interrupt the ability of the PCS
mobile device to receive the PCS signal. As such, the rules we establish below are designed to prevent
harmful interference. These rules are not, nor could they reasonably be, designed to prevent all possible
instances of interference generally. In sum, we find the technical rules we adopt below will enable
commercial use of the Lower H Block without causing harmful interference to PCS operations in the
1930-1995 MHz band.76 Accordingly, we find no basis to conclude that the 1915-1920 MHz band
"cannot be used without causing harmful interference" to PCS downlink operators at 1930-1995 MHz.77
We therefore determine, consistent with our findings above, that the Lower H Block can be allocated for

70 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20732-36 22-29.
71 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16265-66 20.
72 Id.
73 While technical studies were filed, no party submitted cost data.
74 See infra Section III.C.2. (Technical Issues, Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz).
75 See infra Section III.C.2. (Technical Issues, Lower H Block: 1915-1920); see also Sprint Reply at 11; Letter from
Tamara Preiss, Vice President Federal Regulatory Affairs, Verizon Wireless, to Marlene H. Dortch, Sec'y, Federal
Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 12-357, at 2 (filed Apr. 18, 2013) (Verizon Wireless April 18
Letter).
76 See infra Section III.C.2. (Technical Issues, Lower H Block: 1915-1920).
77 See supra Section III.A.4. (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band).
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commercial use, assigned via a system of competitive bidding, and licensed subject to flexible use service
rules pursuant to the Spectrum Act.78

B.

Band Plan

24.
Band plans establish parameters and provide licensees with certainty as to the spectrum
they are authorized to use. Here, Congress has identified the H Block bands--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz--as the frequencies for the band plan.79 To establish the specific band plan for these
frequencies, the Commission must determine the block configuration, whether to license the blocks on a
geographic area basis and, if so, the appropriate service area.80 In the H Block NPRM, the Commission
proposed licensing the H Block as paired 5 megahertz blocks, with the Upper H Block used for high
power base stations and the Lower H Block used for mobile and low power fixed operations.81 The
Commission also proposed licensing the H Block on a geographic licensing scheme based on Economic
Areas (EAs).82 Finally, the Commission also sought comment on how best to license spectrum in the
Gulf of Mexico.83 The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including on their associated
costs and benefits.84
25.
In the band plan detailed below, based on the record before us, we adopt the H Block
band plan of 1915-1920 MHz paired with 1995-2000 MHz, configured as 5 + 5 megahertz blocks, and
will license the H Block on an EA basis, including for the Gulf of Mexico. 85 In so doing, we find that
1915-1920 MHz shall be used for mobile and low power fixed (i.e., uplink) operations and 1995-2000
MHz shall be used for base station and fixed (i.e., downlink) operations.
PCS Uplink
PCS Downlink
MSS
H UPCS
H
AWS-4
J
Uplink
A
D
B
E F
C
G
A
D
B
E F
C
G
1850
1915 1920 1930
1995
2000
2020 2025
Frequencies in MHz
1.

Block Configuration

26.
Background. In 2004, the Commission designated the H Block for licensed fixed and
mobile services, including advanced wireless services.86 The Commission further decided to pair 1915-
1920 MHz with 1995-2000 MHz because it found that doing so would promote efficient use of the

78 Consequently, we reject Savari's proposal that we make the 1915-1920 MHz band a combination unlicensed PCS
(UPCS) and licensed low power band. See Savari Comments at 14; infra Section III.B.1. (Band Plan, Block
Configuration).
79 Spectrum Act 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b); see also infra Section III.A. (Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-
1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz).
80 See generally AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16112 26.
81 Id. at 16266-67 23-25.
82 Id. at 16267-68 26-31.
83 Id. at 16268 32.
84 Id. at 16266-67 23-25.
85 Id. at 16266-68 22-31.
86 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 20720.
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spectrum and allow for the introduction of commercial wireless mobile and fixed services.87 The
Commission also observed that it would be advantageous to use the Lower H Block for low power or
mobile operations as the adjacent 1910-1915 MHz band is used by PCS mobile operations, and that high
power base stations in the band could result in harmful interference to operations in the PCS band.88
27.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission observed there was no apparent reason to alter
the proposed pairing or use of the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands.89 To ensure the PCS
bands were adequately protected from harmful interference due to operations in the Lower H Block, the
Commission also proposed to prohibit high power base station operations in 1915-1920 MHz.90 In
response to these proposals, commenters generally supported the Commission's goal of maintaining the
pairing of the H Block spectrum and the designated uplink/downlink bands. Additionally, some
commenters addressed the Commission's inquiry for alternative configurations of the H Block, which we
discuss below. No party presented cost or benefit data in support of its position.
28.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal to maintain the pairing of 1915-1920 MHz with
1995-2000 MHz. In doing so, we observe that Congress, in enacting the Spectrum Act and directing us to
license these bands, did not express disagreement with the Commission's earlier determination to pair
these bands.91 We find this approach in the public interest and find that the benefits of this approach
likely outweigh any potential costs. As several commenters discuss, pairing the lower and upper portions
of the H Block will promote the efficient use of this spectrum and allow for the proliferation of wireless
services.92 In addition, consistent with the record, we expect that adopting the paired spectrum band plan
will facilitate the deployment of wireless fixed and mobile services in rural areas.93 Further, by licensing
the H Block as a paired band, we allay the concerns some commenters expressed about the risk of a
stranded, standalone block of spectrum that may be unsuitable for mobile broadband use.94
29.
Additionally, configuring the H Block as a 5 + 5 megahertz band will allow for flexibility
and efficiency in the deployment of wireless services and technologies. Five megahertz blocks can
support a variety of wireless broadband technologies. While we do not prescribe a specific technology
for use in the H Block, we expect that most users of the band will deploy 4G or 3G Frequency Division
Duplex (FDD) technologies. Various globally-standardized technologies, including Wideband-Code
Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA), High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), and their variants, use 5 + 5
megahertz paired blocks when deployed as FDD.95 Long Term Evolution (LTE),96 which commenters

87 Id. at 20740 41.
88 AWS-2 NPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 19303-04 106-08.
89 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16267 25.
90 Id.
91 See Spectrum Act, Section 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b); AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20723 3.
92 See, e.g., CCA Comments at 11-12, MetroPCS Comments at 8-9, RTG Comments at 2.
93 RTG Comments at 2.
94 See DISH Comments at 20; AT&T Reply at 9.
95 W-CDMA is commonly used to refer to the UTRA (Universal Terrestrial Radio Access) air interface used by
UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems) networks. It is defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership
Project (3GPP) starting in the initial release, R99, through the fourth release, R4. HSPA refers to the addition of a
high-speed shared data channel to UTRA, defined in 3GPP R5 and subsequent releases. HSPA+ refers to additional
enhancements to HSPA defined in 3GPP R7 and subsequent releases. See 3GPP release descriptions for R99
through R10, available at http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Information/WORK_PLAN/Description_Releases (last visited
June 20, 2013). WCDMA and HSPA are generally considered 3G technologies, while HSPA+ has been marketed as
4G. See, e.g. 4G Americas, Understanding 1G vs. 2G vs. 3g vs. 4G,
http://www.4gamericas.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&sectionid=361 (last visited June 20, 2013); Gizmodo, The
(continued....)
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indicate is the most likely technology to be deployed in the H Block in the near term,97 supports a variety
of block sizes, including multiples of 5 megahertz.98 Thus, as C Spire comments, adopting a 5 + 5
megahertz band plan allows an operator using today's LTE technology to deploy in the band.99
30.
In adopting this band plan, we also adopt the proposal to prohibit high powered fixed and
base station operations in the Lower H band, i.e., 1915-1920 MHz. Limiting base station operations to
the 1995-2000 MHz band will reduce the potential for harmful interference to PCS operations.100
Because the PCS spectrum immediately proximate to the Lower H Block is used for mobile operations, a
high powered signal emanating from 1915-1920 MHz, such as from a base station, may cause harmful
interference due to receiver overload. As we discuss below and have concluded previously, the power
limits necessary to avoid this potential problem preclude the use of base stations in this band.101
Therefore, based on the record before us, we determine the 1915-1920 MHz band will be used for mobile
operations (uplink) and the 1995-2000 MHz band will be used for base station operations (downlink).
31.
Alternatives. Our decision today to pair 1915-1920 MHz band with the 1995-2000 MHz
band moots concerns that some commenters have raised regarding the possibility of either band standing
alone.102 Specifically, by pairing these two spectrum bands together, neither the Lower H Block nor
Upper H Block will become a standalone "stranded" five megahertz block.103 In addition, we find it
unnecessary to address Savari's suggestion that, as part of its plan to have the Commission license the H
Block as a low power guard manager band, the Commission permit the H Block licensee to partner the
1915-1920 MHz band with unlicensed PCS channels in the adjacent 1920-1930 MHz band.104 Because
we decline to adopt Savari's predicate proposal that the H Block be licensed under a low power guard
band manager approach,105 we need not reach the issue of "partnership" with adjacent UPCS channels.
(Continued from previous page)
Dirty Secret of Today's 4G: It's Not 4G, http://gizmodo.com/5680755/the-dirty-secret-of-todays-4g-its-not-4g (last
visited June 20, 2013).
96 LTE refers to the addition of a new air interface, E-UTRA (Enhanced Universal Terrestrial Access), to 3GPP in
R8 and subsequent releases. E-UTRA is based on OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access), and
is oriented towards providing high speed data services. It supports a purely packet-switched interface, without
legacy circuit-switched voice, and is generally capable of higher speeds than HSPA. As of 3GPP release 10, LTE is
generally considered to be 4G technology. 4G Americas, Understanding 1G vs. 2G vs. 3g vs. 4G,
http://www.4gamericas.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&sectionid=361 (last visited June 20, 2013).
97 AT&T Comments at 6 ("the industry has coalesced around LTE as the emerging mobile broadband standard), 8
("the H Block likely will be used for LTE"); Sprint Reply at 10 ("the wireless industry has coalesced around LTE as
the emerging mobile broadband standard and the standard likely to be adopted in the H Block").
98 The LTE air interface (E-UTRA) is scalable in the sense that a number of different channel sizes can be easily
supported in one device. LTE supports channel sizes of 1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20 megahertz. However, the 1.4 and 3
megahertz channel sizes are not widely deployed. Given that the H Block is a 5 + 5 megahertz band plan, the band
cannot support deployment of LTE channel sizes greater than 5 megahertz. See 3rd Generation Partnership Project
(3GPP) Specification Detail, RF Standard for Handsets, Table 5.6.1-1 at 23, available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/36101.htm (TS 36.101 v10.7.0, generated on June 20, 2013) (last visited
June 20, 2013) (3GPP RF Standard for Handsets).
99 C Spire Comments at 4-5.
100 Sprint Comments at 8.
101 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20732-36 22-29; see also Section III.C. (Technical Section).
102 See Dish Comments at 20; AT&T Reply at 9.
103 See DISH Comments at 20; AT&T Reply at 9.
104 Savari Comments at 15.
105 See supra n.78 (rejecting Savari's guard band manager proposal).
15

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32.
Interoperability. As discussed below, the H Block spectrum is adjacent to the PCS
spectrum and the technical rules we adopt for the H Block would permit the H Block effectively to be
operated as an extension of the PCS band.106 The Commission historically has been interested in
promoting interoperability, beginning with the licensing of cellular spectrum.107 Although the
Commission did not adopt a rule to require band-wide interoperability for PCS, it stressed the importance
of interoperability by acknowledging industry efforts to establish voluntary interoperability standards.108
We continue to believe that interoperability is an important aspect of future deployment of mobile
broadband services and generally serves the public interest. We note that no party has requested that we
impose an interoperability requirement here to further the public interest. We strongly encourage all
stakeholders in this ecosystem to develop new equipment in a manner that promotes, rather than hinders,
interoperability. We intend to closely monitor the development of the equipment market in the H block
and neighboring PCS band as well as other future developments in this band in order to assess whether
additional action will need to be taken to promote interoperability.109
2.

Service Area

a.

Geographic Area Licensing

33.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt a geographic
area licensing approach for the H Block, reasoning that such an approach is well-suited for the types of
fixed and mobile services that would likely be deployed in these bands.110
34.
Discussion. We adopt a geographic area licensing scheme for the H Block for the
reasons that the Commission articulated in the H Block NPRM, namely that it is well-suited for the types
of fixed and mobile services that we expect to be deployed in the H Block and will maintain consistency
with numerous other bands.111 Given the record before us,112 we conclude that this approach is in the

106 See infra Section III.C.4. (Technical Issues, Other Technical Issues) (permitting unified PCS and H Block
operations).
107 See Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket No. 12-69, Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, 27 FCC Rcd 3521, 3530-31 17 (2012); 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. 79318, Report & Order, 86 FCC 2d 469, 482
(1981) (Cellular Report and Order). The Commission adopted band-wide interoperability requirements for cellular
service. Id.
108 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) ("The 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."). In the Broadband PCS proceeding, the Commission also stated that if PCS technology did not
develop in a manner to accommodate roaming and interoperability, it might consider "what actions the Commission
may take to facilitate the more rapid development of appropriate standards." Id. at 5022 164.
109 We observe that the Commission is investigating interoperability issues in other contexts. See Promoting
Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket No. 12-69, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27
FCC Rcd 3521 (2012); Incentive Auctions NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 12401-02, 12412, 12415-16 124-25, 151,
160-65.
110 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16267 26.
111 Id. at 16267 26 (citing 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, 25174 30 (2003) (AWS-1 Report and Order)); 47
C.F.R. 24.202 (geographic service areas for Broadband PCS), 27.6(b),(h) (geographic service areas for
Commercial 700 MHz and AWS-1, respectively); AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 48 (geographic
service areas in AWS-4).
16

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public interest and that the benefits of geographic area licensing likely outweigh any potential costs. We
find it particularly significant that geographic area licensing in the H Block is consistent with the
Commission's licensing approach for other similar commercial bands, including AWS-1, Broadband
PCS, Commercial 700 MHz, and AWS-4.113 As the Commission has observed in the past, geographic
licensing also carries many additional benefits, including: (1) providing licensees with substantial
flexibility to respond to market demand, which results in significant improvements in spectrum utilization
and allows new and innovative technologies to rapidly develop; (2) permitting economies of scale
because licensees can coordinate usage across an entire geographic area to maximize spectrum use; and
(3) reducing regulatory burdens and transaction costs because wide-area licensing does not require site-
by-site approval, thus allowing a licensee to aggregate its service territories without incurring the
administrative costs and delays associated with site-by-site licensing.114 Further, geographic area
licensing in the H Block will allow the Commission to assign initial licenses through a system of
competitive bidding in accordance with the Spectrum Act.115 Finally, we observe that the record supports
geographic area licensing for the H Block, which no commenter has opposed.116
b.

Service Area Size

35.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to license the H Block on
an Economic Area (EA) basis.117 The Commission sought comment on this approach and asked
commenters to discuss and quantify the economic, technical, and other public interest considerations of
any particular geographic licensing scheme for this band, as well as the impact that any such scheme
would have on rural service and competition.118 Alternatively, the Commission sought comment on
nationwide licensing for the H Block, including whether it would maximize or limit the opportunity for
licensees to provide the widest array of services and would provide the necessary incentives to expand
existing technologies and create new ones.119 The Commission requested that commenters compare the
advantages and disadvantages of nationwide licensing to those of EA licensing.120 Further, the
Commission sought comment on licensing areas smaller than EAs for the H Block, including whether it
would facilitate use by smaller and rural operators and whether the benefits of such an approach would
outweigh the potential diseconomies of scale.121 Finally, the Commission requested comment on whether
there are any other geographic licensing methods for the H Block that would better meet the
Commission's goals.122
(Continued from previous page)
112 MetroPCS Comments at 9.
113 47 C.F.R. 24.202 (Broadband PCS), 27.6(b), (h), (i) (Commercial 700 MHz, AWS-1, and AWS-4,
respectively).
114 See AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25174 31.
115 Spectrum Act 6401.
116 MetroPCS Comments at 9.
117 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16267-68 29.
118 Id.
119 Id. at 16268 30.
120 Id.
121 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16268 31.
122 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16268 31.
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36.
Comments on the proposal were mixed.123 Some commenters, including both small and
large carriers, supported EA-based licensing,124 while other commenters opposed EAs and advocated
license areas smaller than EAs.125 While one commenter supported either nationwide or large regional
(i.e., Major Economic Areas) licenses,126 several other commenters opposed such a licensing scheme.127
One party also supported "roadway or highway license[s]."128 No party, however, provided cost or
benefit data to support its position.
37.
Discussion. We will license the H Block on an EA basis. As explained below, licensing
based on EAs has been used for similar bands and is a useful and appropriate geographic approach.129 We
believe that licensing the H Block on an EA basis will help us to meet several statutory goals, including
providing for the efficient use of spectrum;130 encouraging deployment of wireless broadband services to
consumers;131 and promoting investment in and rapid deployment of new technologies and services.132
Given the record before us, we conclude that licensing the H Block on an EA basis is in the public interest
and that the benefits of this approach likely outweigh any potential costs.
38.
We believe that licensing on an EA-basis strikes the appropriate balance in license size
for this band. We find it particularly significant that the two bands adjacent to the H Block, PCS G Block
and AWS-4, are licensed on an EA basis.133 As the record indicates, adopting the same size geographic
area as is used in adjacent bands may encourage rapid deployment in and use of the spectrum. Thus, to
the extent that licensees for either of those bands ultimately obtain licenses for the H Block, EAs may
present opportunities for efficiencies that other geographic license sizes would not offer.134 For example,
AT&T states that EA-based licensing here would be consistent with the Commission's adoption of EA-
based licensing in other spectrum bands that will likely be used for mobile broadband.135 Sprint,
moreover, states that the consistent use of EA-based licensing in PCS, AWS-4, and now H Block will
encourage quick deployment in the H Block spectrum.136
39.
We also believe that licensing this band using EAs will facilitate access to spectrum for
both small and large carriers. We believe that it will facilitate access by smaller carriers because EAs are
small enough to provide spectrum access opportunities to such carriers. At the same time, EAs are large

123 See AT&T Comments at 7-8; CCA Comments at 12-14; C Spire Comments at 5-6; MetroPCS Comments at 8-
11; RTG Comments at 2-6; RTG Reply at 2-3; Savari Comments at 16; Sprint Reply at 14; T-Mobile Comments at
7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 4-6.
124 See AT&T Comments at 7-8; CCA Comments at 12-14; C Spire Comments at 5-6; MetroPCS Comments at 8-
11; Sprint Reply at 14; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
125 RTG Comments at 2-6; RTG Reply at 2-3; U.S. Cellular Comments at 4-6.
126 See Savari Comments at 16.
127 See MetroPCS Comments at 11-12; RTG Comments at 2-3; RTG Reply at 3-4; U.S. Cellular Comments at 6.
128 Savari Comments at 17.
129 47 C.F.R. 27.6(b)(2)(i), (c)(1), (h)(2), (i); see also 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c).
130 See 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(3)(D).
131 See 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(3)(A).
132 See generally 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(4)(C)(iii).
133 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16121-22 49-50; 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c).
134 Sprint Reply at 14.
135 AT&T Comments at 7-8; see also 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c); 47 C.F.R. 27.6(i).
136 Sprint Reply at 14; see also 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c); 47 C.F.R. 27.6(i).
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enough that large carriers can aggregate them up to larger license areas, including into Major Economic
Areas (MEAs) and Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAGs), thus achieving economies of scale.137
40.
Several commenters supported EA-based licensing.138 For example, as stated above,
AT&T and Sprint support EA-based licensing because this band is adjacent to other bands that have been
licensed on an EA-basis. MetroPCS explains that EA-based licensing helps to ensure that the bidder that
most highly values the spectrum in a particular area acquires that license.139 C Spire argues that EA-
based licensing would "allow for efficient geographic aggregation of licenses.140 And CCA asserts there
are numerous advantages to EA-based licensing, including that it provides "rural and regional carriers
[with] reasonable opportunities to bid."141
41.
Other commenters opposed EAs as either too large or too small. Commenters proposing
smaller geographic license areas advocated for Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), including both
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Rural Service Areas (RSAs).142 They argued that small and
rural carriers cannot afford EAs143 and that, because EAs include both urban and rural areas, large carriers
that purchase EAs can focus their buildout efforts on urban centers to the detriment of rural customers.144
Another commenter argued that that the H Block should be licensed on a larger-than-EA basis either on a
nationwide basis or on a Major Economic Area (MEA).145
42.
On balance, we are not persuaded that we should adopt geographic license areas smaller
or larger than EAs. Rather, we find that--for the H Block--licensing the spectrum on an EA basis best
balances the Commission's public interest goals of encouraging widespread geographic buildout
(including in rural areas) and providing licensees with sufficient flexibility to scale their networks. We
find this particularly so because, as explained above, EA-based licensing will make H Block consistent
with two adjacent bands.146 Moreover, we note that CMAs do not "nest" easily into EAs, which could
make it more difficult for licensees to aggregate license areas to match the neighboring bands. Finally, to
the extent that an entity desires to obtain access to H Block spectrum for less than an EA geographic area,
secondary market transactions (e.g. partitioning) offer a possible way to obtain such access.
43.
Finally, we observe that Savari argues that, if the FCC adopts EA-based licensing, it
should issue "roadway licenses" that cover highways and areas near highways; areas that, it implies, may
lie between EAs.147 We disagree. To the extent that this commenter suggests that the FCC should issue
roadway licenses between EAs, we are not aware of geographic areas that exist between EAs. More
generally, we believe that EA, rather than roadway, licenses will lead to more widespread service to
consumers in this band. Further, we believe the public interest lies in covering as much area as possible

137 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16122 50.
138 See AT&T Comments at 7-8; CCA Comments at 12-14; C Spire Comments at 5-6; MetroPCS Comments
at 8-11; Sprint Reply at 14-15.
139 MetroPCS Comments at 9-12.
140 C Spire Comments at 5-6.
141 CCA Comment at 13.
142 RTG Comments at 2-6; RTG Reply at 2-3; U.S. Cellular Comments at 4-6.
143 RTG Comments at 2-3; Broadband Properties Corp. Comments.
144 RTG Comments at 3, 8; RTG Reply at 2; U.S. Cellular Comments at 5; Broadband Properties Corp. Comments.
145 See Savari Comments at 16-17.
146 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c) (PCS G Block licensed on EA-basis), 27.6(j) (AWS-4 licensed on an EA basis); supra
Section III.B.2. (Band Plan, Service Area); see AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16122-23 49-50.
147 Savari Comments at 17.
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given the economics of the band. In many cases, even in very rural areas, this may extend beyond
roadways.
3.

Licensing the Gulf of Mexico

44.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether and, if so, how to
license the Gulf of Mexico.148 The Commission sought comment on whether the Gulf should be included
as part of larger service areas, or whether the Gulf should be licensed separately.149
45.
We will license the H Block for the Gulf of Mexico. We find it appropriate to follow
Commission precedent from the AWS-1 and AWS-4 bands, both of which licensed the Gulf as a separate
EA license.150 Moreover, the only party who commented on this issue supports the proposal to make
available an EA license for the Gulf.151 Finally, we determine to apply the existing definition of the Gulf
of Mexico EA contained in Section 27.6 of the Commission rules when licensing the Gulf.152
Specifically, the Gulf of Mexico service area is comprised of the water area of the Gulf of Mexico starting
12 nautical miles from the U.S. Gulf coast and extending outward.153

C.

Technical Issues

46.
Pursuant to the statutory direction of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the
Commission adopts rules for commercial spectrum in a manner that furthers and maximizes the public
interest. Notably, when developing policies for a particular band, the Commission looks at other bands
that might be affected, particularly the adjacent bands. Consequently, the Commission must often
balance competing interests of adjacent bands, and potentially competing public interest considerations,
when crafting rules. Because the rules for one band, particularly the interference protection rules, affect
the use and value of other bands and thus the public interest benefits that can be realized through the use
of those adjacent bands, we take a holistic view when establishing the technical rules for each spectrum
band.
47.
In this section, we adopt the technical operating rules (e.g., interference rules) that will
govern H Block operations and licensees. In general, our aim in establishing technical rules is to
maximize the flexible use of spectrum while appropriately protecting operations in neighboring bands.
Here, we also specifically consider our statutory obligations set forth in the Spectrum Act with respect to
the 1930-1995 MHz broadband PCS band, which specifically requires us to determine whether either of
the H Block bands "cannot be used without causing harmful interference to commercial mobile service
licensees in the [1930-1995 MHz PCS band]."154
48.
We base the technical rules we adopt below on the rules for the AWS and PCS spectrum
bands, which have similar characteristics to the H Block and that we therefore expect would permit
optimal use of the H Block by its licensees. In applying these rules to the H Block, we specifically adopt
rules to adequately protect operations in adjacent bands, including the existing 1930-1995 MHz
broadband PCS downlink band155 and the 2000-2020 MHz AWS-4 uplink band.156 Finally, given the

148 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16268 32.
149 Id.
150 See, e.g., AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25177 40; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 51;
47 C.F.R. 27.6(h)(2), (i) (AWS-1 and AWS-4, respectively).
151 AT&T Comments at 7-8.
152 47 C.F.R. 27.6.
153 47 C.F.R. 27.6(a)(2), (c)(2)(ii).
154 Spectrum Act 6401(b), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b).
155 See supra Section III.C. (Technical Issues).
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record before us and the analyses provided below, we conclude that the benefits of the technical rules we
adopt herein likely outweigh any potential costs.
1.

Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz

49.
The Upper H Block is immediately above the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, which is
subject to the Spectrum Act's harmful interference provision.157 The PCS band currently is used for base
station transmit/mobile receive (i.e., downlink) purposes. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission
tentatively concluded that operating base stations in 1995-2000 MHz would be compatible with similar
use of the spectrum in the 1930-1995 MHz band, and that more restrictive technical standards than those
established for other AWS stations in similar bands would be unnecessary to protect the PCS band from
harmful interference.158 No technical concerns were raised in the record about interference between the
Upper H Block and PCS base stations operating below 1995 MHz.159 As stated above, the 1995-2000
MHz Upper H band will serve as downlink spectrum and is thus compatible with adjacent downlink
operations below the band.
50.
The Upper H Block is also situated immediately below the 2000-2020 MHz band, which
is allocated on a co-primary basis for Fixed, Mobile, and Mobile Satellite (Earth-to-space, i.e., for mobile
transmit/satellite or base station receive),160 and is licensed for both Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) and
AWS-4 terrestrial wireless services.161 The Commission recently adopted service rules that permit use of
the 2000-2020 MHz band for terrestrial mobile-to-base (uplink) transmissions.162 In so doing, the
Commission concluded that certain protections were needed to avoid harmful interference between the
Upper H Block and 2000-2020 MHz band.163 Having weighed various public interest considerations, the
Commission imposed certain limited power restrictions and out-of-band emission (OOBE) limits on
AWS-4 uplinks to preserve the capability for full flexible use of the Upper H Block.164 Additionally, the
Commission concluded that 2 GHz MSS operators and AWS-4 licensees must accept harmful
interference from future, lawful operations in the Upper H Block due to either Upper H Block OOBEs
into the 2000-2005 MHz portion of the AWS-4 uplink band or to Upper H Block in-band power (receiver
overload) into the AWS-4 uplink band.165 DISH Network Corp.'s (DISH) AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS
subsidiaries accepted the Order of Proposed Modification, which accompanied the AWS-4 Report and
(Continued from previous page)
156 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16112-23, 16160-61 26-51, 149-151.
157 See Spectrum Act 6401(b)(4), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(4).
158 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16269 34.
159 In again proposing the Upper H Block be designated for base station operations, the Commission also observed
that the record in response similar proposals in earlier Commission notices generated no disagreement with such an
approach. H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16266-67, 69 23-25, 34.
160 47 C.F.R. 2.106; 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, ET
Docket No. 10-142, Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5710, 5714 8 (2011).
161 Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands, 28 FCC Rcd
1276, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Order of Modification, 28 FCC Rcd 1276, 1277,
1278 4, 6 (IB/Sat. Div. & WTB/Broadband Div., Feb. 15, 2013) (AWS-4 Order of Modification).
162 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16116 33.
163 Id. at 16117, 16135-39, 16157-58 37, 80-85.
164 Id. at 16135-39, 16157-58 80-85, 136-39. An OOBE limit generally refers to a requirement that emissions
outside of a licensee's assigned spectrum block or in a range of frequencies outside of that block be attenuated
below the transmitter power by at least a specified amount.
165 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16160-61 149-51.
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Order and which, thus, included these requirements.166 Commission staff subsequently issued an Order
of Modification
and issued modified licenses.167 Nothing in our discussion below is intended to revisit
these determinations.
a.

Upper H Block Power Limits

51.
We adopt transmitter power limits for the Upper H Block that will maximize the full
flexible use of the spectrum while ensuring against harmful interference to adjacent PCS operations and,
in the case of the AWS-4 band, adequately protecting adjacent operations due to receiver overload.
Receiver overload may result when signals outside of the receiver's nominal bandwidth cause the receiver
to experience an increased noise level168 or produce non-linear responses. In setting power limits, we
balance the power necessary to ensure successful communication in the band against the level of
interference that adjacent services can tolerate based on their operational needs and the public interests
served. In doing so here, we ensure against harmful interference to the adjacent PCS band and, in the
case of the adjacent AWS-4 band, set a power limit necessary to ensure successful communication by H
Block licensees based on the public interest balancing the Commission established in the AWS-4 Report
and Order
.169
52.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed and sought comment on
adopting the standard base station power limits applicable to AWS and PCS stations.170 These power
limits are 1640 watts equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) for emissions with less than a 1 MHz
channel bandwidth and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz in non-rural areas. In rural
areas, i.e., counties with population densities of 100 persons or fewer per square mile, the power limits are
3280 watts EIRP for emissions with less than a 1 MHz channel bandwidth and 3280 watts/MHz EIRP for
emissions greater than 1 MHz.171 The AWS and PCS rules also require providers operating in excess of
the 1640 watts/1640 watts/MHz EIRP to coordinate with adjacent block licensees within 120 km.172
Except as detailed below, commenters generally supported these proposed power limits.173
53.
Discussion. For H Block operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, we adopt a power limit
for operations in non-rural areas of 1640 watts EIRP for emissions less than 1 MHz and 1640 watts/MHz
for emissions greater than 1 MHz. We adopt a power limit for operations in rural areas of 3280 watts
EIRP for emissions less than 1 MHz and 3280 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz. For
purposes of this rule, a rural area refers to a county with a population density of 100 persons or fewer per
square mile.174 Further, we allow operations in excess of the EIRP of 1640 watts and 1640 watts/MHz
limits after coordination with adjacent PCS G Block licensees within 120 km, as is allowed for similar

166 See Letter from Jeffrey H. Blum, Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, DISH, to Marlene H Dortch,
Sec'y, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142 (filed Jan. 22,
2013).
167 See AWS-4 Order of Modification, 28 FCC Rcd 1276.
168 Noise refers to the summation of unwanted or disturbing energy introduced into a communications system from
man-made and natural sources, that is, an undesired disturbance within the frequency band of interest. See ATIS
Telecom Glossary, Noise, http://www.atis.org/glossary/definition.aspx?id=3550 (last visited June 20, 2013).
169 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16123 52.
170 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 36.
171 See 47 C.F.R. 2750(d)(1)-(2) (AWS), 24.232(a)-(b) (PCS).
172 See 47 C.F.R. 27.50(d)(3) (AWS-1); 27.232(b)(5) (PCS).
173 See Sprint Comments at 2, Sprint Reply at 6; U.S. Cellular Reply at 3.
174 See 47 C.F.R. 24.232(b)(1)-(2); 27.50(d)(1)-(2).
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operations in the AWS and PCS services.175 We adopt these power limits because they are the same as
those for base stations in other AWS services, including AWS-1 services and the recently adopted limits
for AWS-4 base stations and substantially the same as for PCS base stations.176 Most parties that
commented on this issue supported adopting these power limits. As both Sprint and U.S. Cellular
observed, the Commission has consistently proposed and adopted these power limits for other services.177
Additionally, Sprint commented that such power levels will provide adequate protection for PCS
licensees in neighboring spectrum bands.178 No party claimed otherwise. Based on the record and our
prior experience with similar services, we conclude that these power limits are consistent with the
Spectrum Act's requirement for avoiding harmful interference to the adjacent PCS band. Further,
because these limits reflect established measures of efficient use of spectrum for similar services in other
bands, we believe they are consistent with the goals of ensuring full, robust, commercial service for
mobile broadband, as set forth in the AWS-4 Report and Order.179
54.
In adopting these power limits for H Block base stations, we acknowledge that wording
in the H Block NPRM may have led to confusion on the part of one commenter (DISH). In the H Block
NPRM
, the Commission specifically "propose[d] to adopt the standard base station power limits that
apply to AWS and PCS stations,"180 but did not include the power density limit for emissions greater than
1 megahertz in summarizing the existing rules, despite the fact that the Commission's AWS and PCS
rules explicitly include such limits.181 In supporting the proposed power limits, Sprint correctly
referenced "standard power limits of 1640 watts/MHz for non-rural areas and 3280 watts/MHz for non-
rural areas."182 In its Reply, DISH claimed that the Commission intended for the Upper H Block power to
be measured across the entire 5 megahertz of the band, and that Sprint was improperly seeking to measure
the power across one megahertz, thereby increasing the radiated power by 7 dB within the Upper H
Block.183 We disagree. The Commission's intent was to propose Upper H Block power limits that would
be measured across one megahertz (for emissions greater than one megahertz). In any event, we now
determine to measure power limits in a manner consistent with the PCS and AWS bands. Accordingly,
we now adopt the standard AWS base station power limits, as described above, based on the record
presented in response to the H Block NPRM.
55.
Further, to the extent DISH may be arguing for lower power limits than those in other
AWS bands and the PCS band, its argument is unsupported and misplaced. DISH's statement that some
existing PCS equipment (we are not aware of equipment presently existing for the H Block band) may
operate at lower maximum power levels is not in and of itself dispositive of the appropriate maximum
permissible power levels.184 Rather, this argument appears simply to present an example of PCS
equipment operating well within the applicable PCS rules.

175 See 47 C.F.R. 24.232(b)(5), 27.50(d)(3), (8).
176 See 47 C.F.R. 24.232(a)-(b) (PCS base stations); 27.50(d) (AWS base stations).
177 Sprint Comments at 2; Sprint Reply at 6; U.S. Cellular Reply at 3.
178 Sprint Comments at 2; Sprint Reply at 6.
179 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16155-60 129-148.
180 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 36.
181 See 47 C.F.R. 27.50(d)(1)-(2)(AWS), 24.232(a)-(b) (PCS).
182 Sprint Comments at 3.
183 DISH Reply at 11-12.
184 See id. at 12.
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56.
We also reject DISH's argument that symmetrical power reductions for the H Block are
necessary. DISH suggested that, should the Commission determine that (1) full-power operations of the
Lower H Block would cause harmful interference into the PCS band and, (2) it is necessary to mediate
this effect by reducing the power limits of the mobiles transmitting in the Lower H Block, then the
Commission should adopt similarly reduced power limits for the Upper H Block (1995-2000 MHz).185
DISH explained that, "[f]or instance, if the Commission decides to limit the H Block uplink transmit
power across 1915-1920 MHz to 13 dBm, as opposed to the typical [3rd Generation Partnership Protect]
3GPP power level of 23 dBm, then the base station radiated power should accordingly be reduced by 10
dB to 164 Watts, as opposed to the Commission's proposal of 1640 watts."186 Because, as explained
below, we do not reduce the permissible power levels for mobile devices in the Lower H Block below the
23 dBm level discussed by DISH, we dismiss as moot DISH's argument to apply symmetrical power
restrictions both to the lower and upper bands.187
57.
In sum, we adopt a power limit of 1640 watts EIRP for emissions with less than 1 MHz
channel bandwidth and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz in non-rural areas and of 3280
watts EIRP for emissions with less than a 1 MHz channel bandwidth and 3280 watts/MHz EIRP for
emissions greater than 1 MHz in rural areas as sufficient to protect PCS licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz
band from harmful interference and to adequately protect AWS uplink operations, while enabling H
Block licensees to operate full power base stations. Further, we allow operations in excess of the EIRP of
1640 watts and 1640 watts/MHz limits after coordination with adjacent PCS G Block licensees within
120 km, as is allowed for similar operations in the AWS and PCS services.188
b.

Upper H Block Out-of-Band Emissions Limits

58.
To minimize or eliminate harmful interference between adjacent spectrum blocks, the
Commission's rules generally limit the amount of radio frequency ("RF") power that may be emitted
outside of, or in a range of frequencies outside of, the assigned block of an RF transmission. In both the
PCS and AWS-1 bands, for example, the Commission established an OOBE limit that requires emissions
outside a licensee's assigned spectrum block be attenuated by a level of at least 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB,
where P is the transmit power in watts.189
59.
Background. To protect operations in adjacent and nearby bands above and below the
Upper H Block, the Commission proposed, and sought comment on (including on the associated costs and
benefits), a general OOBE limit for H Block base stations of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where P is the transmit
power in watts, outside of the 1995-2000 MHz band.190 This is consistent with the OOBE limits of the
adjacent PCS operations within the 1930-1995 MHz band.191 In addition to this general limit, the
Commission proposed that H Block operations meet a more stringent OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB,
where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, between 2005 MHz and 2020 MHz to provide interference
mitigation to AWS-4 terrestrial uplink operations.192 As the Commission observed, this additional

185 DISH Comments at 3.
186 Id. at 19.
187 See infra Section III.C.2.b. (Lower H Block Power Limits).
188 See 47 C.F.R. 24.232(b)(5), 27.50(d)(3), (8). In requiring this coordination with PCS G Block licensees, we
are adjusting the requirement to account for the comparable bands adjacent to the Upper H Block.
189 AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25198 92; see 47 C.F.R. 27.53(h). This OOBE limit also applies in
the broadband PCS band. See 47 C.F.R. 24.238.
190 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 37.
191 See 47 C.F.R. 24.238.
192 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 37.
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proposed interference protection is meant to ensure that all of the Upper H Block spectrum can be used
for downlink operations, while affording additional protections to most of the AWS-4 uplink band.193
Commenters generally supported the proposed OOBE limits into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, but
several commenters proposed alternative OOBE limits for emissions above 2000 MHz.194 Although a
few commenters made general assertions regarding the costs of adopting certain OOBE limits, no party
submitted any cost or benefit data.195
60.
Discussion. For the reasons discussed below, except as otherwise specified, we adopt the
proposed OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H
Block base station transmissions outside of 1995-2000 MHz, including into the 1930-1995 MHz and
2000-2005 MHz bands. We also establish an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the
transmitter power in watts, for transmissions from the Upper H Block into the 2005-2020 MHz AWS-4
band. We find that this approach both protects the 1930-1995 MHz band and the 2005-2020 MHz portion
of the AWS-4 band from harmful interference, and provides adequate protection to the adjacent, lowest
five megahertz of the AWS-4 band at 2000-2005 MHz. Thus, these OOBE limits allow us to meet the
requirements set forth in the Spectrum Act with regard to the PCS downlink band, and to best manage the
use of these spectrum bands in the public interest, consistent with the balancing we established in the
AWS-4 proceeding. Further, as detailed below, our evaluation of the record and our consideration of how
best to serve the public interest demonstrate that the various alternative proposals for OOBE limits put
forth by commenters do not sufficiently balance the use of the H Block and use of the neighboring
spectrum bands.
61.
General OOBE Limit. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the
transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block transmissions outside of the 1995-2000 MHz band, except
as described below. We anticipate that H Block systems will be similar in design to PCS and AWS-1,
which have effectively relied on the 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit in the Commission's rules to
prevent harmful interference to operations in adjacent and nearby bands.196 The record also contains
support for this OOBE limit.197 We therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is
the transmitter power in watts, for transmitters operating in the Upper H Block, except as detailed below.
62.
Emissions into PCS. We adopt and apply the general OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P)
dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block transmissions into 1930-1995 MHz.
The record demonstrates support for our decision as commenters support the proposed 43 + 10 log10 (P)
dB for base station transmissions from the 1995-2000 MHz band into the PCS bands located in 1930-
1995 MHz. For example, U.S. Cellular and Sprint support an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB as the
emissions restriction imposed on operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band.198 With respect to emissions
into PCS, no party has opposed this limit. Moreover, inasmuch as the Upper H Block can be viewed from
a technical perspective as an extension of the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band because they are both adjacent
downlink bands, the 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit that applies between adjacent PCS downlink blocks
logically should also apply to Upper H Block emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS bands. Thus, to
protect PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful interference, we adopt an OOBE limit
of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB for Upper H Block base transmissions.

193 Id.
194 See, e.g., Sprint Comments at 4-5; DISH Comments at 2-6; DISH Reply at 7-10.
195 See Sprint Comments at 4-5; DISH Comments at 2-6; DISH Reply at 7-10.
196 See 47 C.F.R. 27.53.
197 See, e.g., U.S. Cellular Reply at 3.
198 U.S. Cellular Reply at 3; Sprint Comments at 4.
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63.
Emissions into AWS-4. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is
the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block transmissions into 2000-2005 MHz and an OOBE limit
of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block transmissions into
2005-2020 MHz. We find these limits appropriately balance the difficult technical challenges associated
with the Upper H Block (i.e., downlink) being adjacent to the 2000-2020 MHz AWS-4 band (i.e., uplink),
which the Commission addressed in the AWS-4 Report and Order. As the Commission previously
observed, uplink spectrum bands that are adjacent to downlink spectrum bands raise difficult interference
issues that require balancing the needs of both bands.199 In striking this balance, the Commission must
determine what technical limits are appropriate, because the rules for one band affect the use and value of
other bands, and the Commission seeks to maximize the efficient use of all bands.200 In the AWS-4
proceeding, for example, the Commission weighed the potential interference issues between the 2000-
2020 MHz AWS-4 band and the 1995-2000 MHz H Block band. The Commission's assessment
concluded that, to protect the utility of the Upper H Block, (1) AWS-4 uplink operations must meet a
relatively strict OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB into the 1995-2000 MHz band and into the 1930-1995
MHz PCS band, and (2) AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS licensees would be required to accept harmful
interference from lawful operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band if such interference is due to OOBE into
the 2000-2005 MHz band or due to receiver overload into the 2000-2020 MHz band.201 In now
establishing the technical rules for the Upper H Block, it is appropriate to likewise recognize the impact
operations in this band may have on licensees above 2000 MHz.
64.
In assessing the needs of both Upper H Block and AWS-4 uplink band, we start from an
understanding of the current interference environment. Under the Commission's rules, emissions from
the PCS downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz, including the G Block (1990-1995 MHz), into the AWS-4
uplink band at 2000-2020 MHz are limited to 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in
watts.202 Our rules, however, are not the only factors affecting the operation and performance of AWS-4
systems. Both Sprint and DISH cite the 3GPP standards to support their differing cases for the OOBE
limit into the AWS-4 band.203 These standards allow for an OOBE limit of -30 dBm/MHz (equivalent to
attenuation of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB) into the 2000-2010 MHz band, dropping to -49 dBm/MHz
(equivalent to 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB) in the 2010-2020 MHz band.204 Additionally, the 3GPP standard
noted that OOBE limits would only apply 5 MHz or farther from the edge of the PCS base station's
operating band. This allows 5 megahertz within which the transmitter's output can roll off to meet the
tighter limits.
65.
Sprint (which holds all of the licenses for the PCS G Block, as well as some licenses for
other PCS blocks) advocated for a limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB across the 2005-2020 MHz band and
DISH (which holds all of the AWS-4 licenses) advocated for a more stringent 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB limit
across the 2005-2020 MHz band.205 In other words, relatively speaking, DISH would prefer that we
impose greater restrictions on the transmissions from the Upper H Block into the AWS-4 band, while
Sprint would prefer lesser restrictions on those Upper H Block transmissions. Both Sprint and DISH cite

199 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16127 65.
200 See supra at 46; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16135 80.
201 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16135, 16160-61, 16220 80-81, 149-51, 319.
202 See 47 C.F.R. 24.238.
203 Sprint Comments at 4-5; Sprint Reply at 6-7; DISH Comments at 6-10.
204 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release 11),
Section 6.6.4.3, Table 6.6.4.3.1-1 at 42-45 (March 2013), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
205 Sprint Comments at 4-5; Sprint Reply at 6-7; DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 6-7.
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3GPP standards in arguing for their preferred OOBE limits. Historically, while the Commission may take
into consideration the determinations of third party technical standards organizations, such as 3GPP, the
Commission also considers other factors not relevant to standards organizations. For instance, the
Commission necessarily takes into account its enabling, and any other relevant, statute, which would not
be binding on a third party standards organization. We are required, for example, to manage spectrum in
the public interest,206 and to "generally encourage the larger and more effective use of radio in the public
interest."207 Private standards bodies may have other bases for their determinations, which may reflect
compromises among the participants that are not subject to the statutory mandates that must inform our
actions. Accordingly, while the Commission may independently incorporate industry standards based on
the particular record before it, it does not typically adopt such interference standards as Commission
rules.208 We again decline to do so here. Further, inasmuch as the OOBE limit we establish herein
represents a ceiling, not a floor, industry remains free to set a more restrictive value through technical
standards bodies, such as 3GPP.
66.
In maximizing the usefulness of both bands, we seek to set appropriate limits on OOBE
such that the overall interference imposed on AWS-4 uplink operations is no more than currently exists,
to the greatest extent possible, without imposing a harsh and undue burden on Upper H Block downlink
operations. We therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power
in watts, for all Upper H Block emissions above 2000 MHz, including the 2000-2005 MHz portion of the
AWS-4 band, except for transmissions into 2005-2020 MHz. As discussed above, this emission limit
(43 + 10 log10 (P) dB) is the same level of protection that the Commission's rules currently provide AWS-
4 operations from transmissions from existing PCS downlink operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band.
For Upper H Block transmissions into 2005-2020 MHz, we adopt a more stringent OOBE limit of 70 + 10
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts. This layered approach, encompassing one set of
interference standards for emissions into the first five megahertz and a more stringent limit on emissions
into the remaining fifteen megahertz, provides some flexibility for the H Block operator to design the
emission characteristics of its system to meet the tougher OOBE limits into the 2005-2020 MHz band.
This approach, moreover, was contemplated by the Commission in the AWS-4 Report and Order where
the Commission, in requiring AWS-4 licensees to accept certain interference in the AWS-4 uplink band,
stated that "base station transmit filters need 1 to 5 megahertz to roll off to a low level of emissions."209
In addition, under the 3GPP standards, out-of-band emissions from PCS LTE operations must satisfy an
OOBE limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2000-2010 MHz and then transition sharply to satisfy a much
stricter limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2010-2020 MHz. As a practical matter, however, out-of-band
emissions tend to roll off smoothly and do not mimic the step functions of the limits set by standards
bodies such as 3GPP. As a result, the emissions from LTE operations in the PCS band will naturally
decrease smoothly from the 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB level at 2000 MHz to the 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB from
2010-2020 MHz. The limit we set at 2005 MHz--70 + 10 log10 (P) dB--approximates the emissions
level that we expect would arise at 2005 MHz as emissions roll off between 2000 MHz and 2010 MHz.210
Therefore, we expect that the overall harmful interference risk on the AWS-4 A Block operator from
future H Block operators would be no more than exists today from existing PCS operators. That is, just

206 See generally 47 U.S.C. 301 et. seq.
207 47 U.S.C. 303(g); see also id. 151 (Commission's purpose is "to make available, as far as possible . . . a
rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at
reasonable charges").
208 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16143-44 94.
209 Id. at 16160-61 149 n.444.
210 Were emissions under the existing 3GPP specification to, instead, more closely approximate a step function, they
would remain at (or near) the 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB level from 2000 to 2010 MHz and then drop off sharply at 2010
MHz to meet the 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB level.
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as PCS operations are not expected to cause harmful OOBE interference at 2005-2020 MHz, nor are H
Block operations expected to cause OOBE interference at the limit we set here.
67.
In response to the Commission's proposed OOBE limits into the AWS-4 uplink band,
parties commented that the proposed limits were both too lenient and too strict. DISH argued that 43 +
10 log10 (P) dB is insufficient to protect AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS operations in 2000-2005 MHz and that
70 + 10 log10 (P) dB is insufficient protection for operations in 2005-2010 MHz. Rather, DISH suggested
a three-fold approach to protect AWS-4/2 GHz MSS operations. DISH proposed an OOBE limit of 55 +
10 log10 (P) dB for emissions in the 2000-2005 MHz band,211 an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB for
emissions above 2005 MHz,212 and an OOBE limit of 116 + 10 log10 (P) dB for co-located sites.213
Conversely, Sprint opposed the H Block NPRM's proposal of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB above 2005 MHz as
imposing too stringent a restriction on Upper H Block transmissions and recommended an OOBE limit of
60 + 10 log10 (P) dB into and above 2005.214
68.
We reject both proposals as improperly balanced, with the DISH proposal overly
burdensome for a full powered, flexible use H Block and the Sprint proposal too burdensome on AWS-4
operations and unnecessary to allow the Upper H Block licensees full, flexible use of that spectrum.
69.
First, we reject DISH's proposal that Upper H Block operations be restricted to an OOBE
limit of 55 + 10 log10 (P) dB between 2000 and 2005 MHz.215 As discussed above, we establish an OOBE
limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB between 2000 and 2005 MHz and believe this represents an appropriate
balance between ensuring the utility of the Upper H Block and the AWS-4 uplink band. A level of 55,
rather than 43, plus 10 log10 (P) dB would be 32 times more stringent and would thus restrain the full use
of the H Block. DISH argues that this OOBE level is necessary because aggregate power from all H
Block base stations in the direction of the satellite would inadequately protect the satellite.216 We agree
with Sprint and U.S. Cellular that DISH's argument is an inappropriate collateral attack on the AWS-4
Report and Order
and our related order modifying the licenses of DISH's subsidiaries, which they have
accepted.217 The Commission explicitly addressed the issue of how to balance Upper H Block
interference into the 2000-2005 MHz band, for both terrestrial and MSS operations, in the AWS-4 Report
and Order
.218 There the Commission stated:
to the extent that future operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, operating within the rules
established for use of the 1995-2000 MHz band, cause harmful interference to AWS-4 operations
or MSS operations due to . . . OOBE in the 2000-2005 MHz portion of the AWS-4 and 2 GHz
MSS uplink band . . . AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS licenses must accept this interference.219
We therefore reject DISH's proposed OOBE limit of 55 + 10 log10 (P) dB between 2000 and 2005 MHz
because it conflicts with the full potential use of the H Block and would be inconsistent with the AWS-4
Report and Order
.

211 DISH Comments at 2-3.
212 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7-10.
213 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7-10. As converted into 10 log10 (P): x dBm = 10 (x/10) milliwatts.
214 Sprint Comments at 4; Sprint Reply at 6-7.
215 DISH Comments at 12-13.
216 Id.
217 USCC Reply at 4; Sprint Reply at 4-5.
218 In addition, we observe that Commission staff is unable to validate DISH's aggregate power interference
assertion because it failed to provide sufficient information for us to do so. Cf. DISH Comments at 12-13.
219 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16161 149.
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70.
Second, we reject DISH's proposal for an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at and
above 2005 MHz.220 DISH argued this limit is needed to protect AWS-4 terrestrial operations in 2005-
2020 MHz.221 We disagree. We find that some of the assumptions underlying DISH's analysis are overly
conservative, such as the use of a one kilometer spacing between base stations in both the interfering
system and the victim system in determining the minimum coupling loss (MCL). 222 As a result, we find
an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2005 MHz to be too restrictive on Upper H Block operations.
While DISH has asserted that meeting an OOBE limit more stringent than 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB would not
be difficult for the H Block operator to meet,223 the evidence it cites does not support the conclusion that
an H Block operator could meet an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2005 MHz.224 In the three test
reports cited by DISH, each LTE base station is shown to exceed the Commission's limit of 43 + 10 log10
(P) dB by 10 dB or more. For instance, the Samsung test report shows that the base station may be able
to meet 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB within the AWS-4 band. However, none of the test results show whether the
base stations would be able to meet DISH's proposed limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB.225 In addition, we
find that an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, as opposed to a limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB, is more
consistent with the balancing of interference concerns between the AWS-4 and H Block bands discussed
in the AWS-4 Report and Order, particularly in light of the Commission's determination in that order to
require AWS-4 operations to protect future Upper H block operations using an OOBE limit of 70 + 10
log10 (P) dB.226 Thus, to avoid harmful OOBE interference to AWS-4 operations at 2005-2020 MHz, we
find an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB into 2005-2020 MHz is necessary.
71.
DISH further argued that an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2005 MHz is
consistent with 3GPP specifications.227 As an initial matter, as we stated above, while the Commission
may take into consideration the determinations of third party technical standards organizations such as
3GPP, the Commission also considers other factors not relevant to standards organizations.228 Moreover,
we observe that, while the DISH proposed OOBE limit is contained in the 3GPP specification for LTE

220 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7-10.
221 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7-10.
222 See DISH Comments at 7.
223 DISH Reply at 8, citing, inter alia, Samsung LTE Test Report HCTR1108FR14 (Aug. 2011) (Samsung Test
Report), available at
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode+Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromF
rame=N&application_id=227214&fcc_id=A3LSMM-2LD0581902.
224 See Samsung Test Report at 73; see also Letter from Jeffrey H. Blum, Senior Vice President and Deputy General
Counsel, DISH Network Corporation, to Marlene H. Dortch, Sec'y, Federal Communications Commission, WT
Docket No. 12-357, at 3-4 (DISH June 17 ex parte) (dated June 17, 2013) (indicating that PCS base station reports
DISH reviewed do not provide an indication of filter attenuation for frequencies greater than 1995 MHz).
225 See DISH Reply at 8 (citing Ericsson LTE Test Report FX217442-F27L (Oct. 2012), available at
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&ca
lledFromFrame=N&application_id=138729&fcc_id=TA8AKRC118048-1.; Ericsson LTE Test Report 75915702
(Dec. 2011), available at
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&ca
lledFromFrame=N&application_id=444989&fcc_id=TA8AKRC161276-2; Samsung LTE Test Report
HCTR1108FR14 (Aug. 2011), available at
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&ca
lledFromFrame=N&application_id=227214&fcc_id=A3LSMM-2LD0581902 ("Samsung Test Report")).
226 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16127-45, 16160-61 64-98, 149-51.
227 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7-10.
228 See supra 65.
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base stations, the limit is for bands other than Bands 23, 2, and 25.229 Bands 23, 2, and 25 represent the
AWS-4 operations, PCS operations in the 1930-1990 MHz band, and PCS + G Block operations in the
1930-1995 MHz band, respectively. Thus, the 3GPP specification, on its own terms, does not apply to
the interference scenario at issue here. There is a separate set of OOBE limits that apply to these nearby
bands. Notably, the relevant 3GPP specification for Band 25 only requires 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB between
2000 and 2010 MHz due to its proximity to the AWS-4 band.230 3GPP does not require PCS operations
to meet the more stringent 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB limit until at least 15 MHz above the PCS band (i.e.,
above 2010 MHz). Thus, DISH's suggestion that 3GPP standards provide an example of more stringent
OOBE limits is misplaced. We also observe that, as Sprint asserted, current Commission rules allow for
much lower attenuation for existing PCS systems, including the G Block, over the entire AWS-4 band.231
72.
Third, we reject DISH's proposed OOBE limit for co-located sites.232 Specifically,
DISH sought an OOBE limit of at least 116 + 10 log10 (P) dB for sites containing both an AWS-4 base
station and an H Block base station.233 DISH argued, "when two base stations are co-located,
significantly less path loss is encountered, and a much higher interference level may be present at the
victim receiver," which requires more stringent filters.234 DISH cited a 3GPP LTE standard
recommendation for co-location that stated a limit of -96 dBm/100 kHz may be applied for the protection
of other base station receivers.235 Co-location with other communication systems is a common industry
practice to resolve coexistence issues. Yet the Commission typically does not impose separate OOBE
requirements on co-located sites in other systems operating under either Part 24 or Part 27.236 Instead,
these interference concerns are routinely negotiated between the affected parties, taking advantage of the
flexibility afforded by our rules for affected parties to resolve interference issues at spectral and
geographic boundaries. Because co-location is a network design decision, network operators possess
incentives to deploy in an efficient and productive manner that minimizes potential harmful interference.
In some cases, interference scenarios can be improved through the use of co-location. Additionally, our
rules contain a savings provision. In the case that harmful interference results from OOBE, the

229 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release 11),
Section 6.6.4.3, Table 6.6.4.3.1-1 at 42-45 (March 2013), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
230 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release 11),
Section 6.6.4.3, Table 6.6.4.3.1-1 at 42-45 (March 2013), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
231 See 47 C.F.R. 24.238(a); Sprint Reply at 6-7.
232 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7.
233 DISH Comments at 2, 5; DISH Reply at 7.
234 DISH Comments at 9-10. Again, DISH's argument that a particular model of equipment can meet DISH's
preferred limit in another band is not dispositive of the protection level we should set here. See DISH Reply at 9-10;
supra 55.
235 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release
10),Requirement 6.6.4.4 at 58-59 (July 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip; (last visited June 20, 2013).
236 In the one instance where the Commission has set a specific limit for co-located sites, the Broadband Radio
Service (BRS) band, that limit is only triggered when a base station suffers a documented case of harmful
interference. See 47 C.F.R. 27.53(m)(2).
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Commission may, at its discretion, require greater attenuation than the specified limits.237 Furthermore,
while not dispositive of our regulatory determination, the 3GPP standards DISH references specifically
exempt base station transmitters operating within 10 megahertz of the affected receiver's operating band,
which is the case here.238 Indeed, the standard itself states that "the current state-of-the-art technology
does not allow a single generic solution for co-location with other systems" and points to site engineering
solutions. In sum, we find that to impose a limit of 116 + 10 log10 (P) on the Upper H Block would be
unduly burdensome on the licensee and that setting any OOBE for the specific case of co-location would
be inconsistent with general Commission practice. Therefore, we decline to establish a rule pertaining to
co-location interference issues.
73.
We also reject Sprint's proposal to adopt a 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB attenuation requirement
from 2005-2020 MHz.239 Sprint argued an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB would significantly
increase the cost of deployment in the Upper H Block, but made no attempt to quantify this cost or
provide any cost data.240 According to Sprint, such increases in costs both could stifle interest in an
auction of the H Block and would not provide any substantive improvement in interference.241 This
argument is inconsistent with Sprint's agreement in the 3GPP standards process to protect operations in
the 2010-2020 MHz band at a level of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB.242 In addition, DISH asserted that an OOBE
limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB is insufficient to protect AWS-4 operations.243 We agree with DISH. In this
instance, a stricter OOBE limit is warranted because the Upper H Block (downlink) is adjacent to the
AWS-4 / 2 GHz MSS uplink band, which raises real interference concerns. An OOBE limit of 70 + 10
log10 (P) dB, as opposed to a limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB, is more consistent with the balancing of
interference concerns between the AWS-4 and H Block bands discussed in the AWS-4 Report and Order,
particularly in light of the Commission's determination in that order to require AWS-4 operations to
protect future Upper H block operations using an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB.244 Thus, to avoid
harmful OOBE interference to AWS-4 operations at 2005-2020 MHz, we find an OOBE limit of 70 + 10
log10 (P) dB into 2005-2020 MHz is necessary.
74.
Measurement Procedure. Finally, to fully define an emissions limit, the Commission's
rules generally specify details of the measurement procedure to determine the power of the emissions,
such as the measurement bandwidth. For AWS-1, for example, the measurement bandwidth used to
determine compliance with this limit for both mobile stations and base stations is generally 1 megahertz,
with some modification within the first 1 MHz.245 The Commission also applied the same OOBE

237 See 47 C.F.R. 27.53(n).
238 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release 10),
Tables 6.6.4.4.1-1 and 6.6.4.4.1-2 at 59-62 (July 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
239 Sprint Comments at 4; Sprint Reply at 6-7.
240 Sprint Comments at 4-5.
241 Id.
242 See 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), CR R4-112398 at 17-18 (adding band 23 to 36.104, approved in
R4-58AH and RP-52) (Feb. 2011), available at http://3gpp.org/ftp/tsg_ran/WG4_Radio/TSGR4_58AH/Docs/R4-
112398.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
243 DISH Reply at 10.
244 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16127-45, 16160-61 64-98, 149-51.
245 See 47 C.F.R. 27.53(h)(3).
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measurement procedure to AWS-4 and to PCS operations.246 To treat the Upper H Block in an equivalent
manner to these similar bands, we therefore adopt the same requirement that compliance with the
emissions limits established herein will be determined by using a 1 MHz measurement bandwidth.
c.

Co-Channel Interference between Licensees Operating in Adjacent
Regions

75.
Background. As discussed above, we determine to license the H Block on an EA
geographic license area basis.247 The Commission observed in the H Block NPRM that should the H
Block 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.248 To resolve any such interference, the Commission proposed adopting a boundary limit
approach, with a specific boundary field strength limit of 47 dBV/m.249 The Commission also sought
comment on whether licensees operating in adjoining areas should be permitted to employ alternative,
agreed-upon signal limits at their common borders.250 With one exception, commenters did not oppose
the Commission's proposals to protect adjacent licensees from co-channel interference. Sprint, however,
argued that the field strength limit be adjusted to accommodate for varying channel bandwidths.251
76.
Discussion. We adopt the proposed boundary limit approach for co-channel interference.
As discussed above, the Commission will license the H Block on a geographic area basis that is less than
nationwide, i.e., an EA basis.252 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.253 Moreover, in other bands
where spectrum has been allocated for fixed and mobile services, similar to the H Block, the Commission
has uniformly adopted the boundary limit method to minimize harmful co-channel interference.254 For
instance, the PCS, AWS-1, and AWS-4 bands all use a boundary limit approach.255 In response to the
Commission's proposal, commenters favored the boundary limit approach over a coordination
requirement. For example, Sprint comments that "applying a boundary limit consistent with prior
proceedings can enable future H Block licensees to deploy facilities in boundary areas without the delays
associated with significant pre-coordination efforts while protecting adjacent licensees from co-channel
interference at their borders."256 Additionally, no commenter proposed a coordination approach for
limiting co-channel systems from interfering with one another. Consequently, we find that a boundary

246 See 47 C.F.R. 24.238(b) (PCS), 27.53(h)(3) (AWS); AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16125-26
59-60.
247 See supra Section III.B.2.b. (Band Plan-Service Area Size).
248 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 38.
249 Id. at 16270 39.
250 Id.
251 Sprint Reply at 7-8.
252 See supra Section III.B. (Band Plan).
253 See infra 80.
254 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 39.
255 47 C.F.R. 24.236 (PCS); 47 C.F.R. 27.55(a) (1) (AWS-1 and AWS-4).
256 Sprint Comments at 3-4.
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limit approach is the best method to address potential harmful co-channel interference between licensees
operating in adjacent geographic regions.
77.
We set the field strength limit at the boundary at 47 dBV/m. As the Commission
observed in the H Block NPRM, in other bands where spectrum has been allocated for fixed and mobile
services and licensed for flexible use, similar to the H Block, the Commission has generally adopted a
boundary field strength limit of 47 dBV/m.257 For example, in the PCS, AWS-1, and AWS-4 bands, the
Commission adopted a field strength limit of 47 dBV/m at the boundary of licensed geographic areas.258
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 Upper H Block.
78.
In adopting this boundary limit, we decline to adopt the alternative limit proposed by
Sprint in its Reply. While supporting the boundary limit approach used in other bands, Sprint asserted
that we should modify the boundary limit to set a reference measurement bandwidth.259 In making this
recommendation, Sprint claimed that because today's LTE transmissions operate on wider channels than
earlier technologies such as CDMA or Digital AMPS, a 47 dBV/m limit will effectively result in a
comparatively lower field strength limit.260 Specifically, Sprint proposed to adjust the field strength limit
from 47 dBV/m to 62 dBV/m per MHz. Sprint argued that the power spectral density for a 30 kHz
Digital AMPS carrier at a 47 dBV/m field strength is equivalent to a 62 dBV/m LTE carrier with a 1
MHz bandwidth, adjusting the field strength limit by the ratio of the bandwidths (10*log10(1 MHz / 30
kHz)=15 dB). Sprint stated that its proposed boundary limit would better enable 4G-LTE buildout of the
H Block while also providing the appropriate interference protections.261 Sprint further suggested that the
boundary limits with Canada and Mexico should similarly be based on power density levels.262
79.
Although we agree with Sprint on a conceptual level that a boundary limit that adjusts for
large differences in channel bandwidths may be appropriate, we are not persuaded that Sprint's proposed
limit represents the optimal solution. Sprint derived the value for the field strength based on a
comparison against a 30 kHz Digital Amps signal.263 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.264 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.265 With no consensus regarding an

257 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 39.
258 See 47 C.F.R. 24.236, 27.55(a)(1); 47 C.F.R. 27.55(a)(2) (40 dBV/m field strength limit is used in the 700
MHz services).
259 Sprint Reply at 7-8.
260 Id.
261 Id. at 8.
262 Id.
263 Id. at 7-8.
264 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 June 20, 2013).
265 Sprint Reply at 8, n.30 (citing to Verizon and Verizon Wireless comments in the Broadcast Incentive Auction
proposing 50 dBV/m per MHz).
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alternative boundary limit approach, and not having received record input from any other party on
Sprint's proposal, we are not prepared to adopt it 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.
80.
Finally, we adopt the Commission's proposal that adjacent affected area licensees may
voluntarily agree upon higher field strength boundary levels that the 47 dBV/m we adopt above.266 This
concept is already codified in the field strength rules for both PCS and AWS services, as Sprint
acknowledged.267 No party opposed extending this approach to the H Block. Accordingly, to maintain
consistency with the PCS and AWS bands, we permit adjacent area licensees to agree to a higher field
strength limit.
2.

Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz

81.
The Lower H Block is immediately above the 1850-1915 MHz PCS band, which is used
for mobile transmit/base receive (i.e., uplink) purposes. As the Commission observed, use of the Lower
H Block as proposed in the H Block NPRM is compatible with this adjacent PCS band.268 Accordingly,
the Commission stated that technical standards more restrictive than those already established for AWS
and PCS stations to protect PCS operations below 1915 MHz likely would not be necessary.269
82.
The Lower H Block is also situated immediately below the 1920-1930 MHz band, which
is allocated for Unlicensed PCS purposes (UPCS) and the 1930-1995 MHz PCS base transmit/mobile
receive (i.e., downlink) band. As explained below, UPCS operations are not entitled to interference
protection from appropriately licensed operators in the Lower H Block.270 The 1930-1995 MHz band,
however, presents technical challenges for use of the Lower H Block. As detailed below, when certain
worst-case conditions are present, the potential exists for mobile transmitters in the 1915-1920 MHz band
to cause harmful interference to mobile receivers in the 1930-1995 MHz band.271
83.
As discussed above, the Spectrum Act requires the Commission to conduct an auction of
the H Block spectrum unless we determine that the H Block frequencies cannot be used without causing
harmful interference to commercial mobile service licensees operating between 1930-1995 MHz (PCS
downlink).272 Against this backdrop, commenters generally argued that the Commission should carefully

266 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16270 39.
267 See 47 C.F.R. 24.236 (PCS), 27.55(a)(1) (AWS); Sprint Reply at 8.
268 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271 40; see also AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20729 17.
Most of the Broadband PCS bands, 1930-1995 MHz and 1850-1910 MHz, are used for base and mobiles,
respectively, based on industry standards. The PCS G Block, 1990-1995 MHz and 1910-1915 MHz, is used for base
and mobiles, respectively, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c).
269 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271 40.
270 UPCS is authorized to operate on a non-interference basis under Part 15 of the Commission's rules. See 47
C.F.R. Part 15, Subpart D (Unlicensed Personal Communications Service Devices); see also 47 C.F.R. 15.5(b)
("Operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is subject to the conditions that no harmful
interference is caused and that interference must be accepted that may be caused by the operation of an authorized
radio station by another intentional or unintentional radiator, by industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment,
or by an incidental radiator."). These UPCS operations are not subject to the Spectrum Act's "harmful interference"
provision. See Spectrum Act 6401(b)(4), 47 U.S.C. 1451(b)(4). (only bringing the commercial mobile service
licenses in 1930-1995 MHz within the scope of the harmful interference provision).
271 See infra 134.
272 See supra Section III.A.4. (Spectrum Act-Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz
Band).
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examine the issue of mobile power limits for the Lower H Block and that, if possible, these limits should
be based on technical studies.273 Four parties submitted technical reports into the record that address the
possibility of Lower H Block operations causing harmful interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995
MHz band. Sprint filed a test report accompanying its Reply filing.274 On April 18, 2013, Verizon
Wireless submitted a technical study.275 On May 13, 2013, and May 14, 2013, T-Mobile and AT&T
separately filed a joint test report.276
84.
Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports. Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless contracted
with V-COMM Telecommunications Engineering (V-COMM) to conduct tests on the effects of mobile
operations in the Lower H Block on several of each operator's existing CDMA handsets.277 The
handset's receiver performance was tested against interference due to overload (i.e., blocking),
intermodulation, and OOBE.278
85.
AT&T and T-Mobile Study. AT&T and T-Mobile contracted with 7Layers to perform
tests on the effects of mobile operations in the Lower H block on several of each operator's existing
GSM, UMTS and LTE handsets.279 The mobile receiver's performance was tested against interference
due to overload, intermodulation and OOBE.280
86.
We discuss these test reports and the interference scenarios they examined more fully
below.281 At the outset, however, we observe that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all
stated that, subject to appropriate power limits and OOBE limits, mobile operations in the Lower H Block
can occur without causing harmful interference to PCS operations in the PCS band at 1930-1995 MHz.282
Based on our analysis of the record, which we explain in detail in the sections immediately below, we
agree that appropriate technical rules will ensure that mobile or low power fixed operations in the Lower
H Block do not cause harmful interference to PCS downlink operations.
a.

Lower H Block Power Limits

87.
We adopt transmitter power limits for the Lower H Block that will maximize the full
flexible use of the spectrum while protecting adjacent operations from harmful interference due to

273 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 6; Sprint Comments at 6, Sprint Reply at 10-11; T-Mobile Comments at 3.
274 See Sprint Reply, at Exh. A ("H-Block Interference Test Results with Sprint CDMA Devices") (Sprint Test
Report).
275 See Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter, at Attach. ("H-Block Interference Test Results with Verizon CDMA
Devices") (Verizon Wireless Test Report).
276 See Letter from Kathleen O'Brien Ham, Vice President, Federal Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile, to Marlene H.
Dortch, Sec'y, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 12-357, at Attach. (H-Block Compatibility
Analysis for GSM, UMTS and LTE) (AT&T/T-Mobile Study) (dated May 13, 2013); Letter from Linda Vandeloop,
Director-Federal Regulatory, AT&T, to Marlene H. Dortch, Sec'y, Federal Communications Commission, WT
Docket No. 12-357, at Attach. (same) (May 14, 2013); see also Letter from Jeanine Poltronieri, Assistant Vice
President, External Affairs, AT&T Services, Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, Sec'y, Federal Communications
Commission, WT Docket No. 12-357 (dated May 9, 2013).
277 See Sprint Test Report; Verizon Wireless Test Report.
278 Sprint Test Report at 4, Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
279 AT&T Report at 1.
280 Id.
281 See infra 44-66, 73-81, 90-100.
282 Sprint Reply at 3-4; AT&T Report at 1; Letter from Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile, to Marlene Dortch, FCC, WT
Docket No. 12-357 (May 13, 2013) at 2; Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter, at 2.
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receiver overload. As explained above, receiver overload may result when signals outside of the
receiver's nominal bandwidth cause the receiver to experience an increased noise level or produce non-
linear responses. Accordingly, we must examine the power limits necessary to avoid harmful interference
to PCS downlink licensees under the Spectrum Act and, within this constraint, maximize full flexible use
of the Lower H Block.
88.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission observed that parties commenting
in earlier dockets had expressed concern regarding power limits for the Lower H Block.283 These
comments argued for the establishment of power limits for operation in the Lower H Block that would
adequately protect PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band.284 As discussed above, since these
earlier comments, the mobile broadband industry has undergone rapid evolution and new technologies
have been developed and adopted.285 These advances prompted the Commission to seek comment on
how newer filtering techniques and duplex designs have improved to adjust for potential harmful
interference.286 Specifically, the Commission sought comment on an appropriate power limit for 1915-
1920 MHz mobile devices in light of these advances.287
89.
The Commission also observed that the 1915-1920 MHz band is allocated for fixed
services, but that the possibility of interference from fixed station antennas to PCS mobiles will likely be
less than anticipated interference from Lower H Block mobiles to PCS mobiles because fixed devices are
generally located at a fixed height above the ground and thus are vertically separated from PCS mobile
devices.288 Accordingly, the Commission sought comment on what the power level should be for fixed
stations operating in the Lower H Block.289
90.
The record contains three technical studies that examined the potential for Lower H
Block operations to cause harmful interference, including overload, intermodulation and interference
from out-of-band emissions, to PCS downlink operations. All of these studies assumed that the Lower H
Block device would be an LTE FDD mobile device.290 The Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless
Test Report both used existing CDMA devices for the PCS devices.291 The AT&T/T-Mobile Study used
LTE, UMTS, and GSM PCS devices.292 The studies included testing of the receiver performance of
existing PCS devices against overload interference, as well as intermodulation interference that would be
caused, in part, by receiver overload.293 As stated above, receiver overload occurs when the power from a
signal outside of the receiver's operating frequency range causes the receiver's performance to degrade.294
A strong radio frequency (RF) signal can cause the detector in the receiver to operate in a non-linear
manner, thereby reducing its ability to decode the desired signal. Intermodulation interference may occur

283 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16272 43.
284 Id.
285 See supra Section II. (Background).
286 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16272-73 44.
287 Id. at 16273 45.
288 Id.
289 Id. at 16273 46.
290 Sprint Test Report at 3; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 3.
291 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
292 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 1.
293 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
294 See supra 51.
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when two RF frequencies pass through a non-linear element in the receive path of the receiver. Two
signals at different frequencies passing through a non-linearity will mix and create new frequencies that
are related to the sum and the difference of the original signals. These are termed intermodulation
products. Although the non-linearity may be caused by hardware flaws, the most common cause of
intermodulation interference--and the historical concern for the bands at issue--is from non-linearity that
results from receiver overload. Notably, in earlier tests, third order intermodulation products were found
to occur within the PCS mobile receiver's B Block frequency range (1950-1965 MHz) due to the mixing
the of the PCS mobile device's transmitter frequency (1870-1885 MHz) with the Lower H Block mobile
device's transmitter frequency (1915-1920 MHz).295 Below, we describe the three tests, first presenting
the test set-up for all of the tests, followed by the results for all of the tests.
91.
Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Setup. In performing tests for Sprint and
for Verizon Wireless, V-COMM tested the performance of a number of each operator's existing CDMA
devices against overload and intermodulation interference using the same test procedure. Although both
types of interference may be caused by strong power levels, the effects of the interference are seen at
different receiver frequencies. The greatest potential for overload occurs where the edge of the receiver's
passband is closest to the transmitter's operating frequency range. Therefore, tests for overload were
conducted with the receiver tuned to the lowest channel in the PCS A Block, closest to the Lower H
Block.296 The tests for intermodulation were conducted at three different receiver operating frequencies
within the PCS B Block downlink band.297
92.
In the testing, V-COMM subjected each of the PCS CDMA receivers to several different
interfering signals, each with different center frequencies, channel bandwidths and types of modulation.
The set of interfering signals were 5 MHz, 3 MHz or 1.4 MHz bandwidth LTE carriers, centered at
1917.5 MHz, 1916.5 MHz and 1919 MHz, respectively.298 The types of modulation used represented
several worst case conditions, such as maximizing power at the control channels located near the edges of
the band, a fully loaded device with all resource blocks allocated, or all power concentrated in a single
resource block located on a frequency where it would be most likely to create intermodulation products.
93.
In total, twelve different types of interfering signals were tested for each device. First,
the receiver sensitivity of each device was measured to determine the minimum received power level at
which the device would perform properly in the absence of noise. Successful operation was defined as a
0.5% Frame Error Rate (FER).299 The level of the desired signal was set at either 1 dB or 3 dB above the
measured sensitivity level. Then an interfering signal was introduced and its power level increased until
the same 0.5% Frame Error Rate was achieved, marking the 1 dB or 3 dB receiver desensitization level.300
The 1 dB or 3 dB desensitization level is the power of the interfering signal at which the receiver's
sensitivity is degraded by 1 dB or 3 dB, respectively. For each test case, both the 1 dB receiver
desensitization and 3 dB receiver desensitization levels were recorded.301

295 Joint Comments of Sprint and Verizon Wireless, V-Comm Report, WT Docket No. 04-356, 15 (Dec. 8, 2004).
296 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
297 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
298 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
299 In data transmission, the information is organized in frames, a sequence of contiguous digital bits delimited by
beginning and ending flag bits. The Frame Error Rate or FER is the ratio of the number of received frames which
contain errors within them to the total number of received frames. See See ATIS Telecom Glossary, Frame,
http://www.atis.org/glossary/definition.aspx?id=5207 (last visited June 18, 2013); Terms and Definitions Database
(TEDDI), http://webapp.etsi.org/Teddi/ (last visited June 18, 2013).
300 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
301 Sprint Test Report at 4; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 4.
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94.
V-COMM then related the interference levels measured in each test case to their effect on
the user's experience in two scenarios. In so doing, V-COMM determined the power level of the out-of-
band emissions at the output of the H Block transmitter necessary to generate the measured interference
levels at the PCS receiver's antenna terminals. The difference between these two signal levels is
determined primarily by the distance between the transmitting and receiving devices and by the manner in
which the user is handling the device, which affects the amount of head and/or body losses in the
transmission path. The two user scenarios were: (1) both the transmitting and receiving mobile devices
were assumed to be held in the user's hand, as would be likely for data use; and (2) both the transmitting
and receiving mobile devices were assumed to be held to the user's head, as would be likely for a voice
call.302 The analysis then set forth assumptions of 3 dB for body loss, 8 dB for head loss, a 0 dBi receive
antenna gain for both mobile devices, a separation of 1 meter, and free space path loss to the two user
scenarios.303 Application of these assumptions determined the effective interfering signal level at the
receiver input of -21 dBm and of -31 dBm, respectively, for the data and voice user scenarios.304 The
device was deemed to operate normally if the power level of the interfering signal that caused receiver
desensitization exceeded these values.
95.
AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report--Test Setup. AT&T and T-Mobile developed a joint test
plan to test the performance of several of each operator's GSM, UMTS and LTE devices against
interference due to receiver overload, intermodulation and out-of-band emissions from an H Block mobile
transmitter.305 The tests were performed by 7Layers, a third party. Because much of the 7Layers testing
took place after the filing of the Sprint Test Report, AT&T and T-Mobile included several test cases that
subjected their devices to similar conditions to those used by Sprint.306 The test report, submitted jointly
by AT&T and T-Mobile, did not provide details of the test setup used. However it did identify several
differences between the 7Layers tests and those performed by V-COMM for Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
The most significant difference between the test plans is how the desired signal level was set. The
7Layers tests initially set the level of the desired signal at 3 dB above the reference sensitivity level set by
the 3GPP standard for the technology under test.307 To provide a more direct comparison to the Sprint
and Verizon Wireless test reports, however, 7Layers then performed its tests using the sensitivity
measured for each device individually, both at 1 dB above measured sensitivity and again at 3 dB above
measured sensitivity.308 Despite characterizing the set of test conditions using a 1 dB desensitization level
as representing worst case scenarios, the AT&T Test Report used this assumption in reaching its
conclusions.309 The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report did so, while at the same time it raised particular
concern about the usefulness of testing to 1 dB of desensitization above each device's measured
sensitivity, stating that "it is not typically used during conformance or performance testing, primarily

302 Sprint Test Report at 7-8; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7-8.
303 Sprint Test Report at 7-8; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7-8.
304 Sprint Test Report at 7-8; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7-8.
305 See AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 1.
306 Id. at 4.
307 Id. at 3-4. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report described this test strategy as a typical design test, observing that
most link budgets, which drive the design of networks, use the standard's reference sensitivity. Id. It also stated
that the reference sensitivity, as opposed to the individual device's measured sensitivity allows all devices "to be
tested in exactly the same environment" for a better comparison of device performance. Id. at 3. The report noted
that "the disadvantage to this approach is that we utilize an operating point that is probably well above the device's
actual sensitivity. Thus, a stronger interfering signal is required to realize impairment in performance." Id.
308 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 3-4.
309 Id.
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because the measurement uncertainty associated with it is rather high. The measurement metric
(throughput or BER/FER) displays highly non-linear behavior."310
96.
The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report is different from the Sprint and Verizon Wireless test
reports in other ways, as well. Notably, 7Layers subjected each PCS receiver to two different interfering
signals to simulate an H Block mobile device.311 Both signals represented 5 megahertz LTE carriers
operating at a center frequency of 1917.5 MHz, but used different resource block allocations. One signal
spread the mobile's power over all 25 resource blocks representing a fully loaded mobile, while the other
concentrated the mobile's power in 5 resource blocks, but did not define which five blocks were
assigned.312 By comparison, the Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports used a total of twelve different
LTE signals. Another significant difference in the test plans is that the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report
included for the UMTS PCS devices two desired signal conditions, reflecting both lightly loaded and
heavily loaded cell conditions for these devices, whereas the Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports used
one signal condition. The AT&T/T-Mobile used two conditions to simulate "cell breathing" on a CDMA
network. In the heavily loaded scenario, the power allocated to each user in the downlink spectrum was
reduced and the effective cell coverage was reduced.313
97.
AT&T and T-Mobile reported results for two GSM devices, up to three UMTS devices
(depending on the test scenario), and one LTE device.314 These results note the power of the interfering
signal that would create the specified degradation of the receiver. AT&T and T-Mobile also interpreted
the results differently than Sprint and Verizon Wireless, using slightly different assumptions for the user
scenario. AT&T and T-Mobile used 25 dBm EIRP as the actual operating power of the H Block mobile,
rather than using the nominal 23 dBm EIRP assumed by Verizon Wireless and Sprint.315 The AT&T/T-
Mobile Test Report also did not include any body loss for either the transmitting or receiving mobile.316
The report therefore used an interfering signal level of -13 dBm as a pass/fail criterion.317 For point of
comparison, Sprint and Verizon Wireless set a -21 dBm criterion for the level of allowed interference for
the data user scenario.318 The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report also observed that the receive antenna gain
used by Sprint and Verizon Wireless was likely optimistic, stating that most mobile receivers have a -1.5
to -3 dBm antenna gain.319 However, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report still adopted the 0 dBi value as it
is typically used in link budget calculations.320
98.
Sprint Interference Tests--Results. In the Sprint Test Report, in the tests for receiver
overload from Lower H Block in the PCS A Block, all six Sprint devices tested met the 3 dB
desensitization level at a separation of 1 meter for all 24 test cases (12 interfering signals, 2 user
scenarios).321 Four of the six devices met the 1 dB desensitization level at a separation of 1 meter, with

310 Id. at 3-4, n.1.
311 Id. at 1-5.
312 Id.
313 Id. at 4-5.
314 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 5-14.
315 Id. at 15.
316 Id.
317 Id.
318 Sprint Test Report at 7; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7.
319 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 15.
320 Id.
321 Sprint Test Report at 69.
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the exception of one device for three test cases (out of the twenty-four total cases tested for that device).
That device in that single case experienced blocking at 2 dB below the target level of -21 dBm for data
use, which is equivalent to a separation of 1.3 meters.322 The other two Sprint devices experienced a 1 dB
desensitization of their receivers at distances significantly greater than 1 meter in a majority of cases.323
V-COMM observed that the average interfering signal level that caused a 1 dB desensitization of the
receiver was -22 dBm for a majority of devices, equivalent to a 1.1 meter separation.
99.
In the Sprint Test Report, in tests for intermodulation and overload of the PCS B Block
receiver, the results showed better performance than were observed for overload alone in the PCS A
Block.324 Again, as with the overload tests, all devices met the 3 dB desensitization level for all test
cases. Moreover, all devices experienced less than 1 dB of desensitization for the voice call in all
instances. There were fewer failures in the data use scenario as well, with four of the six devices meeting
the 1 dB desensitization level at less than 1 meter for data use. The other two devices experienced a 1 dB
desensitization of their noise floor at distances of greater than 1 meter in half or more of the cases.325
These results for intermodulation were significantly better than were the results from testing in 2004.326
100.
After observing the difference in the results for the 1 dB and 3 dB desensitization levels,
V-COMM conducted a test using the worst case interfering signal at a 2 dB desensitization level. At this
level, all devices passed under the two user scenarios for both overload in the PCS A Block and overload
plus intermodulation in the PCS B Block. In other words, no PCS device experienced a 2 dB or greater
rise in the noise floor at a 1 meter separation from an H Block mobile device operating at 23 dBm, which
is full power under the 3GPP LTE specification.
101.
Verizon Wireless Test Report--Results. In the Verizon Wireless Test Report, in the tests
for receiver overload from Lower H Block in the PCS A Block, all eight Verizon Wireless devices met
the 3 dB desensitization level for all test cases. Four of Verizon Wireless's eight devices met the 1 dB
desensitization level at a separation of 1 meter for both user scenarios. Of the other four devices, two
experienced overload at the 1 dB desensitization level in approximately half of the test cases.327
V-COMM observed that the average interference levels for 1 dB desensitization for the six best devices
was -21 dBm, which represents an H Block device transmitting at a 1 meter separation and at full power
under the 3GPP LTE specification of 23 dBm EIRP.328
102.
In the tests for intermodulation and overload of the PCS B Block receiver, Verizon
Wireless observed better performance than it observed for overload alone in the PCS A Block.329 As with

322 Id. at 13-24.
323 Id. UE1 did not meet the target in 22 of 24 cases, at levels as low as -43 dBm, corresponding to a separation of
as much as 12 meters. UE2 missed the target for 1 dB desensitization in 16 of 24 cases. Id.
324 Sprint Test Report at 71.
325 Sprint Test Report at 25-36. Of the other two devices, the worst performing device, UE1, failed to meet the data
use threshold in ten of the 12 test cases for intermodulation. UE2 performed better, meeting the data use threshold
in six of the 12 test cases for intermodulation. Id. at 25-36.
326 Sprint Reply at 10; Sprint Test Report at 71.
327 Verizon Wireless Test Report at 13-24. Verizon Wireless noted that two of their eight devices experienced a 1
dB desensitization of their noise floor at distances significantly greater than 1 meter in each of the 24 test cases. In
the worst case, UE D, experienced 1 dB desensitization at -47 dBm, corresponding to a 20 meter separation. Id. at
70.
328 Verizon Wireless Test at 70.
329 Id. at 79.
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the overload tests, all devices met the 3 dB desensitization level for all test cases.330 Six of the eight
devices met the 1 dB desensitization level at 1 meter of separation for all of the voice call scenarios.
There were ten instances out of a total of 144 (combination of six devices, two user scenarios and 12
interfering signals) in which the device experienced more than 1 dB of desensitization at a 1 meter
separation. The two poorest performing devices experienced a 1 dB desensitization of the receiver at a
distance of 1 meter in approximately half of the user scenarios.331 These results for intermodulation were
significantly better than were the results from testing in 2004.332
103.
Just as it did for Sprint, V-COMM also conducted a set of tests using the worst case
interfering signal at a 2 dB desensitization level. At this level, all devices passed for the two user
scenarios for both overload in the PCS A Block and overload plus intermodulation in the PCS B Block.333
In other words, no device experienced more than a 2 dB rise of the noise floor at a 1 meter separation
from an H Block mobile device operating at 23 dBm, which is full power under the 3GPP LTE
specification.
104.
AT&T and T-Mobile Test Report--Results. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report stated that
"all three airlink technologies displayed reasonable immunity to blocking and/or overload from an
emulated H Block device."334 In the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report, under typical design conditions for
light traffic, seven of the ten test cases met their stated criteria. The two GSM devices did not meet their
interference criteria of -13 dBm, and "display[ed] noticeable performance impairment when the H Block
device transmits at a power level within 2dB from its nominal maximum output power."335 As explained
above, AT&T and T-Mobile assessed the test results under different assumptions than did Sprint and
Verizon Wireless.336 Based on examination of the test reports by Commission staff, under the data use
scenario defined by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, all of AT&T and T-Mobile's devices would meet the
criteria for receiver overload corresponding to 3 dB desensitization, for either worst case or typical
design. Under 1 dB desensitization performance conditions, AT&T and T-Mobile's devices met their
criteria in only one of six test cases.
105.
In the tests for intermodulation, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report stated that "[n]o B
Block performance impairment was noted . . . until the device was exposed to very high H Block signal
levels."337 Using AT&T and T-Mobile's assumptions, we observe their devices met their criteria in 15 of
18 test cases, over all desensitization levels, when lightly loaded.338 Based on Commission staff
examination, all of the devices would have passed under Sprint and Verizon Wireless's user scenarios.
106.
Looking separately at the results for the UMTS devices under high traffic conditions, the
AT&T/T-Mobile Test report recorded more sensitivity to interference than under light traffic for the
typical design case. Two of four receiver blocking test cases met their stated criteria, as did two of the

330 Id. at 25-36.
331 Id. at 25-36.
332 Id. at 70.
333 Id. at 78.
334 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 1.
335 Id. at 17.
336 See supra 95-97.
337 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 2. The report stated that this test did not apply to GSM devices, but did not
explain why, and no GSM devices were tested for intermodulation. Id.
338 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 8-10.
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four intermodulation test cases.339 We observe that all eight high traffic test cases would meet the criteria
under the Sprint and Verizon Wireless data use scenario. Looking at a total of eight test cases for
blocking (two devices, two interfering signal types, and two desensitization levels) and eight test cases for
intermodulation, the UMTS devices were unable to meet the target BER under high traffic conditions
before any interfering signal was applied in all but two of the sixteen cases.340 In other words, the devices
were unable to perform acceptably in the complete absence of interference when the desire signal was set
at only 1 dB or 3 dB above the device's sensitivity in high traffic.
107.
Power Limit Proposals Based on Interference Testing. As a result of these studies, the
four largest wireless providers all proposed the Commission adopt mobile and fixed power limits of 25
dBm EIRP,341 which is equivalent to a power limit of 300 milliwatts EIRP.342 First, in submitting its
initial test results, Sprint concluded that "intermodulation interference is no longer a significant threat to
today's PCS devices."343 With regard to receiver overload, Sprint determined that the "potential for
receiver blocking in today's PCS devices has decreased significantly to a point where blocking
interference is unlikely."344 Based on the evidence provided in the test data, Sprint proposed that a mobile
power limit of 23 dB EIRP with a +/- 2 dB tolerance would protect adjacent PCS devices in the 1930-
1995 MHz band. Second, Verizon Wireless recognized a similar improvement in the performance of its
devices over time, stating that the newly tested devices "showed less sensitivity to interference than they
did in 2004."345 Specifically, the Verizon Wireless Test Report concluded that "based on receiver
blocking test results, an H-Block mobile power limit of +23 dBm EIRP will prevent interference to the
majority of PCS CDMA devices tested at 1 meter device separation."346 Relying on the tests, Verizon
Wireless stated that a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP "is the minimum needed to protect existing PCS
operations from substantial interference."347 Third, T-Mobile generally supported the 25 dBm EIRP
proposed by Sprint and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile was concerned, however, that H Block operations at
a power level within 2 dB of the nominal maximum output power of 23 dBm could cause harmful
interference for consumers with GSM devices and therefore requested that the Commission "require
future H Block licensees . . . provide notification to PCS A Block licensees when they turn on service in
the H Block on a market-by-market basis."348 Fourth, AT&T stated that it "supports an H Block power
limit of +23 dBm (+/- 2 dB) as "sufficient to ensure reasonable coexistence between LTE devices
operating in the FCC's proposed H Block and UMTS and LTE devices operating in the PCS A and B
Blocks."349 AT&T further stated that "by the time LTE is widely deployed in the Lower H Block, GSM

339 Id. at 5-10.
340 Id.
341 See Sprint Reply at 11; Verizon Wireless April 8 Letter at 2; AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 2.
342 Converted from dBm to milliwatts (x dBM) = 10 milliwatts.
343 Sprint Reply at 10.
344 Id.
345 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 1.
346 Verizon Wireless Test Report at 79.
347 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2.
348 T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2.
349 AT&T May 9 Letter at 2.
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usage in the PCS Downlink Band on AT&T's network will be much less common than today, as AT&T
deploys advanced technologies."350
108.
Discussion. Based on the record before us, we adopt a power limit for fixed and mobile
devices operating in the Lower H Block of 300 milliwatts EIRP, which is equivalent to 25 dBm EIRP. As
stated above and in the H Block NPRM, earlier testing conducted in 2005 identified the primary concern
with full power mobile operations in the Lower H Block as intermodulation interference to PCS B Block
receivers, with some additional concern regarding overload interference to PCS A Block receivers.351
The primary remedy to address receiver overload and intermodulation is through limits on mobile
transmit power. At that time, parties argued for a severe reduction in the permissible mobile transmit
power limit, such as imposing very strict power limits (e.g., 6 dBm EIRP) on the 1917-1920 MHz portion
of the band, to address this problem.352 As detailed above, all of the studies showed that technological
improvements over the past several years have resulted in mobile devices in the PCS band that can
tolerate or mitigate against greater interference levels before overload or intermodulation interference
rises to the level of causing harmful interference.353 In particular, while the testing performed in earlier
years showed intermodulation interference to be a significant concern (and a much greater concern than
overload interference), the new testing does not identify intermodulation as causing harmful interference.
For example, in describing the results for both the Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test
Report, V-COMM stated that "CDMA devices tested generally showed less sensitivity (better rejection)
to intermodulation interference as compared to [r]eceiver [b]locking this is different from the 2004
devices tested."354
109.
Consistent with the results of their studies, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
Wireless all proposed a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP, which is equivalent to 300 milliwatts EIRP, for
operations in the entire Lower H Block.355 For example, Sprint "recommend[ed] that the Commission
adopt a uniform H Block mobile device power limit of +23 dBm EIRP, with a +/- 2 dB implementation
margin of tolerance . . . to protect adjacent PCS operations above 1930 MHz."356 Verizon Wireless
similarly stated that a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP is "the minimum needed to protect existing PCS
operations from substantial interference."357 AT&T and T-Mobile, in their joint test report, stated that a
full power H Block mobile will not create significant impairment to UMTS or LTE devices, but that GSM
devices "display noticeable performance impairment when the H Block device transmits at a power level
within 2 dB from its nominal maximum output power or 23 dBm."358 In proposing a power limit of 25

350 Id.; see also AT&T, Inc. Quarterly Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, Form 10-Q, at 21 (filed on August 3, 2012) , available at
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/732717/000073271712000073/q2_10q.htm (last visited June 20, 2013).
351 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271-72 43; Joint Comments of Sprint and Verizon Wireless, V-Comm
Report, WT Docket No. 04-356, App. ii (Dec. 8, 2004).
352 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271-72 43.
353 See supra Section III.A.4 (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band) (discussing
harmful interference).
354 Sprint Test Report at 71; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 79; see also Sprint Reply at 10 ("intermodulation is no
longer a significant threat to today's PCS devices").
355 See Sprint Reply at 11; Verizon Wireless April 8 Letter at 2; AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 2.
356 Sprint Reply at 11.
357 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2.
358 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 17; see AT&T May 9 Letter at 2 ("AT&T supports an H Block power limit of
+23 dBm (+/- 2 dB)"); T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2.
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dBm EIRP based on tests that showed significant instances of observed interference, the parties implicitly
stated that the overall probability of interference was sufficiently low that it was deemed acceptable and
did not rise to the level of harmful interference. No party opposed 25 dBm EIRP as a power limit across
the Lower H Block or suggested that this power limit would lead to harmful interference to operations
outside of the Lower H Block.
110.
We adopt the proposed limit of 25 dBm EIRP, which is equivalent to 300 milliwatts
EIRP, as the power limit for mobile and low power fixed operations in the entire Lower H Block and find,
consistent with the Spectrum Act harmful interference condition, that operations subject to this power
limit will not cause harmful interference to operations in the PCS downlink band.359 In adopting a power
limit of 300 milliwatts EIRP, we observe that this limit is lower than the limits for other, comparable
bands. For example, the power limit for mobile operations in the lower PCS Band (1850-1915 MHz) and
in the AWS-4 Band is 2 watts EIRP, and in the AWS-1 Band is 1 watt EIRP.360 We nevertheless adopt
the 300 milliwatts EIRP limit because it will protect against harmful interference to the PCS band, as
required by statute, while enabling mobile devices deployed in the Lower H Block to operate at power
levels sufficient to provide generally robust service quality, consistent with our goal of enabling efficient
use of the band.361 Notably, in performing the testing and reaching the recommendations, the tests all
were conducted assuming an LTE mobile device operating at the maximum power level indicated in the
3GPP LTE specifications--23 dBm.362 Consequently, adopting a power limit at 300 milliwatts (23 dBm,
plus a 2 dBm tolerance) will enable the most likely H Block devices to operate without suffering any
actual power restriction.363 That is, this power limit will permit mobile devices using LTE technology to
operate at full power based on their design specifications. Moreover, 300 milliwatts EIRP is the level
uniformly supported by the interference tests in the record as protecting against harmful interference into
the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band.364
111.
Although we expect that setting the power limit at 300 milliwatts EIRP will not
negatively affect mobile operations in either the Lower H Block or the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, we
observe that the test reports may not have fully captured the probabilistic nature of the interference
scenario and that some of the assumptions used in performing the calculations in the interference tests
may be overly conservative.365 It is important to identify these concerns with the test report inputs now so
that they can be accounted for in future interference studies submitted to the Commission and because
they also affect our analysis of OOBE interference, below.366 For the purpose of establishing the
appropriate power limits, including under the Spectrum Act, the Commission determines what transmitter
power level will prevent harmful interference, not simply detectable interference.367 For mobile-to-
mobile interference, this is a probabilistic assessment. As we discuss further below in the discussion of

359 See supra Section III.A.4 (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band).
360 47 C.F.R. 24.232(c) (PCS), 27.50(d)(1) (AWS-1), 27.50(d)(7) (AWS-4).
361 See supra 23.
362 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 1; Sprint Test Report at 8; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 8.
363 We acknowledge, however, that the 300 milliwatts EIRP may restrict fixed devices to lower power levels than
they may be able to operate at in other bands.
364 See supra 107.
365 In questioning some of the reports' inputs and assumptions, we are not questioning the underlying science used
in the test reports.
366 See infra 126-129.
367 See supra Section III.A.4 (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band); 47 C.F.R.
2.1 (definitions of "interference" and "harmful interference"); see also Northpoint, 414 F.3d at 69-71.
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OOBE limits, we find that the studies do not sufficiently account for the low probability of mobile-to-
mobile interference actually occurring.368
112.
We are also concerned with some of the specific assumptions used in the test reports. In
its analysis of the test data and stated conclusions for both the Sprint Test Report and the Verizon
Wireless Test Report, V-COMM bases its conclusions on a number of assumptions, some of which may
not be the most appropriate assumptions for calculating interference limits between nearby mobile
systems. V-COMM bases its conclusions on the receiver's performance assuming a 1 meter separation
between devices, a 1 dB desensitization level, and a data use case, which assumes 3 dB body loss and no
head loss. Similarly, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report based its conclusions on a 1 meter device
separation and a 1dB desensitization level. Further, unlike Verizon Wireless and Sprint, AT&T and T-
Mobile made no provision for head or body loss.
113.
First, one of several factors that will determine the likelihood of this probabilistic
interference actually occurring is the separation distance between the mobile devices. As discussed
below, a 2 meter separation between devices is a more appropriate separation distance than the 1 meter
separation distance used in the studies.369 The Commission has adopted a 2 meter separation in the
evaluation of other mobile-to-mobile interference scenarios, most recently in the AWS-4 proceeding.370
Further, AT&T and T-Mobile's concerns regarding the usefulness of testing under worst case conditions
were demonstrated by the results for the high traffic test cases. The tested UMTS devices were unable to
perform reliably under high traffic conditions, irrespective of the interference environment. Thus, the
AT&T/T-Mobile test report lacks sufficient evidence to support any determination of harmful interference
under high traffic conditions.
114.
Second, as explained further below in setting OOBE limits, a 3 dB desensitization level is
a more appropriate criterion than a 1 dB level upon which to judge harmful interference to mobile devices
in cellular networks, which are designed to work in the presence of interference.371 For example, we
observe that industry technical specifications for many types of devices that are currently used in the PCS
band allow for a 3 dB degradation of the receiver sensitivity. The 3GPP2 standard for CDMA mobile
devices sets the receiver performance requirements for intermodulation spurious response and receiver
blocking based on a desired signal level of 3 dB above the reference sensitivity level.372 Based on the
3GPP2 standard for intermodulation, a CDMA device operating at 1% FER with a desired signal 3 dB
above the reference sensitivity level is defined in the standard to be operating normally, and thus may be
judged as not experiencing harmful interference.373 Similarly, the 3GPP standards for UMTS and LTE

368 See infra 134.
369 See infra 142.
370 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16159 144 (citing Motorola Mobility AWS-4 Comments, WT
Docket No. 12-70, Technical App. at A-1).
371 See infra 143.
372 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), Recommended Minimum Performance Standards for cdma2000
Spread Spectrum Mobile Systems C.S0011-E, Version 1.0 (April 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp2.org/public_html/specs/C.S0011-E_v1.0_1x_MS_MPS_20120505.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
The difference between 3GPP and 3GPP2 is that 3GPP governs GSM, UMTS, and LTE, whereas 3GPP2 governs
CDMA technologies. See generally 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), About 3GPP,
http://www.3gpp.org/About-3GPP (last visited June 20, 2013); 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2),
About 3GPP2, http://www.3gpp2.org/Public_html/Misc/AboutHome.cfm (last visited June 20, 2013).
373 We note that the 3GPP2 standard sets the interfering signal level at 3 dB above the reference sensitivity level of -
104 dBm. 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), About 3GPP, http://www.3gpp.org/About-3GPP (last visited
(continued....)
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technologies allow the receiver sensitivity to degrade by 3 dB in response to interference. The LTE
standard for receiver blocking is, moreover, is based on a desired signal level 6 dB above the receiver's
reference sensitivity, requiring the receiver to perform in the presence of a strong interferer.374
115.
Third, as explained below, we believe it more appropriate to assume that the devices will
be subject to both head and body loss, rather than just body loss. In both the Sprint Test Report and the
Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM tested for two different user scenarios.375 In one scenario, it
assumed body loss only (that is, signal loss from proximity to the body, but not the head)--the data
scenario.376 In the other scenario, it assumed signal loss from both the user's body and head--the voice
scenario.377 For the data user scenario, V-COMM used a figure of 3 dB for body loss; for the voice
scenario, it used 3 dB for body loss and another 5 dB for head loss. AT&T and T-Mobile did not apply
any head or body loss in their analysis of the test results. As we describe further below, we believe it is
more reasonable to use the voice user scenario, which includes both head and body loss assumptions,
when determining interference rules.
116.
We discuss our concerns with the use of these assumptions more fully below in
establishing the OOBE limit.
117.
Nevertheless, because, as explained above, the power limit that results from these tests
will permit the deployment of full power H Block mobile devices in the 1915-1920 MHz band while also
protecting commercial mobile service licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful interference
due to receiver overload, we find it unnecessary to adjust the studies for purposes of establishing power
limits for operations in this band. Accordingly, we find it in the public interest, and consistent with the
Spectrum Act's condition to protect the PCS downlink band from harmful interference, to set the power
limit for mobile and fixed use in the 1915-1920 MHz band at 300 milliwatts EIRP.
b.

Lower H Block Out-of-Band Emissions Limits

118.
To minimize harmful interference between adjacent spectrum blocks, the Commission's
rules generally limit the amount of RF power that may be emitted outside of the assigned block of an RF
transmission. As explained below, we establish an OOBE limit for transmissions outside of the 1915-
1920 MHz band of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, except that for
emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band we set an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the
transmitter power in watts.
119.
Background. To minimize harmful electromagnetic interference between operators, the
Commission has previously concluded that, in certain circumstances, attenuating transmitter OOBE by 43
+ 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, is appropriate.378 This limit is generally
(Continued from previous page)
June 20, 2013); 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), About 3GPP2,
http://www.3gpp2.org/Public_html/Misc/AboutHome.cfm (last visited June 20, 2013). In the Sprint Test Report
and the Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM set the interfering level to 3 dB above the device's own measured
sensitivity level, which was a substantially lower power level, indicating that the device may be able to tolerate an
even higher level of interference. Sprint Test Report at 12; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 12.
374 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception (Release 11), 75
(Requirement 7.6.1.1) (3GPP 36.104 V10.7.0, July 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
375 See infra 146.
376 Sprint Test Report at 7; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7.
377 Sprint Test Report at 8; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 8.
378 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 24.238(a); 27.53(h) (for PCS and AWS, respectively).
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applied in cases where adjacent services have similar characteristics, such as base-to-base or mobile-to-
mobile and adhere to similar power limits. As such, this limit applies to most of the services authorized
under Parts 24 and 27, including transmitters operating in adjacent blocks in the 1850-1915 MHz PCS
band, which is adjacent to the Lower H Block. The Commission proposed requiring the attenuation level
of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, to emissions from transmitters in the
1915-1920 MHz band, generally.379 As explained above, the Spectrum Act requires additional analysis
with regard to Lower H Block transmissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band.380 As stated in the H Block
NPRM
and above, the proximity of mobile-to-mobile operations may require stricter OOBE limits than
the Commission might impose in other interference scenarios.381 Specifically, the Commission proposed
an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for emissions into the
1930-1995 MHz PCS Band.382 Finally, the Commission proposed to apply the measurement procedure
used in the PCS band to these OOBE limits.383
120.
As explained above, the record contains three studies that examined the appropriate
technical parameters for H Block operations needed to avoid causing harmful interference, including
OOBE interference, to existing PCS downlink operations at 1930-1995 MHz.384
121.
Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Setup. For the Sprint Test Report and the
Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM tested both Sprint and Verizon Wireless devices for their
performance against out-of-band emissions. Two interference cases were tested. For both sets of tests,
the CDMA device was tuned to the PCS A Block and subjected to a desired signal representing first a 1
dB desensitization level, and, second, a 3 dB desensitization level, from the device's measured sensitivity
level. A co-channel additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) signal representing the interfering H Block
device was then injected into the device's RF antenna port. The power level of the interfering signal level
was increased until the FER was no more than 0.5%, and the results recorded.385
122.
AT&T and T-Mobile Test Reports--Test Setup. As discussed above, AT&T and
T-Mobile did not provide details of their test setup, but noted some differences with Sprint and Verizon
Wireless's test plan.386 In performing that evaluation, a key difference from the V-COMM tests was that
7Layers set the desired signal level according to typical design at the device's reference sensitivity.387
Additional tests were conducted to determine the levels at which 1 dB and 3 dB degradation of the
device's measured sensitivity occurs.388 The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report did not include GSM devices
in the typical design conditions. We observe that the analysis within the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report did
not calculate the necessary OOBE limit directly from the results, but simply decided whether the limit
calculated in the V-COMM tests would be sufficient.

379 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16273 47.
380 See supra Section III.A.4.b. (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band-Lower H
Block: 1915-1920 MHz).
381 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16273-74 47.
382 Id. at 16274-75 49.
383 Id. at 16275 51.
384 See supra 90-107; infra 121-125.
385 Sprint Test Report at 71; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 77.
386 See supra 95.
387 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 3-4.
388 Id.
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123.
Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Results. For the Sprint Test Report and
the Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM reported an average interference level of -107 dBm when
the desired signal was at the 3 dB desensitization level, and an average interference level of -113 dBm
when the desired signal was at the 1 dB desensitization level.389 Examining the same two user scenarios
as for the blocking and intermodulation tests, V-COMM interpreted these results as equivalent to an
OOBE limit -53 dBm/MHz for the voice user scenario at the 3 dB desensitization level and 1 meter of
separation between devices, and -63 dBm/MHz for the data use scenario under the same conditions.390
For the 1 dB desensitization level, the results showed an equivalent OOBE level of -59 dBm/MHz for
voice use and -69 dBm/MHz for data use.391 V-COMM stated that an OOBE limit of -69 dBm/MHz
would prevent desensitization of more than 1 dB for devices at a 1 meter separation.392 It further stated
that an additional implementation margin of 3 dB would be appropriate, resulting in a recommended
OOBE limit of -66 dBm/MHz based on the data use scenario.393 V-COMM asserted that this limit would
be "consistent with OOBE limits proposed in the FCC NPRM[s] in 2004 and 2008" and "also consistent
with 3GPP OOBE limits for UMTS and HSPA devices."394
124.
AT&T and T-Mobile Test Reports--Test Results. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report
stated that the OOBE tests "showed the greatest difference between airlink technologies."395 The report
noted that "UMTS and LTE displayed good immunity to wideband noise emissions from a nearby H
Block transmitter."396 The report also stated that "GSM devices displayed relatively poor rejection of
OOBE interference."397 In the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report, the average interference level for typical
design conditions that produced 3 dB of desensitization of the receiver was -93.8 dBm. Similarly, the
average interference levels for worst case conditions were -109.64 dBm and -104.8 dBm for 1 dB and 3
dB desensitization levels, respectively. This compares to the average levels of -113 dBm and -107 dBm
for 1 dB and 3 dB desensitization levels, respectively, reported by both Sprint and Verizon Wireless.398
125.
OOBE Proposals Based on Interference Testing. Based on the testing, the parties
generally proposed that the Commission adopt an OOBE limit of -66 dBm/MHz, which is equivalent to
96 + 10 log10 (P) dB (where (P) is the transmitter power in watts) for Lower H Block emissions into the
1930-1995 MHz band.399 Sprint, however, recognized that this level may be overly stringent. Sprint
suggested that, if the low probability of the occurrence of the factors needed for mobile-to-mobile
interference were fully taken into account, the necessary OOBE attenuation could be lower. Sprint then
observed that "[t]he 3GPP OOBE standards for similar mobile-to-mobile coexistence situations are more
typically -50 dBm/MHz [i.e., 80 + 10 log10 (P) dB] (or -40 dBm/MHz [i.e., 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB] when the
two bands have little separation)."400 Verizon Wireless disagreed with Sprint, arguing that, "[a]lthough

389 Sprint Test Report at 71; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 77.
390 Sprint Test Report at 71; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 77.
391 Sprint Test Report at 72; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 80.
392 Sprint Test Report at 72; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 80.
393 Sprint Test Report at 72; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 80.
394 Sprint Test Report at 72; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 80.
395 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 2.
396 Id.
397 Id.
398 Sprint Test Report at 61; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 69.
399 Sprint Reply at 11; Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2; AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 2.
400 Sprint Reply at 11 n.42.
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Sprint is correct as to the circumstances in which interference will occur, [Sprint] is wrong to imply that
these circumstances occur only rarely."401 Instead, Verizon Wireless argues that "mobile devices are
most likely to be located very near each other at indoor locations where users are likely to receive a
weaker signal . . . [which is] precisely what [OOBE] limits are designed to protect against."402 Neither
AT&T nor T-Mobile addressed Sprint's suggestion that the OOBE could be set at a less stringent level
than 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB. T-Mobile, while supporting the 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit, expressed
concern that the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report showed that GSM devices had "a relatively poor rejection
of OOBE interference at a separation distance of 1 meter."403 To address this concern, T-Mobile
requested that the Commission require H Block licensees to notify PCS A Block licensees on a market-
by-market basis when the H Block licensees turn on service. T-Mobile explained that this "would enable
full use of the H Block for LTE service while also assisting PCS licensees in network planning to reduce
the probability of interference."404
126.
Discussion. For the reasons discussed below, except as otherwise specified, we adopt the
proposed OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Lower H
Block transmissions outside of 1915-1920 MHz. We adopt this limit below 1915 MHz and above 1920
MHz, with additional protections required for the 1930-1995 MHz band. For emissions into the 1930-
1995 MHz band, we establish an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power
in watts.
127.
Emissions below 1915 MHz. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB where (P)
is the transmitter power in watts, for Lower H Block transmissions below 1915 MHz. Immediately below
the Lower H Block is the 1850-1915 MHz PCS band, which is used for mobile transmit/base receive. As
the Commission observed in the H Block NPRM, because it is anticipated that the Lower H Block systems
will be similar in design to PCS and AWS-1, use of the 1915-1920 MHz band would be compatible with
this adjacent PCS spectrum.405 That is, both bands will serve as mobile uplink bands. Thus, the OOBE
level currently in the Commission's rules to protect adjacent PCS uplink blocks from harmful interference
from each other should also be sufficient to protect PCS blocks in the 1850-1915 MHz band from Lower
H Block emissions.406 Additionally, the OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB where (P) is the transmitter
power in watts, has effectively served to prevent harmful interference to operations in bands adjacent and
nearby to PCS and AWS-1 operations. The Commission thus tentatively concluded that a more
restrictive OOBE limit than those established for PCS and AWS-1 transmissions was not necessary for
Lower H Block transmissions below 1915 MHz;407 a conclusion now supported by the record. As Sprint
comments, "[n]o industry commenter disputes the Commission's conclusion that [Lower] H Block uplink
operations would not cause harmful interference to PCS operations located immediately below the uplink
at 1850-1915 MHz."408 We therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB where (P) is the
transmitter power in watts, for Lower H Block operations below 1915 MHz.
128.
Emissions above 1920 MHz. Except as specified below for emissions into the 1930-1995
MHz band, we adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts,

401 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2.
402 Id.
403 T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2 (citing AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 1-2).
404 T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2.
405 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271 40.
406 47 C.F.R. 24.238(a).
407 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16271 40.
408 Sprint Reply at 9.
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for Lower H Block transmissions above 1920 MHz. The OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P)
is the transmitter power in watts, applies to most of the services authorized under Parts 24 and 27, which
have effectively relied on this limit in the Commission's rules to prevent harmful interference to
operations in adjacent bands.409 We authorize H Block under Part 27,410 and thus anticipate that H Block
systems will be similar in design to PCS and AWS-1. Additionally, with respect to the immediately
adjacent 1920-1930 MHz band, that band is designated for unlicensed use and operations in that band are
required to accept interference from licensed operations, including those in the Lower H Block.411
Furthermore, except as discussed below regarding the 1930-1995 MHz band, no commenter opposed an
OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB above 1920 MHz. Therefore, we adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Lower H Block transmissions above 1920
MHz, subject to the exceptions below.
129.
Emissions into 1930-1995 MHz. In order to prevent harmful interference into the PCS
downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz, as required by statute, we adopt a requirement that out-of band
emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band be attenuated below the transmitter power level by at least 70 +
10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, (equivalent to -40 dBm/MHz) for fixed and
mobile devices operating in the Lower H Block. We conclude that as a result of our adoption of this
OOBE limit, licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band will not experience a level of interference that
seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts their services.412 We base our finding on
Commission precedent, experience with the probabilistic nature of mobile-to-mobile interference, and
analysis of the test data submitted into the record.
130.
Commission Precedent. We find an OOBE limit at 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the
mobile transmitter power in watts, is consistent with Commission precedent. The interference scenario
before us involves setting limits for Lower H Block mobile device out-of-band emissions that prevent
harmful interference to PCS devices in the 1930-1995 MHz band. Last year, in the AWS-4 Report and
Order
, the Commission addressed the issue of mobile-to-mobile interference from AWS-4 mobile devices
operating in the AWS-4 2000-2020 MHz uplink band to operations in the PCS downlink band and to
future Upper H Block operations in 1930-2000 MHz.413 In the AWS-4 proceeding, the Commission had
proposed an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where P is the transmitter power in watts, from AWS-4
operations in the 2000-2020 MHz band into frequencies below 2000 MHz.414 The Commission proposed
this attenuation level because it was previously set forth in the Part 25 rules for Ancillary Terrestrial
Component (ATC) operations in the 2000-2020 MHz band into spectrum below 1995 MHz.415 Parties in
the AWS-4 proceeding generally supported the proposed OOBE level, and no party to that proceeding
proposed an alternative limit.416 After reviewing the record before it--a record compiled after enactment

409 See 47 C.F.R. 24.238(a); 27.53(h) (for PCS and AWS, respectively).
410 See infra Section III.E.1. (Regulatory Issues; Licensing and Operating Rules-Regulatory Status).
411 See 47 C.F.R. 15.5.
412 See supra Section III.A.4 (Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band); 47 C.F.R.
2.1 (definition of harmful interference).
413 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16138 85.
414 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, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry, 27 FCC Rcd
3561, 3575 at 35 (2012) (AWS-4 NPRM and AWS-4 NOI, respectively).
415 Id. In adding Part 27 terrestrial rules to the AWS-4 band, the Commission replaced and eliminated the ATC
rules for frequencies included in that band. AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16220 318.
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of the Spectrum Act--the Commission adopted a maximum attenuation level of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB for
AWS-4 transmissions into both the Upper H Block below 2000 MHz and the PCS band below 1995
MHz.417
131.
The scenario in the AWS-4 proceeding is on point with that facing us here. In both cases
the interference scenario is mobile-to-mobile interference. In both cases, the Commission was faced with
establishing an OOBE limit for transmissions from nearby operations into the PCS downlink band at
1930-1995 MHz. In the AWS-4 proceeding, the Commission also examined the same interference
scenario into the immediately adjacent Upper H Block. Further, in one important respect, the interference
scenario before us now represents a scenario less likely to result in harmful interference than the one we
addressed in the AWS-4 proceeding. Specifically, the Lower H Block is 10 megahertz away from the
PCS downlink band, whereas the AWS-4 uplink band is 5 megahertz away from the PCS band and
directly adjacent to the Upper H Block. Lower H Block operators will thus have 10 megahertz of
frequency separation from the PCS band for emissions from their devices to roll off, while AWS-4
operators have no frequency separation for roll off between the AWS-4 uplink band and the Upper H
Block. Stated otherwise, the interference scenarios here and in the AWS-4 proceeding effectively
bookend the 1930-2000 MHz frequencies, with the emissions entering those from frequencies from below
1930 MHz and from above 2000 MHz needing to meet the same attenuation levels, but with Lower H
Block operators having 10 megahertz rather than 5 megahertz or zero megahertz of separation in which to
roll off to achieve the limit. Accordingly, we find it consistent with AWS-4 precedent to set the OOBE
limit for Lower H Block operations into 1930-1995 MHz at 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the mobile
transmitter power in watts.
132.
In adopting the 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit also set in the AWS-4 proceeding, we
observe that this limit is the most stringent limit in the Commission's rules for operations in a commercial
uplink band protecting another band. For example, for the 800 MHz cellular band and the Lower and
Upper 700 MHz bands (generally), the Commission adopted an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with
a measurement bandwidth of 100 kHz, which is equivalent to 33+ 10 log10 (P) dB with a measurement
bandwidth of 1 MHz); and for the broadband PCS band, the AWS-1 band, and the AWS-4 band (except
below 2000 MHz), the Commission adopted a mask of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with a measurement
bandwidth of 1 MHz).418 Moreover, within these bands are examples of mobile-to-mobile interference
scenarios at frequency separation distances similar to those that exist between the Lower H Block and the
PCS downlink band. For example, Lower 700 MHz C Block mobile devices are required to attenuate
transmissions at 43+ 10 log10 (P) dB (with a measurement bandwidth of at least 100 kHz) above 716
MHz, including into the Lower 700 MHz A Block downlink band at 728 MHz.419 Similarly, in
determining the OOBE limit for Upper 700 MHz C Block mobile devices into the nearby public safety
downlink band, the Commission set the limit at the equivalent of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with a
measurement bandwidth of 1 MHz).420 In addition, when 3GPP decided that public safety mobile devices
required greater protection than the Commission limit, it set a higher limit of 65 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with a
measurement bandwidth of 1 MHz or greater). As part of the 3GPP deliberations, Verizon Wireless, a
licensee of significant Upper 700 MHz C Block spectrum, agreed that this level provided sufficient
(Continued from previous page)
416 See Motorola Mobility AWS-4 Comments, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, at 6; Sprint
AWS-4 Comments, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, at 10-11; Nokia AWS-4 Reply, WT
Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, at 4 (filed June 1, 2012); but see AT&T AWS-4 Comments,
WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, at 6-7 (commenting that H Block should be a guard band).
417 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16126-27 63.
418 47 C.F.R. 22.917(a), (b); 24.238(a), (b); 27.53(c)(1)(2), (5); (h)(1), (3).
419 47 C.F.R. 27.53(g).
420 Id.
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protection to our Nation's first responders.421 Yet, here, in the H Block proceeding, wireless providers are
advocating for a limit that is 31 dB (i.e., more than 1,000 times) more stringent than the protection
afforded public safety.422 We would expect, to the contrary, that protection levels sufficient for public
safety would normally be sufficient to protect commercial mobile service providers.
133.
Not only is the OOBE limit of 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB much more stringent than the limits
the Commission has adopted in any other band, it may be very difficult to realize. Sprint submitted a
presentation from Avago Technologies that showed one solution using an FBAR (Film Bulk Acoustic
Resonator) filter to meet the OOBE limit.423 The proposed filter was designed to support a single ten
megahertz passband covering only the PCS G Block and the proposed H Block. As Sprint is the sole
licensee for the PCS G Block, the filter design is very specialized for Sprint's purposes and is unlikely to
be useable by other operators that may need to use larger passbands or other more commonly used filter
technologies. It is important that the limits we set for H Block operations maximize the utility of the band
for all potential licensees and provide for the public good.
134.
Probabilistic Interference. In evaluating the interference scenario here, it is important to
account for its probabilistic nature. In order for mobile-to-mobile harmful interference actually to occur,
a number of worst case factors must all happen in conjunction with each other. These factors include that
the two mobile devices (1) must be in operation at the same time, (2) must be located in very close
proximity to each other, (3) must remain in close proximity for a significant period of time (i.e., proximity
must not be transient), (4) must be operating in a weak signal environment with both (a) the interfering
mobile transmitter operating at maximum power and (b) the PCS mobile receiver receiving a weak signal
and using frequencies most likely to lead to interference (e.g., the interfering device must be capable of
using the Lower H Block, actually transmitting on the Lower H Block, and transmitting on a resource
block(s) near the upper edge of that band; the PCS device must similarly be operating on a receive
frequency near or at the lower edge of the PCS band), and (5) must be operating in a line of sight
environment with respect to each other. Indeed, the Commission has described this issue for these bands
previously, stating that "[t]he worst case occurs when the mobile transmitter is operating at maximum
power (near the edge of its service area) at the upper edge of the band (near 1920 MHz) and the mobile
receiver is trying to receive a weak signal (near the edge of its service area) at the lower edge of the band
(near 1930 MHz) and only free space loss is considered."424
135.
In addition, mobile devices do not transmit continuously; rather, they transmit data in
bursts. For example, for LTE devices, mobile data is organized in resource blocks, which allocate a set of
subcarrier frequencies for a 1 ms (millisecond) time interval. The frequency and duration of these bursts,
or number of allocated resource blocks, depends upon traffic loads and signal conditions. For
interference to PCS mobile devices to occur the H Block mobile must be transmitting in the same time
interval that the PCS device is receiving. Thus, by transmitting in bursts, the likely use of LTE devices in
the H Block would further dilute the probability of interference occurring. In addition, wireless networks
constantly measure performance and seek to switch devices to alternative resources to improve call
quality (e.g., handoff to another channel or another base station).
136.
The record supports this description of the factors that generally need to occur to give rise
to mobile-to-mobile interference. For example, Sprint stated that "many factors come into play for such

421 See 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 6.6.3.3.2-1 (3GPP TS 36.101 v11.1.0, June 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.101/36101-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2013).
422 Every 3 dB of additional protection doubles the protection.
423 Sprint Letter of May 17, 2013.
424 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20731-32 22.
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mobile-to-mobile interference."425 It observed that interference would only occur if "(1) the PCS device
is attempting to receive a weak signal at the bottom end of the PCS band; (2) the two mobile devices are
located very near to each other; and (3) the H block device is transmitting at the same instant, with high
power and in the resource blocks at the upper end of the H block."426 Verizon Wireless concurred,
expressly stating that "Sprint is correct as to the circumstances in which interference will occur."427
Accordingly, we reiterate that mobile-to-mobile interference will occur only in specific situations, such as
those described above.
137.
The risk of mobile-to-mobile interference occurring is influenced by the low probability
of these worst-case circumstances occurring--they may occur, but do so infrequently--and by network
management practices, such as hand off and power management, that are designed to mitigate against
harmful interference. For example, Sprint states that LTE "spreads across the bandwidth, dynamically
controlling the power and number of subcarriers assigned to a particular device and reducing the need for
constraining OOBE limits."428 Moreover, as Sprint observes, "[p]robability certainly plays a large factor
as to when [the above] conditions would occur in the real world."429 We believe that the probability of
each of the described mobile-to-mobile interactions actually occurring is small individually, and quite
small viewed in combination.430 Thus, we disagree with Verizon Wireless's assertion that the
combination of circumstances resulting in interference does not "occur only rarely . . . [because] mobile
devices are most likely to be located very near to each other at indoor locations where users are likely to
receive a weaker signal."431 Although the confluence of worst case scenarios may occur more often
indoors than outdoors, it does not necessarily follow that these situations occur indoors with any
frequency; nor has Verizon Wireless provided any evidence showing that these factors occur frequently
indoors.432 Further, in areas where wireless providers anticipate recurring high density use of mobile
devices, providers typically engineer their networks to provide robust coverage, including for indoor
locations.
138.
We apply our discussion of the probabilistic nature of mobile-to-mobile interference to
our evaluations of the test reports, immediately below.

425 Sprint Reply at 11.
426 Id.
427 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2.
428 Sprint Reply at 10 n.36.
429 Id. at 11.
430 For example, in a 2008 submission to 3GPP, Motorola calculated that the transmit power of a mobile device will
be greater than 20 dBm (i.e., within 3 dB of full power) five percent of the time. Motorola, 3GPP TSG RANWG4
(Radio) Meeting #46 (Feb. 15, 2008)) ("LTE UE Power Distribution"), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/tsg_ran/wg4_radio/TSGR4_46/Docs/R4-080309.zip (last visited June 20, 2013). Factoring
in the various other low probability circumstances discussed above necessarily results in an overall probability
significantly less than five percent. For instance, if four low probability factors each would occur five percent of the
time, the probability of all of the circumstances occurring concurrently would be 0.00625%. And, as the probability
of these occurrences may be less than five percent, the probability of them all occurring may well be significantly
less. See Northpoint, 414 F.3d at 71 (an increase in the probability of a very unlikely event may remain a very
unlikely event; "Further, as the Commission pointed out at oral argument, a 10% increase in a 0.10.2%
unavailability is tiny indeed-at 0.010.02%.").
431 Verizon Wireless April 18 Letter at 2; see also Verizon Wireless Test Report at 81.
432 An increase in the probability of a very unlikely event may remain a very unlikely event. See Northpoint, 414
F.3d at 71 ("Further, as the Commission pointed out at oral argument, a 10% increase in a 0.10.2% unavailability is
tiny indeed-at 0.010.02%.").
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139.
Test Reports. While we believe it appropriate to act consistently with the Commission's
recent determination in the AWS-4 proceeding that an attenuation limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where P
is the transmitter power in watts, from the AWS-4 uplink band into the PCS downlink band at 1930-1995
MHz to set that same limit here for transmissions from the Lower H Block into the PCS downlink band,
we believe it appropriate to test this conclusion against the test reports submitted into the record here. As
explained above, parties submitted three test reports into the record. We assess these reports based on our
engineering expertise and with the goal of auctioning the Lower H Block in a manner that maximizes its
usefulness while protecting the PCS band from harmful interference, as required by the Spectrum Act.
140.
We have a number of concerns with the test reports. In particular, as we discuss above,
although we do not question the science behind the reports, we find a number of assumptions used by the
parties in their interference tests are overly conservative for use in setting reasonable OOBE limits.
Specifically, we find the testing (1) failed to fully account for the low probability of mobile-to-mobile
interference, (2) assumed an overly conservative required separation distance of 1 meter, (3) relied on
limiting interference to an overly conservative 1 dB desensitization level, (4) relied on an overly
restrictive user scenario that accounted for body loss only, as opposed to head and body loss, and
(5) included an unnecessary manufacturer's tolerance. We address each of our concerns with the test
reports, below, in turn.
141.
First, the test reports do not fully account for the highly probabilistic nature of OOBE
interference from the Lower H Block into the PCS downlink band. As explained above, many low
probability factors must occur in conjunction for interference to occur in a mobile-to-mobile scenario.
Because our charge is to prevent harmful interference, rather than all interference, accounting for the
likelihood that an instance of interference will occur is important in assessing whether the interference
scenario rises to the level of harmful interference. For example, as the Commission has said previously,
whether the user would actually notice the interference may be an important element of determining if
interference is harmful.433 Except for one factor--separation between devices, which we discuss
immediately below--no information provided in the test reports indicates that they accounted (or
attempted to account) for the probabilistic nature of the interference. Because the test reports did not fully
account for the probabilistic nature of the interference at issue, we believe they overstate the protection
from OOBE interference needed by licensees operating in the 1930-1995 MHz band.434
142.
Second, we examine the one probabilistic factor included in the test reports--separation
distance. The selection of the separation distance between devices is a key factor in determining the
probability of that interference could occur. As stated above, the Sprint Test Report, the Verizon
Wireless Test Report, and the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report all assumed a separation of 1 meter between
devices. A 1 meter separation is often used as a minimum separation distance in industry analyses of
mobile-to-mobile interference. Distances of less than 1 meter risk the possibility that near field antenna
coupling effects may distort the propagation between the two devices and undermine the assumption of
free space path loss. Again, as discussed earlier, the simple presence of interference is not necessarily the
same as harmful interference. To determine what interference is sufficient to be considered harmful, one
should consider whether there is a reasonable probability that the conditions necessary to create that
interference will occur. The Commission has previously supported a separation of 2 meters as an
appropriate assumption for the purposes of determining an acceptable level of interference. For example,
in the AWS Sixth Report and Order, the Commission expressed support for a 2 meter separation distance,
stating that "this short distance coupled with the low probability of occurrence of the worst-case scenario
(both mobiles at the edge of coverage, both operating at the edge of the band, both simultaneously active,

433 See supra Section III.A.4. (Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz, Determination of
No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band).
434 See supra 134.
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and both in close proximity to each other), make interference of this nature highly unlikely."435 More
recently, in the AWS-4 Report and Order, the Commission found it reasonable to rely on the 2 meter
separation distance proposed by Motorola Mobility in calculating interference limits.436 Accordingly, we
believe that a 1 meter separation distance represents an overly conservative value and that it is a more
realistic scenario to assume that the devices at issue are likely to be at least 2 meters apart.437
143.
Third, we turn to inputs used in the test reports that are not associated with the
probabilistic nature of the interference scenario, and start with the desensitization level. While the reports
use a 1 dB desensitization level, we believe a 3 dB level is more appropriate. The Sprint and Verizon
Wireless test reports include results of the testing for both the 1 dB and 3 dB desensitization levels, but
focused their analysis of the results on the 1 dB desensitization level.438 For purposes of the AT&T/T-
Mobile Test Report, AT&T and T-Mobile designed their test plan to use a 3 dB desensitization of the
receiver's sensitivity. The desensitization was based on the device's reference sensitivity per the standard
for the technology, rather than by the individual device's measured sensitivity (the approach used by
Sprint and Verizon Wireless). AT&T and T-Mobile described this test strategy as a typical design test,
observing that most link budgets, which drive the design of the network, use the standard's reference
sensitivity. Further, they stated that the reference sensitivity, as opposed to the individual device's
measured sensitivity allows all devices "to be tested in exactly the same environment" for a better
comparison of device performance.439
144.
A 1 dB desensitization level is defined as the level of interference at which the effective
noise floor of the system will rise by 1 dB, that is, the receiver sensitivity will be reduced by 1 dB. This
occurs when the interfering signal level is 6 dB below the noise floor of the receiver. Similarly, 3 dB
desensitization occurs when the level of interference is equal to the level of the receiver's system noise.
1 dB desensitization is most commonly used as an interference protection criterion for noise-limited
receiver systems.440 However, mobile cellular systems are inherently interference-limited; that is, the
prevailing interference is greater than noise sources. These systems are designed to perform in a strong
interference environment, much of which is often self-generated, coming from other network elements
(e.g., other nearby base stations in the same or adjacent bands).
145.
We believe that a noise-limited interference criterion (1 dB desensitization) is too
restrictive for modern cellular systems. This is reflected in industry standards for receiver performance,
such as the 3GPP2 standard for CDMA devices. As described above, the 3GPP2 standard for cdma2000
mobile devices sets several receiver performance requirements, including response to receiver overload
(blocking) and intermodulation. For example, 3GPP2 Requirement 3.5.2 for Single Tone Desensitization,
similar to the intermodulation tests performed by V-COMM, sets the level of the desired signal at either 3
dB or 10 dB above the reference sensitivity level.441 Similarly, under the 3GPP2 standard, receiver

435 See AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20734 25.
436 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16137-39, 58-59 84-86, 142, 144 (citing Motorola Mobility
AWS-4 Comments, WT Docket No. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Technical App. at A-1).
437 The free space propagation loss over 1 meter is 38 dB; and the free space propagation loss at 2 meters is 44 dB.
438 Sprint Test Report at 69-74; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 77-82.
439 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 3-4.
440 National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Interference
Protection Criteria: Phase 1, Compilation from Existing Sources ii (NTIA Report 05-432, Oct. 2005), available at
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/ipc_phase_1_report.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
441 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), Recommended Minimum Performance Standards for cdma2000
Spread Spectrum Mobile Stations, Standard requirement 3.5.2 at 3-84 (3GPP2 C.S0011-E, April 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp2.org/public_html/specs/C.S0011-E_v1.0_1x_MS_MPS_20120505.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
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blocking also permits sensitivity to degrade by 3 dB above its reference level in the presence of overload
interference while maintaining a 10% FER.442 CDMA is not the only technology to require the receiver
to operate properly in the presence of interference. The 3GPP standard for UMTS and LTE devices
specifies an in-band blocking requirement that sets the interfering signal level 6 dB or more above the
reference sensitivity level.443 Further, for GSM, the desired signal is set at 3 dB above reference
sensitivity for in-band and out-of-band blocking.444 These examples demonstrate that a desensitization of
3 dB in the presence of a specific interferer is acceptable in the above standards for determining receiver
performance and may be considered normal operation. In other words, these standards bodies have
considered a 3 dB desensitization level as an acceptable level of performance and have not viewed it as
indicative of harmful interference. In addition, in other proceedings, other parties and the Commission
have used a 3 dB desensitization of the receiver in analyzing similar mobile-to-mobile interference
scenarios. For example, in addressing a similar mobile-to-mobile interference scenario in the AWS-4
proceeding, the Commission viewed as reasonable a 3 dB desensitization level recommended by
Motorola Mobility.445 Finally, although the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report used a 1 dB desensitization
level for its conclusions, the report states that a 1 dB desensitization level is not typical. The AT&T/ T-
Mobile Test Report characterized the desired signal conditions used in the Sprint and Verizon Wireless
tests as representing worst case conditions.446 The report noted that "the disadvantage to this approach is
that we utilize an operating point that is probably well above the device's actual sensitivity. Thus, a
stronger interfering signal is required to realize impairment in performance."447 Moreover, in specifically
commenting on the appropriate desensitization level, the report states: "The 1 dB desense point was used
by AT&T/T-Mobile only because this is one of two operating points utilized in the filings from Sprint and
Verizon Wireless. It is not typically used during conformance or performance testing, primarily because
the measurement uncertainty associated with it is rather high. The measurement metric (throughput or
BER/FER) displays highly non-linear behavior."448 We observe that neither Sprint nor Verizon Wireless
explain why they used a 1 dB desensitization level. We therefore find that the 3 dB desensitization level
to be a more appropriate metric for determining the presence of harmful interference.
146.
Fourth, we assess the two user scenarios contained in the Sprint Test Report and the
Verizon Wireless Test Report and the different assumptions contained in the AT&T/T-Mobile Test
Report. In the Sprint and Verizon Wireless reports, V-COMM made certain assumptions on how the
device would be used and set up two user scenarios, one simulating data use and the other simulating a
user making a voice call. V-COMM assumed that, during data use, the device would be in held in the

442 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), Recommended Minimum Performance Standards for cdma2000
Spread Spectrum Mobile Stations, S0tandard requirement 3.5.5 at 3-93 (3GPP2 C.S0011-E, Apr. 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp2.org/public_html/specs/C.S0011-E_v1.0_1x_MS_MPS_20120505.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
443 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved
Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) Radio Transmission and Reception (Release 11),
Requirement 7.6.1.1 (TS 36.101 V10.7.0, June 2012), available at
http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/36_series/36.104/36104-b40.zip (last visited June 20, 2012); see also
AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 4.
444 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Technical Specification Group GSM/EDGE Radio Access Network,
Radio transmission and reception (Release 10), GSM standard requirement 5.1.2 at 46 (3GPP TS 45.005 V10.6.0,
Aug. 2012), available at http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/45_series/45.005/45005-a60.zip (last visited June
20, 2013); see also AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 4.
445 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16159 144 (citing Motorola Mobility AWS-4 Comments, WT
Docket No. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Technical App. at A-1).
446 AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report at 3.
447 Id. at 3-4.
448 Id. at 4 n.1.
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user's hand and would experience 3 dB in body loss. If both the interfering and receiving devices were
held in the hand, a total of 6 dB of body losses would occur. In the case of a user making a voice call,
where the device was held to the user's head, there would be 8 dB of combined head and body losses.
Thus, if both the transmitting and receiving users were engaged in a voice call, there would be a total of
16 dB of head and body losses. The analysis provided in the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report made no
provision for either head or body loss in setting the criteria for their analysis. The report stated, however,
that "additional losses, such as those attributable to the presence of the user's hand, holding the device to
the head, etc., would reduce both the Lower H Block power level and OOBE further."449 This statement
effectively acknowledges that head and body loss may be appropriate, yet the report does not apply any in
the analysis.
147.
The specific values of head and body loss can be affected by a number of factors,
particularly frequency, and do not have uniformly accepted values. For example, in the recently
concluded AWS-4 proceeding, Motorola assumed a 10 dB head and body loss.450 Both Sprint and
Verizon Wireless have adopted an 8 dB head and body loss in their respective test reports.451 We accept
these proposed values for body loss and head loss as within the range of reasonableness for our
calculations here. V-COMM calculated the OOBE limit required under both user scenarios. The OOBE
limit proposed by both Sprint and Verizon Wireless was based on the assumption that both devices are
being used for data. In previous Commission analyses of mobile-to-mobile interference, however, the
user scenario has been for voice use; that is, in prior Commission analysis, the total losses attributable to
head and body losses have been in the range of as much as 6 to 10 dB for each device (both the
transmitting and receiving device).452 Moreover, interference does not affect voice and data in the same
manner. The user is much more likely to notice interference during a voice call than during data use. The
provision of voice service requires low latency in the transmission link. Therefore, noise due to
interference can be immediately perceptible to the voice user. Harmful interference potentially can cause
the voice call to terminate. Data traffic, on the other hand, can be much more sporadic, even under good
signal conditions, and can often tolerate some data losses. If interference prevents data from being
received and properly decoded, the information may be retransmitted until it is received correctly. This
retransmission may cause delays in the data transmission, and effectively slow the data throughput rate,
but the data session likely will continue through to completion. Significantly, these delays are likely
imperceptible to the user in most data scenarios.453 As explained above, we consider that interference
should be judged harmful when it is readily perceptible to the user in most cases.454 Consequently,
because instances of interference are more likely to be perceptible to the voice user than to the data user,
we find it more appropriate to use the voice user case when setting the appropriate attenuation level
necessary to avoid OOBE interference.

449 Id. at 15.
450 Motorola Mobility Comments, WT Docket No. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Technical Appendix at
A-1.
451 Sprint Test Report at 7-8, Verizon Wireless Test Report at 7-8. As noted above, the AT&T/T-Mobile test report
does not propose values for head or body loss.
452 Motorola Mobility Comments, WT Docket No. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, Technical Appendix at
A-1 (for 10 dB value); Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission, Advanced
Wireless Service Interference Tests Results and Analysis, 13 & n.17 (Oct. 10, 2008) (for 6 dB value), available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-08-2245A2.pdf (last visited June 20, 2013).
453 We acknowledge that some data scenarios, such as real-time gaming, may be more susceptible to transmission
delays than other data scenarios, such as web browsing.
454 See supra Section III.A.4. (Spectrum Act-Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz
Band).
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148.
Fifth, we are concerned that the Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test Report
use a 3 dB "implementation margin" to adjust the proposed OOBE limit. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test
Report did not include an implementation margin. It is not clear what issue an implementation margin is
designed to address or why it is appropriate. In using a 3 dB implementation margin, the test reports
adjust the proposed OOBE limit from -69 dBm/MHz to -66 dBm/MHz (i.e., from 99 + 10 log10 (P) dB to
96 + 10 log10 (P) dB). Thus, unlike all of the test report inputs discussed above, inclusion of this input
results in making the OOBE less strict. The Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports state that the
adjusted OOBE limit "is consistent with OOBE limits proposed in the FCC NPRM in 2004 and 2008 . . .
[and] with 3GPP OOBE limits for UMTS and HSPA devices. . . . OOBE of all devices tested in 2004
comply with -66 dBm/MHz . . . pursuant to CTIA's H-Block tests."455 No reason was provided to support
a need for the OOBE limit we are now establishing to be consistent with earlier testing or earlier
Commission proposals. Rather, as we explain above, technology has advanced considerably since earlier
tests were performed and we would expect that the purpose of any new testing would be to provide
temporally relevant data, not to match earlier data. Thus, we question the propriety of including this
implementation margin.
149.
In light of all of these concerns with the test reports, we decline to use them as the basis
to establish the OOBE limit for Lower H Block emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band. Rather, as
explained above, we find it more appropriate to rely on Commission precedent for the same mobile-to-
mobile interference scenario we face here, but from the other end of the PCS band, to establish the OOBE
limit. We find that relying on this precedent is preferable to making the numerous adjustments that would
be necessary to rely on the studies, particularly given that it may not be possible to fully adjust the studies
to account for all of the issues detailed above, including, in particular, the probabilistic nature of the
interference. Finally, we observe that our rules contain a savings provision that permits the Commission,
in the event that harmful interference occurs, to require greater attenuation than the level we set here.456
150.
Measurement Procedure. The Commission proposed to apply the measurement
procedure used in the immediately adjacent PCS uplink band (1850-1915 MHz) to the OOBE limit set for
the Lower H Block.457 For this PCS band, the measurement bandwidth for mobile stations is one
megahertz or greater, with some modification in the one-megahertz bands immediately outside and
adjacent to the frequency block where a resolution bandwidth of at least one percent of the emission
bandwidth of the fundamental emission of the transmitter may be employed.458 No party commented on
this proposal. To treat mobile operations in the Lower H Block in an equivalent manner to mobile
operation in the adjacent PCS band, we therefore adopt the Commission's measurement procedure
proposal.
151.
Commenter Notification Proposal. We adopt a proposal set forth by T-Mobile to require
Lower H Block licensees to notify operators in the A Block of the PCS downlink band (1930-1945 MHz)
when the H Block licensee turns on service. T-Mobile proposed to require H Block licensees "to provide
notification to PCS A Block licensees when they turn on service in the H Block on a market-by-market
basis."459 T-Mobile argues that this requirement is needed because "GSM devices may not be adequately
protected" by our Lower H Block power limit and OOBE limit rules.460 T-Mobile asserts that this

455 Sprint Test Report at 72; Verizon Wireless Test Report at 80.
456 47 C.F.R. 27.53(n).
457 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16275 51.
458 47 C.F.R. 24.238(b).
459 T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2; see also T-Mobile June 12 Ex Parte Letter at 1.
460 See T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2.
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notification requirement would "assist[] PCS licensees in network planning to reduce the probability of
interference."461
152.
For the reasons stated above, we cannot determine that PCS licensees will experience
harmful interference from Lower H Block operations. Nevertheless, we adopt a notification requirement
out of an abundance of caution and in light of the specific statutory condition requiring that H Block
operations not cause harmful interference to PCS licensees. Although the Commission does not generally
require Part 27 licensees to provide notification to operators in adjacent or nearby bands when they
commence service, the Commission has done so in at least one instance. Specifically, the Commission
has required providers of 2.3 GHz WCS, a Part 27 service, to provide notification to certain providers
operating in nearby spectrum with notice 30 days before commencing operations of a new transmitting
site.462 Here, we have a statute that requires H Block operations not cause harmful interference to PCS
downlink operations and a PCS licensee with considerable operations in the lower portion of the PCS A
Block--the spectrum in closest proximity to the Lower H Block--stating that a notification requirement
would "assist PCS licensees in network planning to reduce the probability of interference."463 Thus,
while we believe that the technical rules we adopt above are sufficient to prevent harmful interference
from Lower H Block operations to PCS licensees operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band, we find
adoption of a notification requirement appropriate as an additional safeguard against harmful interference.
In the event, contrary to our predictive judgment, that we determine following such notification that H
Block uplink operations do result in harmful interference to A Block PCS downlink operations in any
particular location, we will take appropriate action to address such situations.
153.
In adopting this notification requirement, we provide basic parameters for how the
notification shall be provided. We do so to avoid confusion, despite the lack of details contained in the T-
Mobile proposal. T-Mobile requested H Block licensees provide PCS A Block licensees with notification
when the H Block licensee "turn[s] on service" on a "market-by-market basis."464 T-Mobile did not
define these terms. Because the interference scenario between the Lower H Block and the PCS downlink
band is one of mobile-to-mobile interference, we find it logical (for the sole purpose of the notification
requirement we adopt here) to equate turning on service to when a consumer mobile device begins to
operate in the band, i.e., when service is first provided to a consumer. In addition, we find it logical to
relate the term market (for the sole purpose of the notification requirement we adopt here) to the
geographic license area we adopt for the H Block--Economic Areas (EAs).465 Accordingly, we require
each Lower H Block licensee to provide all PCS A Block (1930-1945 MHz) licensees within the
geographic scope of the Lower H Block license with written notification that the H Block licensee has
begun providing service; such notice must be provided on the date when the Lower H Block licensee first
begins to provide service to a consumer using the Lower H Block.
3.

Canadian and Mexican Coordination

154.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to apply the approach used by AWS-1
operations to coordinate with Canada and Mexico to H Block operations.466 We adopt this approach and
observe that because of our shared borders with Canada and Mexico, the Commission routinely works in

461 Id.
462 See 47 C.F.R. 27.58(e); Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish Part 27, the Wireless
Communications Service ("WCS"), GN Docket No. 96-228, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 3977,
3984-85 15 (1997).
463 See T-Mobile May 13 Letter at 2.
464 Id.
465 See supra Section III.B.2. (Band Plan, Service Area).
466 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16275 52.
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conjunction with the United States Department of State and Canadian and Mexican government officials
to ensure the efficient use of the spectrum as well as interference-free operations in the border areas.
Until such time as any adjusted agreements, as needed, between the United States, Mexico and/or Canada
can be agreed to, operations must not cause harmful interference across the border, consistent with the
terms of the agreements currently in force. 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.
4.

Other Technical Issues

155.
In addition to the specific technical issues addressed above, the Commission also
proposed applying additional Part 27 rules to the H Block band.467 Specifically, the Commission
proposed applying the following rule sections: Section 27.51 (Equipment Authorization); Section 27.52
(RF Safety); Section 27.54 (Frequency Stability); Section 27.56 (Antenna structures; air navigation
safety); and Section 27.63 (Disturbance of AM broadcast station antenna patterns).468 The Commission
reasoned that because H Block will be licensed as an Advanced Wireless Service under Part 27, these
rules should apply to all licensees of H Block spectrum, including licensees who acquire their H Block
license through partitioning or disaggregation.469 No commenters opposed this proposal.470 Accordingly,
because these rules generally apply to all Part 27 services, and because, as we explain above, we find it
appropriate to license the H Block under our Part 27 regulatory framework,471 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 licensees of H Block.
156.
In the H Block NPRM the Commission observed that H Block spectrum is adjacent to
Broadband PCS spectrum, which is administered under Part 24, and that it is therefore possible that a
single entity could obtain licenses for both bands in the same geographic area and seek to deploy a wider
channel bandwidth in that area across both bands.472 If we permit operations under such a scenario, we

467 Id. at 16276 53-54.
468 Id.; 47 C.F.R. 27.51, 27.52, 27.54, 27.56, 27.63.
469 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16276 53.
470 In the H Block NPRM, the Commission directed commenters desiring to address a change in the Commission's
RF exposure standards to file in both the H Block proceeding and in ET Docket No. 03-137. See H Block NPRM, 27
FCC Rcd at 16276 53 n.95. Numerous parties submitted comments, replies, or ex parte filings into either the H
Block proceeding or ET Docket No. 03-137, or in most instances into both dockets, advocating that the Commission
re-examine its RF exposure standards. On March 27, 2013, the Commission adopted a First Report and Order,
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Notice of Inquiry on RF exposure issues. See Reassessment of Federal
Communications Commission Radiofrequency Exposure Limits and Policies, ET Docket No. 13-84, Notice of
Inquiry
, and Proposed Changes in the Commission's Rules Regarding Human Exposure to Radiofrequency
Electromagnetic Fields, ET Docket No. 03-137, First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, 28 FCC Rcd 3498 (2013). ET Docket No. 03-137 is mainly procedural, and does not reach the issue of
whether the Commission's limits on human exposure to RF energy are appropriate. ET Docket No. 13-84 is a new
docket in which the Commission seeks information and comment as to whether it should undertake a rulemaking to
revise its existing RF exposure standards. We hereby incorporate comments addressing the RF exposure standards
filed in the H Block proceeding, as well as those in ET Docket No. 03-137, until the release date of this H Block
Report and Order
, into the open proceeding on RF exposure issues in ET Docket No. 13-84, as appropriate.
Further, the Commission will periodically monitor the H Block proceeding for 30 days following publication of the
H Block Report and Order in the Federal Register to ensure that any additional misfiled relevant comments
addressing the RF exposure standards are appropriately considered in ET Docket No. 13-84.
471 See infra Section III.E.1. (Regulatory Status).
472 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16276 54.
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need to determine which rule part should govern the combined operations across the band.473 In the H
Block NPRM
, the Commission proposed to allow such operations and, should there be a conflict in the
rules applicable to both bands, to apply the more restrictive rule across the combined operations.474 No
party commented on these proposals. We continue to believe it is in the public interest to permit
operations across the PCS downlink band and the Upper H Block in the event that an entity obtains
licenses to operate in the same geographic area in both bands. In particular, because we adopt an EA-
based licensing scheme for H Block,475 and the PCS G Block, 1990-1995 MHz has been licensed on an
EA basis,476 we believe that by allowing an operator to unify operations across adjacent blocks may
benefit the public interest by providing consumers with better, more affordable services through increased
service coverage and eliminate redundancy. To ensure that this decision does not negatively affect
adjacent band licensees, we also adopt the Commission's proposal to apply the more restrictive rule
across the combined band in situations where the Part 24 and Part 27 interference or other technical rules
differ.477 For example, in the event a single licensee operates in a unified manner in a geographic area
across both the PCS G Block at 1990-1995 MHz and the Upper H Block, that entity would be required to
comply with the H Block requirement for OOBEs from the combined 1990-2000 MHz band into
frequencies above 2000 MHz.478

D.

Cost-Sharing

157.
Background--1915-1920 MHz Band. The 1915-1920 MHz band has historically been a
subset of a larger band at 1910-1930 MHz that is currently allocated for Fixed and Mobile services on a
primary basis.479 Before 1993, the 1910-1930 MHz band was allocated for Fixed services and used for
fixed point-to-point microwave links.480 In 1993, the Commission designated the 1910-1930 MHz band
for use by Unlicensed Personal Communications Service (UPCS) devices.481 To facilitate the
introduction of UPCS systems, the Commission designated the Unlicensed PCS Ad Hoc Committee for 2
GHz Microwave Transition and Management (now known as "UTAM, Inc.") as the sole entity to
coordinate and manage the transition.482 In accordance with the Commission's policies established in the

473 Id.
474 Id.
475 See supra Section III.B.2.b. (Service Area Size).
476 47 C.F.R. 24.229(c).
477 This decision is limited to interference or other technical rules. It does not apply to other rules, such as license
term, renewal criteria, or performance requirements.
478 See supra Section III.C.1.b. (Technical Issues, Upper H Block, 1995-2000 MHz OOBE Limits).
479 See 47 C.F.R. 2.106, 101.69; see also 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, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, 19 FCC Rcd 19263, 19267, 19278 7, 35 (2004) (AWS-2 NPRM).
480 See 47 C.F.R. 2.106 (1992).
481 In the Matter of Redevelopment of Spectrum to Encourage Innovation in the Use of New Telecommunications
Technologies, 8 FCC Rcd 6589 (1993); see 47 C.F.R. Part 15 Radio Frequency Devices. Subpart D of Part 15 is
titled "Unlicensed Personal Communications Service Devices."
482 See Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, GEN Docket
No. 90-314, Second Report and Order, 8 FCC Rcd 7700, 7738 88 (1993); see also 47 C.F.R. 15.307 (UTAM
designated to manage transition of 1910-1930 MHz band from fixed microwave under Part 101 to Unlicensed PCS).
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Emerging Technologies proceeding,483 UTAM subsequently relocated virtually all of the incumbent
microwave links, thereby clearing the 1910-1930 MHz band for use by UPCS systems.
158.
In 2003, the Commission sought comment on re-designating all or a portion of the 1910-
1920 MHz segment for AWS use.484 In 2004, the Commission re-designated the 1910-1915 MHz band
from the UPCS to Fixed and Mobile services and assigned that spectrum to Sprint Nextel, Inc. ("Sprint")
as replacement spectrum for Sprint's operations being relocated from the 800 MHz band.485 Sprint then
reimbursed UTAM soon after it received its licenses for the 1910-1915 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands
from the Commission.486 Shortly after re-designating the 1910-1915 MHz band, the Commission also
re-designated the 1915-1920 MHz band from UPCS to use by licensed AWS operations.487 In so doing,
the Commission acknowledged that "UTAM must be fully and fairly reimbursed for relocating incumbent
microwave users in this band" and determined "that UTAM should be made whole for the investments it
has made in clearing the UPCS bands."488 Relative to the Lower H Block, the Commission specifically
concluded that "UTAM is entitled to reimbursement of twenty-five percent--on a pro-rata basis--of the
total costs it has incurred . . . as of the date that a new entrant gains access to the 1915-1920 MHz
spectrum band."489 The Commission also determined that AWS licensees would be required to pay their
portion of the twenty-five percent of costs prior to commencement of their operations.490 In total, the
relocation costs attributable to the Upper H Block licenses amounts to $12,629,857.491
159.
1995-2000 MHz Band. The 1995-2000 MHz band is part of the 1990-2025 MHz band
that the Commission reallocated from the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) to emerging technologies

483 See Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, GEN Docket
No. 90-314, Second Report and Order, 8 FCC Rcd 7700, 7738 88 (1993); see also Redevelopment of Spectrum to
Encourage Innovation in the Use of New Telecommunications Technologies, ET Docket No. 92-9, First Report and
Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rule Making
, 7 FCC Rcd 6886 (1992); Second Report and Order, 8 FCC Rcd
6495 (1993); Third Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order, 8 FCC Rcd 6589 (1993);
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 1943 (1994); Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd
7797 (1994), aff'd, Ass'n of Public Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. v. FCC, 76 F.3d 395 (D.C.
Cir. 1996) (collectively, "Emerging Technologies proceeding").
484 AWS Third Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 2223, 2247-48 46-49.
485 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, WT Docket 02-55, Report and Order,
Fourth Report and Order, Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Order,
19 FCC Rcd 14969, 15085, 15088
223, 227 (2004) (800 MHz Report and Order). In the 800 MHz Report and Order, the Commission imposed on
the licensee of the 1910-1915 MHz band an obligation to reimburse UTAM for twenty percent of its total costs in
clearing the 1910-1930 MHz band as of the date it gains access to the 1910-1915 MHz band (i.e., reimbursement in
direct proportion to the 5:20 relationship in the sizes of the 1910-1915 MHz spectrum blocks).
486 See UTAM Comments at 2.
487 AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20740 41.
488 Id. at 20745 53.
489 Id.
490 See id.
491 $12,629,857 is the amount UTAM has identified for years as the amount collectively owed by future Lower H
Block licensees to UTAM for UTAM's clearing of the 1910-1930 MHz band; that is, this amount represents one-
fourth of UTAM's total reimbursable clearing costs for the entire 1910-1930 MHz band. See, e.g., UTAM
Comments at 3; Letter from Michael Stima, Managing Director, UTAM, Inc. to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 04-356, at Attach. 1 (filed May 21, 2007);
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such as PCS, AWS, and Mobile Satellite Service (MSS).492 Consistent with the relocation and cost-
sharing principles first established in the Commission's Emerging Technologies proceeding, each new
entrant had an independent responsibility to relocate incumbent BAS licensees.493 Under these
procedures, the first new entrant into the band that incurs relocation expenses for the relocation of
incumbents from portions of the band that the new entrant will not occupy is, as a general matter, eligible
to obtain reimbursement from subsequent entrants in the band.494 More specifically, the Commission
determined that an AWS entrant's cost-sharing obligation for the 1995-2000 MHz band will be triggered
upon the final grant of the long form application for each of its licenses.495 Sprint, which is the PCS
licensee at 1990-1995 MHz, completed the BAS transition for the entire 35 megahertz in 2010.496 In
2011, Sprint notified the Commission that it entered into a private settlement with DISH to resolve the
dispute with MSS licensees with respect to MSS licensees' obligation to reimburse Sprint for the MSS
licensees' shares of the BAS relocation costs related to the 2000-2020 MHz band.497 Accordingly, the
only remaining cost-sharing obligations in the 1990-2025 MHz band are attributable to the remaining,
unassigned ten megahertz of spectrum in the 1990-2025 MHz band: 1995-2000 MHz and 2020-2025
MHz.498 Because the 1995-2000 MHz band represents one-seventh of the relocated BAS spectrum, the
relocation costs collectively attributable to the Upper H Block licenses amounts to a total of
$94,875,516.499

492 See 47 C.F.R. 74.690. Of the total 35 megahertz of spectrum, five megahertz was authorized for PCS and held
by Sprint; 10 megahertz is authorized for, and to be auctioned and licensed as, AWS; and 20 megahertz is authorized
and licensed for MSS and AWS-4.
493 Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 02-55, ET Docket No. 00-258,
ET Docket No. 95-18, Fifth Report and Order, Eleventh Report and Order, Sixth Report and Order, and
Declaratory Ruling
, 25 FCC Rcd 13874, 13876 5 (2010) (2010 BAS Order); see Improving Public Safety
Communications in the 800 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 02-55, ET Docket No. 00-258, ET Docket No. 95-18,
Report and Order, Fifth Report and Order, Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Order, 19 FCC Rcd
15095, 15099 252, 261 (2004). Cf. AWS Sixth Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 20753 72-73 (determining
that all new entrants to the 1990-2025 MHz band may be required to bear a proportional share of the costs incurred
in the BAS clearance on a pro rata basis according to the amount of spectrum each licensee is assigned).
494 47 C.F.R. 27.1160-1174, 101.82.
495 2010 BAS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 13896 50.
496 Letter from Brett S. Haan, 800 MHz Transition Administrator, LLC, to David L. Furth, Deputy Chief, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (May 13, 2011), at 2, citing Letter
from Robert H. McNamara, Sprint Nextel Corporation, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications
Commission, WT Docket No. 02-55 (dated July 15, 2010). Sprint has stated that the pro rata share of the overall
BAS relocation costs attributable to each five megahertz of relocated BAS spectrum amounts to $94,875,516. See
Letter from Marc S. Martin, Counsel For Sprint Nextel Corporation, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, WT Docket Nos. 12-70, 04-356, ET Docket No. 10-142, at 1-2, Attach. 1 (filed July
9, 2012) (Sprint July 9 Letter).
497 See Applications of New DBSD Satellite Services G.P., Debtor-in-Possession, and TerreStar Licensee Inc.,
Debtor-in-Possession, Withdrawal of Petition to Condition Approval of Sprint Nextel Corporation, IB Docket No.
11-149 (Nov. 3, 2011) (informing the Commission that Sprint had reached an agreement with DISH to settle their
outstanding disputes).
498 Five megahertz in the 1990-2025 MHz band is currently part of the Lower J Block (2020-2025 MHz). This
proceeding does not address cost-sharing obligations, or any other matters, for the 2020-2025 MHz band. The
Commission intends to address the one-seventh owed to Sprint for the relocation costs associated with the 2020-
2025 MHz band in a separate proceeding that addresses service rules for that band.
499 See Sprint July 9 Letter at 1-2, Attach. 1.
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160.
H Block NPRM. In the 2012 H Block NPRM, the Commission again sought comment on
how to apportion UTAM's reimbursement among Lower H Block licensees and Sprint's reimbursement
among Upper H Block licensees.500 The Commission observed that it is important to provide auction
bidders with reasonable certainty as to the range of the reimbursement obligation associated with each
license under various auction outcomes.501 Further, with regard to the Lower H Block, the Commission
also expressed concern that the rules enable UTAM to be fully reimbursed as soon as possible given that
UTAM cleared the band over ten years ago.502 The Commission therefore proposed to require Lower H
Block licensees to pay a pro rata amount of the twenty-five percent owed to UTAM based on the gross
winning bids of the initial H Block auction.503 Specifically, the Commission proposed that the
reimbursement amount owed ("RN") be determined by dividing the gross winning bid ("GWB") for an H
Block license (i.e., an individual EA) by the sum of the gross winning bids for all H Block licenses won
in the initial auction and then multiplying by $12,629,857, the total amount owed to UTAM for clearing
the 1915-1920 MHz band.504 In other words, the cost-sharing formula for the Lower H Block, as
proposed in the H Block NPRM, read as follows:
EA GWB
RN = (
) x$12,629,857
Sum of GWBs
The Commission also observed that Sprint has already cleared the Upper H Block, thereby enabling
licensees to benefit from the band clearing as soon as they obtain licenses.505 The Commission thus
proposed the same cost-sharing formula for the upper band, as it did for the lower band, applying Sprint's
(rather than UTAM's) clearing costs of $94,875,516 in the formula for the Upper H Block. Thus the
proposed formula read as follows:
EA GWB
RN = (
) x$94,875,516
Sum of GWBs
161.
The Commission proposed these formulas in an effort to ensure that UTAM and Sprint
receive full reimbursement after the first auction by effectively apportioning the reimbursement costs
associated with any unsold H Block licenses among the winning bidders of all of the licenses sold in the
first auction--with an exception in the event a successful bidder's long-form application is not filed or

500 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16278-79, 16281-82 58-60, 64-66.
501 Id. at 16278, 16281 58, 64.
502 Id. at 16278 58. The Commission also expressed concern that Sprint be fully reimbursed as soon as possible,
given that it had already cleared the band, so that H Block licensees would receive unencumbered spectrum. Id. at
16281 64.
503 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16278, 16281 58, 64.
504 This amount--$12,629,857--is the amount UTAM has identified for years as the amount collectively owed by
future Lower H Block licensees to UTAM for UTAM's clearing of the 1910-1930 MHz band; that is, this amount
represents one-fourth of UTAM's total reimbursable clearing costs for the entire 1910-1930 MHz band. See UTAM
Comments at 3; Letter from Michael Stima, Managing Director, UTAM, Inc. to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 04-356, at Attach. 1 (filed May 21, 2007); H Block NPRM,
27 FCC Rcd at 16278 58. No party has disputed this amount in the record before us.
505 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16281 64; 2010 BAS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 13896 50 ("Once the AWS
entrant's long form application has been granted, signifying the issuance of a license, the AWS entrant will be in the
position to roll out service and benefit from Sprint's relocation of the BAS incumbents.").
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granted,506 and subject to one contingency, discussed below. Further, the Commission proposed that
winning bidders of H Block licenses in the first auction would not have a right to seek reimbursement
from other H Block licensees, including for licenses granted as a result of subsequent auctions.507 The
Commission sought comment on these proposals, including on their associated costs and benefits.
162.
In addition, the Commission sought comment on the relative costs and benefits of
adopting its alternative population based cost-sharing formula as the general rule for the H Block.508 The
Commission acknowledged that using a population based approach in all events would offer bidders
greater certainty as to the obligation attached to each license, but would decrease the likelihood that
UTAM would be fully compensated for clearing the band after the initial auction.509
163.
Regardless of which basis the Commission adopts for its cost-sharing formula, the
Commission proposed a contingency that would be triggered in the unlikely event that licenses cover less
than forty percent of the population of the United States510 won in the first auction.511 The Commission
proposed that, in such an event, winning bidders--in the first auction, as well as in subsequent auctions--
would be required to timely pay UTAM and Sprint, respectively, their pro rata share calculated by
dividing the population of the individual EA granted as a result of auction by the total U.S. population
and then multiplying this quotient by $12,629,857 for UTAM and by $94,875,516 for Sprint. This
contingency would ensure that UTAM and Sprint are reimbursed as soon as possible while also protecting
H Block winning bidders from bearing an undue burden of the reimbursement obligations due to UTAM
and to Sprint.512
164.
The Commission also sought comment, including on the costs and benefits, on the
appropriate sunset date for the reimbursement obligation for the Upper H Block.513 Specifically, the
Commission proposed a sunset date for cost-sharing obligations of Upper H Block licensees to Sprint of
"ten years after the first [AWS Upper] H Block license is issued in the band."514 The Commission
reasoned, in part, that because bidders can internalize their reimbursement costs into their bids for H
Block licenses, and because winning bidders are the ultimate beneficiaries of the band clearing, this
sunset date does not impose undue burdens on the H Block winning bidders.515
165.
Finally, the Commission proposed that winning bidders must pay UTAM and Sprint,
respectively, the amount owed, as calculated pursuant to the formula ultimately adopted by the

506 The Commission imposes payment obligations on bidders that withdraw provisionally winning bids during the
course of an auction, on those that default on payments due after an auction closes, and on those that are
disqualified. See 47 C.F.R. 1.2110(f)(2)(i). To the extent such were to occur and a winning bidder were not
granted a license, the Commission proposed that the EA license at issue be deemed to have triggered a
reimbursement obligation that will be paid to UTAM by the licensee acquiring the license at a re-auction.
507 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16279, 16281-82 59, 65.
508 Id. at 16279 60.
509 Id.
510 In such a scenario the population would be measured using 2010 Census data, which is the most recent decennial
census data.
511 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16279, 16281-82 59, 65.
512 Id.
513 Id. at 16282-83 68.
514 Id. at 16283 68.
515 Id.
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Commission, within thirty days of grant of their long-form license applications. The Commission sought
comment on this proposal, including on its associated costs and benefits.516
166.
The Record. Commenters generally supported the adoption of reimbursement formulas
that apportion the relocation costs attributable to the Lower H Block and attributable to the Upper H
Block, respectively, on a pro rata basis among H Block licensees.517 Commenters were mixed on
whether we should adopt a cost-sharing formula that is based on gross winning bids or population. For
example, C Spire and MetroPCS argued that a population based formula provide bidders with greater
certainty as to their reimbursement obligations.518 CCA and Sprint opposed a population based formula,
arguing that it could delay final reimbursement for UTAM and Sprint in the event that all geographic
areas are not licensed in the initial auction.519 Commenters supported the Commission's proposal to
require prompt payment of cost-sharing reimbursement obligations.520 Sprint, moreover, proposed that
the Commission take the additional step of not issuing the actual licenses until reimbursement payments
are made.521 Finally, Sprint is the only party that commented on the proposed sunset date for the Upper H
Block cost-sharing requirements, arguing in support of the Commission's proposal.522
167.
Discussion. We adopt the cost-sharing proposals and formulas made by the Commission
in the H Block NPRM both for the Lower H Block and for the Upper H Block. We conclude, given the
record before us and Commission precedent, that this approach is in the public interest and that the
benefits of this approach likely outweigh any potential costs. First, as detailed above, the Commission
has long established that cost-sharing obligations for both the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block
should be apportioned on a pro rata basis against the relocation costs attributable to the particular band.523
Consistent with the record before us,524 we follow that precedent here.
168.
Second, we adopt cost-sharing formulas based on gross winning bids, rather than on
license area populations. Such an approach will enable both UTAM and Sprint, who cleared the
respective bands years ago, to receive full reimbursement after the first auction, as it results in
apportioning the reimbursement associated with any unsold H Block licenses among the winning bidders
in the first auction.525 We also adopt the Commission's proposal in the H Block NPRM, which was
supported by the only commenter that addressed it, Sprint,526 that winning bidders in the first auction may
not seek reimbursement from other H Block licensees, including for licenses granted as a result of
subsequent auctions. As we explained in the H Block NPRM and Sprint echoed in its comments, this
approach is fair and will minimize record keeping burdens and the likelihood of disputes between

516 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16279 61, 67.
517 See CCA Comments at 14-16; C Spire Comments at 6; Sprint Comments at 10-12; and UTAM Comments at 1,
3.
518 See C Spire Comments at 6; MetroPCS Comments at 18-19.
519 See CCA Comments at 15; Sprint Reply at 22-23.
520 See CCA Comments at 14-16; C Spire Comments at 6; Sprint Comments at 12-14; Sprint Reply at 20; UTAM
Comments at 3.
521 See Sprint Comments at 13-14; Sprint Reply at 20-21.
522 See Sprint Comments at 14-15; Sprint Reply at 21 n.96.
523 See supra Section III.D. (Cost-Sharing, Background--1915-1920 MHz Band].
524 See CCA Comments at 14-16; C Spire Comments at 6; Sprint Comments at 10-12; and UTAM Comments at 1,
3.
525 See Sprint Reply at 21-23; UTAM Comments at 3-4.
526 See Sprint Comments at 14.
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parties.527 A gross winning bids approach is also superior to a population approach because it better
reflects the market value associated with each license at the time of the auction. For example, some
license areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico, may have a relative value that is not directly tied to population.
In such a case, a population-based formula may not fairly apportion relocation costs among the winning
bidders. In response to concerns that a gross winning bids approach can lead to greater uncertainty if
fewer licenses are sold, however, we adopt the contingency proposed in the H Block NPRM--if licenses
won in the first auction cover less than forty percent of the population of the United States, then the cost-
sharing formula will be based on population in the first auction, as well as in subsequent actions.528
169.
Third, to avoid confusion, we reiterate the Commission's earlier findings that Sprint may
not receive reimbursement for the same costs both from AWS entrants into the Upper H Block and from
the 800 MHz true-up.529 For example, in the 2010 BAS Order, the Commission:
adopt[ed] a policy affirming . . . that Sprint [] may not both receive credits in the 800
MHz true-up and receive reimbursement from the . . . AWS entrants for the same costs.
This has been the rule since the cost sharing requirements were adopted in the 800 MHz
R&O
, and is necessary; to prevent Sprint [] from receiving an unjustified windfall, and no
party has objected to this conclusion.530
170.
Fourth, we adopt the Commission's proposal to require winning bidders to pay UTAM
and Sprint, respectively, the amounts owed within thirty days of the grant of the winning bidders' long-
form license applications.531 For PCS, AWS-1, and AWS-4 licensees, cost-sharing obligations are
triggered when a licensee proposes to operate a base station in an area cleared of incumbents by another
licensee.532 In this case, however, for the Lower H Block, UTAM's members received no benefit for
clearing the spectrum nationwide over ten years ago, and the Commission determined in 2003 that the
new PCS/AWS licensees entering the band would reap the benefits of UTAM's efforts and that UTAM
should be fully reimbursed.533 Similarly, for the Upper H Block, rather than Sprint itself benefiting from
its clearing efforts (except if Sprint is the winning bidder), other entrants in the band will reap the benefits
of Sprint's clearing efforts. Consequently, we find it appropriate to set the deadline for H Block winning
bidders to reimburse UTAM and Sprint, respectively, at thirty days after the grant of long-form license
applications.
171.
This prompt payment requirement protects the integrity of the Commission's Emerging
Technologies band clearing and cost-sharing policies, including demonstrating fairness to UTAM and

527 H Block NPRM, FCC Rcd at 16278, 16281 59, 65; Sprint Comments at 14.
528 In such a scenario the population would be measured using 2010 Census data, which is the most recent decennial
census data.
529 Compare AT&T Comments at 11-13 and AT&T Reply at 8 with Sprint Reply at 21-22.
530 2010 BAS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 13900 62.
531 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16279 61.
532 Amendment to the Commission's Rules Regarding a Plan for Sharing the Costs of Microwave Relocation, WT
Docket No. 95-157, First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 11 FCC Rcd 8825, 8909
( 24.247) (1996) (Cost-Sharing Order and NPRM); 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 Generate Wireless Systems, WT Docket No. 02-353, ET Docket No. 00-258, Ninth Report
and Order
, 21 FCC Rcd 4473, 4541 App. A ( 27.1168) (2006) (AWS-1 Ninth Report and Order); AWS-4 Report
and Order
, 27 FCC Rcd at 16244, App. A ( 27.1168).
533 AWS Third Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 2251 58 (UTAM cleared the band in the expectation that it
would be used for UPCS to the benefit of its members that manufacture such devices, and the Commission's
reallocation of the band denied them the opportunity of any future use of the band by UPCS).
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Sprint, both of whom will receive reimbursement years after clearing the band to the benefit of others.
We believe that the benefit of process integrity along with the benefit of prompt payment to UTAM and
to Sprint significantly outweighs any potential costs to winning bidders resulting from their pay their
reimbursements promptly (i.e., within thirty days of the grant of their long-form applications). All parties
who commented on this issue supported the proposed prompt payment requirement.534 Further, we
believe that our requirement that AWS winning bidders must pay their cost-sharing obligation within
thirty days is consistent with the general approach to payment timing for cost-sharing that the
Commission has applied to AWS spectrum,535 and is consistent with the 2010 BAS Order's approach to
payment timing in the Upper H Block in particular. There, at a time when the total costs for clearing the
Upper H Block were not yet known, the Commission required AWS entrants in that spectrum band to
make payment within thirty days of receiving documentation of Sprint's ultimate clearing costs.536 Now,
these costs are known for both the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block, and have been for some
time.537 Thus, we find it appropriate to start the thirty-day reimbursement clock from the date on which
the AWS entrants cost-sharing obligations inure--i.e., upon final grant of the long-form application for
each of their licenses.
172.
Fifth, we decline to adopt Sprint's proposal that, in addition to the thirty-day prompt
payment requirement, the Commission should not issue Upper H Block licenses until payment has been
made. We decline to adopt this proposal because it is inconsistent with the Commission's findings on this
issue in the 2010 BAS Order. There, the Commission expressly declined to adopt policies or procedures
in the event that a party fails to pay its cost-sharing reimbursements. Instead, the Commission determined
to "address complaints regarding failure to make requirement payments . . . through our existing
enforcement mechanisms."538 Sprint has provided no rationale for why we should reverse this
determination now, and we decline to do so.
173.
Because we are requiring winning bidders to pay Sprint within thirty days of grant of
their long form applications, we expect that Upper H Block licensees will reimburse Sprint well before
any sunset date. However, if licenses covering less than forty percent of the population of the United
States are granted as a result of the first auction, licensees in subsequent auctions will incur an obligation
to reimburse Sprint at a later date, which could make the sunset date relevant. Therefore, we will adopt
the Commission's proposal to set a sunset date for the cost-sharing obligations of Upper H Block
licensees to Sprint of ten (10) years after the first Upper H Block licenses is issued. This approach is
consistent with the record.539 It is also consistent with the Commission's general Emerging Technologies
precedent, where relocation and cost-sharing obligations generally sunset ten years after the first
emerging technologies licenses is issued in the relevant band.540 In addition, setting ten-year sunset date

534 See CCA Comments at 14-16; C Spire Comments at 6; Sprint Comments at 12-14; Sprint Reply at 20; UTAM
Comments at 3.
535 47 C.F.R. 27.1170 (requiring that AWS entities file detailed notices with the Commission before initiating
operations and requiring that such AWS entities pay within 30 days of their receipt of the amount of their cost-
sharing obligations from the clearinghouse).
536 2010 BAS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 13902 68.
537 See supra Section III.D. (Cost-Sharing, Background--1915-1920 MHz Band).
538 2010 BAS Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 13904 73.
539 See Sprint Comments at 14-15; Sprint Reply at 21 n.96.
540 See Emerging Technologies proceeding, supra n.483.; 47 U.S.C. 101.79(a)(1)-(a)(2); AWS-4 Report and
Order
, 27 FCC Rcd at 16211-12, 16214 298-299, 306; cf. Amendment of Section 2.106 of the Commission's
Rules to Allocate Spectrum at 2 GHz for use by the Mobile Satellite Service, ET Docket Nos. 00-258, 95-18, IB
Docket No. 01-185, Third Report and Order and Third Memorandum Opinion and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 23638,
23670-71 64, 66 (2003) ("MSS Third R&O") (setting a sunset date for the 1990-2025 MHz band of ten years after
(continued....)
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should not impose a significant burden on H Block winning bidders because the H Block licenses have
not yet been assigned and because interested applicants will be able to factor their reimbursement
obligations to Sprint into their bids.

E.

Regulatory Issues; Licensing and Operating Rules

174.
The regulatory framework we adopt below establishes the license term, criteria for
renewal, and other licensing and operating rules that will govern operations in the H Block. In the H
Block NPRM
, the Commission proposed generally to apply to the H Block the Commission's market-
oriented Part 27 rules, including, in particular, the Commission's Part 27 rules applicable to other AWS
bands, and the Commission's wireless rules that are generally applicable across multiple commercial
bands.541 As detailed below, we adopt the proposals contained in the H Block NPRM on these matters
except where otherwise indicated.
1.

Regulatory Status

175.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to apply the regulatory
status provisions of Section 27.10 of the Commission's rules to H Block licensees.542 The Commission's
current service license application requires applicants for and licensees of fixed or mobile services to
identify the regulatory status of the services they intend to provide543 because service offerings may bear
on other statutory and regulatory requirements.544 Specifically, Section 27.10 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).545 Part 27 applicants therefore may, but are not required to, choose between providing common
carrier and non-common carrier services. Thus, licensees would be able to provide all allowable services
anywhere within their licensed areas, consistent with their regulatory status.546 Apart from this
designation of regulatory status, the Commission did not propose to require applicants to describe the
services they seek to provide.547 Finally, the Commission proposed that, if a licensee changes the service
or services it offers such that its regulatory status would change, the licensee would be required to notify
the Commission.548 A change in a licensee's regulatory status would not require prior Commission
authorization, provided the licensee was in compliance with the foreign ownership requirements of
Section 310(b) of the Communications Act that would apply as a result of the change, consistent with the
(Continued from previous page)
publication of the Report and Order.)
541 See generally H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16283-94 69-101.
542 Id. at 16283-84 70.
543 See, e.g., Rulemaking to Amend Parts 1, 2, 21, and 25 of the Commission's Rules to Redesignate the 27.5-29.5
GHz Frequency Band, to Reallocate the 29.5-30.0 GHz Frequency Band, to Establish Rules and Policies for Local
Multipoint Distribution Service and for Fixed Satellite Services, CC Docket No. 92-297, Second Report and Order,
Order on Reconsideration, and Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 12 FCC Rcd 12545, 12636-38, 12644-45,
12652-54 205-208, 225-226, 245-251 (1997) (LMDS Second Report and Order) (requiring applicants to indicate
if they planned to offer services as a common carrier, a non-common carrier, or both, and to notify the Commission
of any changes in status), aff'd, Melcher v. FCC, 134 F.3d 1143 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
544 See, e.g., infra Section III.E.2.a. (Regulatory Issues, Ownership Restrictions, Foreign Ownership Reporting).
545 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).
546 For instance, we note that to the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile Radio Service, such service
would be subject to the provisions of Part 20 of the Commission's rules. 47 C.F.R. Part 20.
547 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 71 (citing Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10848 121;
LMDS Second Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 12644 223; 47 C.F.R. 101.1013).
548 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 72 (citing 47 C.F.R. 27.10(d); 47 C.F.R. 27.66).
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Commission's rules for AWS-1 spectrum.549 The Commission sought comment on this regulatory status
proposal, including the associated costs and benefits.550 Only one commenter, CCA, directly addressed
the Commission's proposal, requesting that licensees be permitted "to provide all allowable services
throughout their licensed area," while not being required to specify their regulatory status.551
176.
Discussion. We adopt the Commission's proposal to apply Section 27.10 of our rules to
the H Block. Under this flexible regulatory approach, H Block licensees may provide common carrier,
non-common carrier, private internal communications or any combination of these services, so long as the
provision of service otherwise complies with applicable service rules.552 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. Thus,
based on the record before us, we conclude that this approach is in the public interest and that its benefits
likely outweigh any potential costs.
177.
We therefore require H Block applicants and licensees to identify the regulatory status of
the services or services they intend to provide. Applicants and licensees are not required to describe their
particular services in detail, but only to designate the regulatory status of the services. We remind
potential applicants that an election to provide service on a common carrier basis typically requires that
the elements of common carriage be present;553 otherwise, applicants must choose non-common carrier
status.554 If potential applicants are unsure of the nature of their services and their classification as
common carrier services, they may submit a petition with their applications, or at any time, requesting
clarification and including service descriptions for that purpose.555
178.
The only commenter that directly addressed the Commission's proposal, CCA, stated that
"H Block licensees should not be required to choose between providing common carrier and non-common
carrier services" and that they should not "be required to describe the services they intend to provide prior
to obtaining a license."556 According to CCA, the FCC should adopt a rule that permits H Block licensees
"to provide all allowable services throughout their licensed area at any time, consistent with their
regulatory status."557 To the extent that CCA is asking that H Block licensees be able to provide all
allowable services and be permitted to request common carrier status as well as non-common carrier
status, these propositions are already embodied in the rule that we adopt.558 And to the extent that CCA is

549 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 72; see also 47 U.S.C. 310(b); infra Section III.E.2.a. (Regulatory
Issues, Ownership Restriction, Foreign Ownership).
550 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16285 72.
551 See CCA Comments at 7-8.
552 See 47 C.F.R. 27.10.
553 See 47 U.S.C. 153(51) ("A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under this chapter
only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunication services"); 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 chapter.").
554 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 71; Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10848 121-22. The
Commission examined services in the LMDS Second Report and Order and explained that any video programming
service would be treated as a non-common carrier service. LMDS Second Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at
12639-42 213-17.
555 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 71; Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10848 121.
556 CCA Comments at 7. Numerous other commenters, while not addressing this issue specifically, supported
applying the Part 27 rules generally to the H Block. See AT&T Comments at 7-9; CCA Comments at 7-11; C Spire
Comments at 9-10; MetroPCS Comments at 6-8; Sprint Comments at 9; T-Mobile Comments at 7-9.
557 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 70; CCA Comments at 7-8.
558 See 47 C.F.R. 27.10.
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asking that H Block licensees not be required to describe the services they seek to provide beyond
designating their regulatory status, that proposition is also already embodied in the rule that we adopt.559
To the extent, however, that CCA is arguing that H Block licensees should not be required to designate
their regulatory status, we must disagree. This requirement applies to all Part 27 services and licensees.560
By requiring Part 27 licensees to designate their regulatory status, the Commission is able to determine
whether licensees are subject to Title II and governed by common carrier requirements.561 Applying this
requirement to H Block licensees results in the same regulatory treatment for such licensees as exists for
other Part 27 licensees, as this rule generally applies to all Part 27 licensees.562
179.
Finally, consistent with the application of this rule for other bands and with the
Commission's proposal in the H Block NPRM, we determine 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
within thirty days of making the change.563 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.564 We
note, however, that a different time period (other than thirty days) may apply, as determined by the
Commission, where the change results in the discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of the existing
service.565
2.

Ownership Restrictions

a.

Foreign Ownership Restrictions

180.
Background. In the H Block 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.566 The Commission proposed to apply Section 27.12 of the
Commission's rules, which implements Section 310, to applicants for licenses in the H Block.567 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 common carrier or non-common carrier service in the band.568 The Commission
sought comment on this proposal, including the associated costs and benefits.569
181.
Discussion. In order to fulfill our statutory obligations under Section 310 of the
Communications Act, we determine that all H Block applicants and licensees shall be subject to the

559 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16284 71; Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10848 121.
560 47 C.F.R. 27.10.
561 See, e.g. AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16190 233 ("To fulfill our enforcement obligations
and to ensure compliance with Titles II and III of the Communications Act, we require the licensee to identify the
regulatory status of the service(s) it intends to provide."); AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25186 59
(containing substantially similar language for AWS-1); see also Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10847
120.
562 See, e.g., AWS-4 Report & Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16190 231.
563 See 47 C.F.R. 27.10(d); see also 47 C.F.R. 27.66.
564 47 U.S.C. 310(b); see infra Section III.E.2.a. (Regulatory Issues, Ownership Restrictions, Foreign Ownership).
565 See 47 C.F.R. 27.66.
566 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16285 73.
567 See id.
568 See id.
569 See id.
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provisions of Section 27.12 of the Commission's rules.570 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."571 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).572
182.
No commenters opposed (or commented on) the Commission's proposal to require all H
Block 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 H Block 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.
b.

Eligibility

183.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt an open
eligibility standard for the H Block.573 The Commission explained that opening the H Block 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.574
184.
Additionally, the Commission explained that Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act does not
address eligibility to acquire licenses through transfers, assignments, or other secondary market
mechanisms from the initial or subsequence licensee.575 Section 6004 prohibits a person from
participating in an auction if they "ha[ve] 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."576
The Commission sought comment on whether this provision 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.577 We also asked how
to attribute ownership under this provision for applicants that are not individuals.578

570 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, FCC
13-50, 28 FCC Rcd 5741 (2013).
571 47 U.S.C. 310(a).
572 47 U.S.C. 310(b).
573 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16285 74.
574 Id.
575 Id. at 16285-86 75 (citing Spectrum Act, 6004, codified at 47 U.S.C. 1404).
576 Spectrum Act, 6004, f47 U.S.C. 1404.
577 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16286 75.
578 Id.
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185.
No commenters addressed whether and how Section 6004 applies to secondary market
transactions. However, one commenter, AT&T, addressed the larger issue of the open eligibility proposal
by commenting that it supports such an approach.579
186.
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 H Block 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.580 We conclude, based on the record before us, that the potential benefits of
open eligibility for the H Block outweigh any potential costs.
187.
On the issue of whether Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act applies to transfers,
assignments, or other secondary market mechanisms, which no commenter addressed, we determine that
this section does indeed apply to such transactions. The Commission generally does not allow parties to
avoid statutory or regulatory requirements through use of secondary markets.581 We conclude that it is
reasonable to assume that Congress did not intend to permit persons barred on national security grounds
from "participating in an auction" for certain licenses to acquire those same licenses in such an indirect
fashion. In any event, given the policies reflected in Section 6004, we conclude that it is appropriate to
exercise our independent authority under Section 308(b) of the Communications Act to extend such a
national security bar to the acquisition of Commission licenses through the secondary market.582 Further,
we determine that applicants requesting approval for a secondary market transaction must certify that the
applicants are not persons barred from participating in an auction by Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act.
Until we have revised appropriate applications forms to add a certification, we will require applicants for
spectrum subject to Section 6004 to include a certification as an attachment to the application. For
applicants that are not individuals, we will apply the same attribution standard that we are adopting for
short-form applications.583
3.

Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies

188.
Background. Access to spectrum is a critical and necessary input for the provision of
mobile wireless services, and ensuring the availability of sufficient spectrum is crucial to promoting the
competition that drives innovation and investment.584 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."585 Section 6404 of the Spectrum

579 See AT&T Reply at 4-7.
580 See 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(3)(A), (B), & (D). We note, however, that applicants for H Block licenses must comply
with any licensing qualifications required by statute or rule.
581 For example, the Commission requires "each party to a partitioning, disaggregation, or combination of both" to
independently meet the applicable performance requirements because the Commission does not allow them to avoid
"timely construction through secondary market fiat." AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16196 253 (citing
Amendment of Parts 1, 22, 24, 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 6996, 7023, 7029 73,
91 (2010) (WRS Renewals NPRM and Order).
582 47 U.S.C. 308(b) ("All applications for station licenses . . . shall 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 . . . .").
583 See App. A, 47 C.F.R. 1.2105.
584 See generally Sixteenth Mobile Wireless Competition Report, 28 FCC Rcd 3700.
585 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(3)(B).
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Act recognizes the Commission's authority "to adopt and enforce rules of general applicability, including
rules concerning spectrum aggregation that promote competition."586 In September 2012, the
Commission initiated a proceeding to review the mobile spectrum holdings policies that currently apply
to both transactions and competitive bidding.587 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.588
189.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether and how to address
any mobile spectrum holdings issues in the H Block, consistent with any statutory requirements and our
goals for this spectrum.589 The Commission also sought comment on whether the acquisition of H Block
spectrum should be subject to the same general mobile spectrum holding policies that apply to frequency
bands that are available and suitable for wireless services.590 Conversely, the Commission sought
comment on whether to distinguish H Block spectrum from other bands for purposes of evaluating mobile
spectrum holdings.591 The Commission asked that commenters discuss and quantify any costs and
benefits associated with the proposals that they put forth.592
190.
We received a limited number of comments on these issues. A few commenters argued
that the Commission should take concrete steps to prevent large carriers from acquiring H Block
spectrum,593 including adopting a bright line spectrum aggregation limit before any H Block auction,594
while one commenter argued that such an approach would not serve the public interest.595 With respect to
appropriate timing of such determinations, a few commenters argued that the Commission should
complete the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies proceeding before applying any revised spectrum
holdings policies to H Block licensing.596
191.
Discussion. We find that the limited record on mobile spectrum holdings policies in this
proceeding does not support addressing here the issue of whether the acquisition of H Block spectrum
should be subject to the mobile spectrum holding policies that apply to frequency bands that are available
and suitable for wireless services, particularly given the pendency of the Mobile Spectrum Holdings
Policies
proceeding. We observe that parties commenting on spectrum holdings issues in the H Block
rulemaking generally raise issues with broader applicability to the Mobile Spectrum Holdings
rulemaking, rather than issues related to the characteristics of the H Block. 597

586 Spectrum Act, 6404, 47 U.S.C. 1404.
587 See Policies Regarding Mobile Spectrum Holdings, WT Docket No. 12-269, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27
FCC Rcd 11710 (2012) (Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM).
588 See Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 11718 n.59.
589 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16286 76.
590 See id. at 16286 77.
591 See id.
592 See id.
593 See CCA Comments at 8-9; C Spire Comments at 7-9; RTG Reply at 5.
594 RTG Reply at 5.
595 AT&T Reply at 10.
596 See CCA Comments at 8-9; DISH Comments at 23-24.
597 See DISH Comments at 23-24; CCA Comments at 8-9; C Spire Comments at 7-9; RTG Reply at 5.
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4.

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

a.

License Term

192.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed a license term for H
Block spectrum rights of ten years.598 The Communications Act does not require a specific term for
spectrum licenses,599 and the Commission has adopted ten-year terms for many wireless radio services.600
In addition, the Commission proposed that, if an H Block 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.601 The Commission sought comment on these proposals,
including the associated costs and benefits,602 and several commenters responded that they approved of
the proposed license terms.603
193.
Discussion. We adopt a license term for H Block spectrum rights of ten years and
subsequent renewal terms of ten years and we modify Section 27.13 of the Commission's rules to reflect
these determinations. Given the record before us, we find that this approach is in the public interest and
find that its benefits outweigh any potential costs. C Spire, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular expressed
support for ten-year license terms, and no commenter opposed license terms of that length.604 C Spire
stated that a ten-year license term would be "appropriate because it would provide consistency with other
spectrum blocks and afford each licensee more than enough time to design, acquire the necessary
equipment and devices, and deploy facilities across nearly all of the licensed area."605 U.S. Cellular and
T-Mobile also pointed out that by imposing a ten-year license term, the Commission would be treating H
Block the same way it treats many wireless services.606 We agree that our decision to license H Block in
ten-year terms is consistent with most other Part 27 services607 and with services using similar spectrum,
such as the PCS spectrum that is adjacent to the H Block.608
194.
In addition, we adopt the Commission's proposal that, if an H Block license is partitioned
or disaggregated, any partitionee or disaggregatee would be authorized to hold its license for the

598 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16287 78.
599 The only statutory limit on license terms is eight years for licenses in the broadcast services. See 47 U.S.C.
307(c)(1); see also 47 C.F.R. 73.1020(a).
600 See 47 C.F.R. 27.13, describing initial license terms for licensees in the 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz
Bands (ten years), 698-764 MHz and 776-794 MHz Bands (ten years, except for initial authorizations for (1)
broadcast service providers and (2) licensees in the 746-747 MHz, 776-777 MHz, 762-764 MHz and 792-794 MHz
Bands), 1390-1392 MHz Band (ten years), 1392-1395 MHz and 1432-1435 MHz Bands (ten years), 1670-1675
MHz Band (ten years), 2200-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands (ten years); see also 47 C.F.R. 24.15,
describing initial license terms for PCS licensees (ten years); but see AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at
25190 70 (fifteen years).
601 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16287 79.
602 Id.
603 See C Spire Comments at 9; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 9; U.S. Cellular Reply at
9-10.
604 See C Spire Comments at 9; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 9; U.S. Cellular Reply at
9-10.
605 C Spire Comments at 9; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
606 U.S. Cellular Comments at 9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 9-10.
607 See supra n.600.
608 See 47 C.F.R. 24.15.
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remainder of the partitioner's or disaggregator's original license term. No commenter addressed this
proposal. We note, however, that this proposal is similar to the partitioning and disaggregation provisions
that the Commission adopted for BRS,609 broadband PCS,610 700 MHz,611 AWS-1,612 and AWS-4.613 We
emphasize that nothing in this action is intended to enable a licensee, by partitioning or disaggregation, to
be able to confer greater rights than it was awarded under the terms of its license grant; nor would any
partitionee or disaggregatee obtain rights in excess of those previously possessed by the underlying
Commission licensee.614
b.

Performance Requirements

195.
The Commission establishes performance requirements to maximize the productive use
of spectrum, to encourage licensees to rapidly provide service to customers, and to promote the provision
of innovative services in all license areas, including rural areas. We continue to believe that performance
requirements play a critical role in ensuring that licensed spectrum does not lie fallow. We therefore
adopt performance requirements that will ensure the rapid deployment of wireless service in the H Block,
while giving licensees sufficient flexibility to deploy services according to their business plans.
Specifically, we adopt the following buildout requirements:
H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: Within four (4) years, a licensee shall provide reliable
signal coverage and offer service to at least forty (40) percent of the population in each of its
license areas.
H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Within ten (10) 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.
In addition, we adopt the following penalties for failure to meet the buildout benchmarks:
Failure to Meet H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: Where a licensee fails to meet the H
Block Interim Buildout Requirement in its license area, the H Block license term and the Final
Buildout Requirement shall be accelerated by two years (for both the license term and final
requirement, from ten to eight years).
Failure to Meet H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Where a licensee fails to meet the H Block
Final Buildout Requirement in any EA, its authorization for each EA in which it fails to meet the
requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action.

609 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).
610 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) (CMRS Partitioning and Disaggregation Report and Order).
611 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, 1079-81 152-57 (2002) (Lower 700 MHz Report and Order).
612 AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25193-95 81-83.
613 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16200 263.
614 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16287 79.
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196.
We find, based on the record before us, that these performance requirements are in the
public interest and that the benefits of these requirements outweigh any potential costs. We explain the
rationale for these performance requirements below.
197.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed that, as an interim
buildout requirement, a licensee must, within four years, provide signal coverage and service to at least
forty percent of its total license-area population.615 The Commission proposed that, as a final buildout
requirement, a licensee must, within ten years, provide signal coverage and offer service to at least
seventy percent of the population in each license area it holds.616 For both the interim and final
milestones, the Commission proposed EA-based requirements.617 The Commission explained that a four-
year interim benchmark would ensure that licensees deploy facilities quickly, while a relatively low
population threshold of forty percent acknowledges that large-scale network deployment may ramp up as
equipment becomes available and a customer base is established. The Commission also explained that a
ten-year final benchmark allows a reasonable amount of time for any H Block licensee to attain
nationwide scale.618 The Commission sought comment on these proposed buildout requirements,
including on whether the proposals struck the appropriate balance between being so low as to not result in
meaningful buildout and being so high as to be unattainable. The Commission also sought comment on
whether other benchmarks represent more appropriate requirements, asking that commenters discuss and
quantify any costs and benefits associated with different proposals.619
198.
The Commission proposed specific consequences, or penalties, in the event a licensee
fails to satisfy its buildout requirements. The Commission proposed that, if a licensee fails to meet the
interim benchmark in its license area, the term of the license would be reduced by two years. And the
Commission proposed that, if a licensee fails to meet the final benchmark, the H Block license for each
license area in which it fails to meet the buildout requirement would automatically terminate without
Commission action.620
199.
Commenters generally supported the Commission's proposals,621 but some had specific
recommendations for modifying them.622 Several commenters supported the proposed forty percent
interim buildout requirement,623 while others proposed a slightly less stringent benchmark624 or opposed
any interim benchmark at all.625 Commenters generally supported the proposed seventy percent final
buildout requirement,626 with individual commenters proposing a slightly more or less stringent

615 Id. at 16288 81.
616 Id.
617 Id. at 16267-68 29 (proposing to license the H Block on an EA basis); 16288 81 (proposing interim and final
buildout requirements based on coverage and service in each license area).
618 Id. at 16288 82.
619 Id. at 16288 83.
620 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16289 85.
621 AT&T Comments at 8; CCA Comments at 9-10; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
622 AT&T Comments at 8; AT&T Reply at 7-8; CCA Comments at 9-10; C Spire Comments at 9-10.
623 AT&T Comments at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 7-8.
624 C Spire Comments at 10 (thirty-five interim benchmark, albeit geographic-based rather than population-based);
U.S. Cellular Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Reply at 7-9 (thirty-five percent interim benchmark).
625 MetroPCS Comments at 13-16.
626 See AT&T Comments at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8; Sprint Reply at 16; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular
Comments at 7.
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benchmark.627 However, commenters generally opposed the proposed penalties for failure to satisfy the
interim and final buildout requirements.628
(i)

Benchmarks

200.
Consistent with the Commission's approach to performance benchmarks in other bands--
including the AWS-4 band, the 2.3 GHz WCS band, and the Upper 700 MHz C-Block--we adopt
objective interim and final buildout benchmarks.629 Requiring H Block licensees to meet our performance
requirements--providing reliable coverage and service to at least forty percent of the population in each
license area in four years and at least seventy-five percent of the population in each license area in ten
years--will further the public interest by ensuring that spectrum will be put to use and by promoting the
rapid deployment of new broadband services to the American public. It will also provide licensees with
certainty regarding their construction obligations. These performance requirements are reasonable, both
temporally and quantitatively, and will enable the Commission to take appropriate corrective action
should the required deployment fail to occur. Further, we observe that commenters generally agreed with
the proposed performance requirements, albeit with some of those commenters seeking slight
modifications.630
201.
EA-Based and Population-Based Benchmarks. As discussed above, we are adopting an
EA-based H Block band plan requirement and not a nationwide band plan.631 Setting buildout
benchmarks on an EA basis is consistent with our general approach of assigning H Block spectrum rights
under the Commission's Part 27 rules, which includes permitting any licensee to avail itself of the
Commission's secondary market mechanisms.632 Additionally, we will measure interim and final
buildout benchmarks using percentages of license area population because using a population-based
measure is more consistent with the Commission's practice in other similar bands.633
202.
We reject the arguments of some commenters that the benchmarks should instead be
measured geographically.634 While we agree that it is important to ensure service is provided in rural
areas,635 we believe that population-based benchmarks are necessary to ensure that H Block licensees
have flexibility to scale their networks in a cost efficient manner while they are attempting to meet

627 See AT&T Comments at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8; C Spire Comments at 10.
628 See AT&T Comments at 9-10; AT&T Reply at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 8.
629 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16176-78 195-97; Part 27 of the Commission's Rules to Govern
the Operation of Wireless Communications Services in the 2.3 GHz Band, IB Docket No. 95-91, GEN Docket No.
9-357, Report and Order and Second Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 11710, 11789, 11790-11791, 11793-94
191, 195-98, 206-07 (2.3 GHZ Second Report and Order); 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at
15351 163-64. Although the 700 MHz C Block was licensed by REAG, the rules require C Block licensees to
meet these benchmarks in each EA. 47 C.F.R. 27.6(b)(2). We decline to use the AWS-1 band as a basis for the
performance requirements we adopt here. Build-out requirements for AWS-1 spectrum took into account the
uncertainty associated with the timing of clearing Federal operations from the band, which does not need to occur
here. See AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25191-93 73-79.
630 AT&T Comments at 8; AT&T Reply at 7-8; CCA Comments at 9-10; C Spire Comments at 9-10.
631 See supra Section III.B.2.a. (Band Plan, Service Area, Geographic Licensing Area).
632 See infra Section III.E.4. (Regulatory Issues, Secondary Markets).
633 See 47 C.F.R. 27.14(h), (i), (m), (o)(1)(ii), (p)(1), (q); see also AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16178
198.
634 CCA argued that the benchmarks should be measured geographically throughout all EAs, while C Spire argued
that benchmarks should be measured geographically only in less-densely populated areas. CCA Comments at 9-10;
C Spire Comments at 9-10.
635 C Spire Comments at 9-10.
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performance requirements. Specifically, because of the substantial capital investment and logistical
challenges associated with a licensee building out a network, we believe that measuring benchmarks
within an EA according to population is more appropriate. We also agree with MetroPCS that population
served is a more accurate measure of useful coverage for this band.636 Finally, while we are adopting
population-based benchmarks for the H Block, nothing in this decision forecloses the consideration of
geographic-based benchmarks in other bands, particularly if such bands have different technical
characteristics or service rules based on factors specific to those bands.637
203.
Interim Benchmark. We find, consistent with the record, that a four-year construction
milestone provides a reasonable time frame for a licensee to deploy its network and offer widespread
service. Indeed, no party suggested that a longer time frame would be necessary. We also find that
requiring forty percent buildout at this interim milestone would serve the public interest. Commenters
were generally supportive of this requirement,638 and it is consistent with the interim benchmark for all
licensees in the AWS-4 band639 and for licensees in the 700 MHz band that are subject to a population-
based benchmark.640 It is also similar to the Commission's interim benchmark in the 2.3 GHz band,
where mobile and point-to-multipoint licensees had 3.5 years to provide reliable coverage to forty percent
of the population of each license area.641 Thus, based on our review of the record and Commission
precedent, we adopt an interim performance benchmark of forty percent buildout at the four-year
milestone.
204.
We are not persuaded by MetroPCS's argument that interim benchmarks are unrealistic
and counterproductive, and that licensees have sufficient financial incentives to build out quickly without
these benchmarks.642 We find that the performance requirements we adopt in the H Block will provide
licensees with an ability to scale networks in a cost efficient manner while also ensuring that the vast
majority of the population will have access to wireless broadband services by the final benchmark. And
while we recognize that licensees in many cases have economic incentives to build out, we believe that
objective performance requirements are an important means of ensuring that there is meaningful

636 MetroPCS at 16-17.
637 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 15319 71 (licensing 12 MHz in the Lower B Block
on a CMA basis); 15348 155 (explaining "we conclude that these set of stringent [geographic-based] benchmarks
applied across smaller service areas with effective consequences for noncompliance, when combined with
appropriately sized geographic licensing areas [e.g. CMAs for the 700 MHz B Block], are the most effective way to
promote rapid service to the public, especially in rural areas."); 15349 157-58 (adopting geographic-based
benchmarks for CMA and EA licensees). The Commission explained that, "[b]ecause we adopt smaller geographic
license areas such as CMAs to facilitate the provision of service, including broadband, in rural areas, we also adopt
[geographic-based] performance requirements that are designed to ensure that such service is offered to consumers
in these areas." Id. at 15349 158. The Commission also stated that it "agree[d] with Cellular South's argument
that the uniqueness of the 700 MHz spectrum justifies the use of geographic benchmarks and that the band's
excellent propagation characteristics make it ideal for delivering advanced wireless service to rural areas.").
638 AT&T Comments at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 7-8.
639 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16174 187.
640 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15351 162. 700 MHz licensees that are subject to
geographic benchmark requirements have an interim benchmark of thirty-five percent. See 700 MHz Second Report
and Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 15349 157.
641 2.3 GHz Second Report and Order, 25 FCC Rec. at 11791 197. Point-to-point fixed service licensees were
required to "construct and operate a minimum of 15 point-to-point links per million persons in a license area within
42 months." Id. at 11793 207.
642 MetroPCS Comments at 13-16.
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deployment of broadband services in the H Block in the near future, consistent with our obligations to
adopt rules and license spectrum in the public interest.643
205.
We disagree with U.S. Cellular and C Spire that thirty-five percent of total population is a
more appropriate benchmark,644 and we disagree with Sprint that in cases where a licensee acquires
multiple EA licenses, the benchmark should be thirty-five percent of the total population covered by all
EA licenses.645 While we believe that forty percent and thirty-five percent are both realistic interim
buildout requirements, we find that a forty percent benchmark will better ensure that underutilized
spectrum is quickly utilized for the benefit of consumers in the public interest. U.S. Cellular claims that a
thirty-five percent benchmark is more consistent with the Commission's treatment of the 700 MHz
band;646 however, the thirty-five percent interim benchmark in the 700 MHz band only applied
geographic-based, not population-based, benchmarks for the 700 MHz A and B blocks.647 In contrast,
700 MHz C Block, which is subject to population-based benchmarks, had an interim benchmark of 40
percent.648 Because all H Block licensees will be subject to a population-based benchmark, not a
geographic-based benchmark,649 the example of the 700 MHz band actually suggests that we should adopt
a forty-percent interim buildout requirement. Finally, we decline to adopt Sprint's proposal, which would
allow a licensee with multiple EA licenses to meet the interim benchmark while underutilizing some of
those EAs for no other reason than the fact that it acquired more than one EA. Where, as here, we are
assigning initial licenses for spectrum, we expect applicants will file for spectrum licenses only in areas in
which they intend to put the spectrum to use.
206.
Final Benchmark. We find, consistent with the record, that a final ten-year construction
milestone provides a reasonable time frame for a licensee to deploy its network and offer widespread
service. We note that none of the commenters suggested that a different time frame would be necessary
for the final benchmark. However, in response to the record, we modify the proposed final buildout
requirement in terms of the percentage of population that must be served. While several commenters
supported the proposed seventy percent final buildout requirement,650 AT&T proposed that the buildout
requirement be seventy-five percent of total population of each EA by the end of the license term.651 It
stated that the Upper 700 MHz C Block buildout requirements should be the default buildout standard,
arguing that a default standard would "reduce uncertainty for potential licensees and streamline its own
regulatory process, expediting deployment and service to the public."652 It also pointed out that a
seventy-five percent benchmark would "ensure a rapid deployment of mobile broadband services while
affording licensees adequate flexibility to deploy service."653
207.
While we decline to adopt a standard buildout requirement for all bands in this
proceeding, we agree that the final benchmark should be set at seventy-five percent, rather than seventy

643 47 U.S.C. 303(r), (y)(2)(A), 307, 309.
644 C Spire Comments at 10; U.S. Cellular Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Reply at 7-9.
645 Sprint Reply at 16-17.
646 U.S. Cellular Comments at 7; U.S. Cellular Reply at 8-9.
647 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15348, 15349, 15351 153, 157, 162.
648 See id. at 15348, 15351 153, 162.
649 See infra at 201-202.
650 See C Spire Comments at 10 (supporting a seventy percent final benchmark, albeit geographic-based); Sprint
Reply at 16; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 7.
651 AT&T Comments at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8.
652 AT&T Comments at 8.
653 Id. at 9.
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percent. In our view, a final benchmark of seventy-five percent is more closely aligned with final
benchmarks in other similar bands, including 700 MHz and AWS-4.654 Specifically, for the 700 MHz C
Block, the Commission adopted a ten year performance benchmark and a seventy-five percent buildout
requirement.655 Applying a seventy-five percent buildout requirement here, where we similarly have a
ten-year time period, treats H Block licensees in a similar manner as 700 MHz licensees. Our decision is
also consistent with last year's AWS-4 Report and Order, in which the Commission adopted a lower
benchmark level of seventy percent, along with a shorter time frame of seven years.656
(ii)

Agreements between H Block and AWS-4 Licensees

208.
The Commission also sought comment on whether performance requirements should be
relaxed if an AWS-4 licensee reaches private operator-to-operator agreements with all 1995-2000 MHz
licensees so that AWS-4 operations above 2000 MHz may operate with a more relaxed OOBE limit than
70 + 10 log10 (P) dB into the 1995-2000 MHz band.657 The Commission received no comments on this
issue, and accordingly, we decline to adopt an alternative performance requirement that would apply if an
AWS-4 operator entered into such agreements. Should that situation arise, parties may petition the
Commission for any necessary relief at that time.
(iii)

Penalties for Failure to Meet Construction Requirements

209.
We adopt the H Block NPRM proposed penalties for failure to meet the interim and final
benchmarks. These penalties will provide meaningful and enforceable consequences and are necessary to
ensure that licensees utilize the spectrum in the public interest. Further, we find these penalties
appropriate to ensure that the buildout requirements fulfill their purpose of bringing about timely
deployment without being unnecessarily strict.
210.
Penalties for Failure to Meet the Interim Benchmark. We adopt the proposal in the H
Block NPRM that, if a licensee fails to meet the H Block Interim Buildout Requirement in any EA, the
term of the license shall be reduced by two years. If this interim penalty is triggered, the license term will
be eight years instead of ten years, and therefore the licensee will be required to meet the end-of-term
benchmark on an accelerated eight-year schedule, as well.658 U.S. Cellular, which was the only
commenter to directly address the proposed interim buildout penalty, expressed support for a two-year
license term reduction.659 Additionally, we believe that this penalty is sufficiently serious to promote

654 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15351 162 (requirement of seventy-five percent
buildout by the end of the license term for licensees that are subject to a population-based benchmark); 2.3 GHz
Second Report and Order
, 25 FCC Rcd 11710 at 11791 197.
655 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15293 6.
656 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16174 187.
657 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16289 84.
658 We acknowledge that in the H Block NPRM the main text of the NPRM did not match the text of the proposed
rule. H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16289 81, 16303 App. A, 27.14(q)(2). The main text of the NPRM stated
that the final buildout requirement would need to be met "[b]y the end of the license term," which would be ten
years if the interim requirement was satisfied but only eight years if the interim requirement was not satisfied. H
Block NPRM,
27 FCC Rcd at 16289 81. The text of the proposed rules, however, stated that the final buildout
requirement needed to be met within ten years of the grant of the license, thus suggesting that the interim penalty
would result in a two-year reduction in the license term but not in the final performance benchmark. H Block
NPRM,
27 FCC Rcd at 16303 App. A, 27.14(q)(2). We therefore clarify that, in the event that a licensee fails to
meet the interim benchmark, both the term of the license and the term of the final performance benchmark will be
reduced from ten years to eight years.
659 U.S. Cellular Comments at 8. We note that several other parties opposed the interim buildout requirement or
proposed an alternative requirement, but we addressed and rejected these arguments above. See infra at 204-205.
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rapid deployment of service to the H Block, while still giving licensees that fail to meet it an opportunity
to meet the final benchmark and put their spectrum to use.
211.
Penalties for Failure to Meet the Final Benchmark. We adopt the proposal in the H
Block NPRM that, if a licensee fails to meet the H Block Final Buildout Requirement in any EA, the
licensee's authority for each such area shall terminate automatically without Commission action. By only
terminating specific licenses where a licensee fails to meet the final benchmark in a particular license
area, a licensee's customers in other license areas would not be adversely affected.660 In doing so, we are
adopting the final buildout penalty that the Commission proposed in the H Block NPRM, even though we
are slightly modifying the final buildout requirement that the Commission had proposed.661 We see no
persuasive reason that increasing the final buildout requirement from seventy percent to seventy-five
percent of the population of a licensed area provides a basis for changing the penalty for failure to meet
the final buildout benchmark.
212.
AT&T and U.S. Cellular both opposed the proposed penalties.662 They argued that
automatic termination is too punitive, would negatively affect investment and auction participation and
revenues, and would harm the public.663 We disagree with these assertions. First, as a general matter, we
expect that the probability is small of licensees not meeting the performance requirements because of the
costs of meeting them. Further, we expect licensees will generally deploy in excess of the levels set in the
buildout benchmarks and that these requirements generally represent a floor, not a ceiling, in a licensee's
buildout. As for the assertion that automatic termination is too punitive, 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.664
Further, the Commission has rejected the argument, and we do so again here, that an automatic
termination penalty would deter capital investment, observing that the wireless industry has invested
billions of dollars and has flourished under this paradigm in other spectrum bands.665 For the same
reason, we believe that an automatic termination penalty will have little effect on auction participation.
Finally, we do not agree that automatic termination would harm the public because, even if a customer
loses service when a licensee loses its spectrum rights, we expect that a future licensee for that EA would
ultimately serve more customers.666
213.
We are not persuaded by the AT&T and U.S. Cellular argument that the Commission
should adopt a keep-what-you-use approach instead of an automatic termination penalty.667 AT&T
maintained that keep-what-you-use rather than automatic termination is consistent with the requirements
applicable to other comparable services; to support this assertion, it cited the rules that apply to the

660 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 202.
661 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16303, App. A, 27.14 (2), (3).
662 See AT&T Comments at 9-10; AT&T Reply at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 8.
663 AT&T Comments at 9-10; U.S. Cellular Comments at 8-9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 9; AT&T Reply at 7-8.
664 See 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).
665 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).
666 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16180 204.
667 AT&T Comments at 9-10; AT&T Reply at 7-8; U.S. Cellular Comments at 8-9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 9.
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commercial licenses in 700 MHz.668 We observe, however, that the keep-what-you-use approach in 700
MHz is the exception rather than the rule, and that the Commission adopted that approach for 700 MHz
band spectrum, in part, in light of other specific service rule determinations for that band, including the
specific geographic license areas used for parts of that band (e.g., CMAs for the 700 MHz B Block).669
The Commission generally applies automatic termination as the remedy for failure to build out Part 27
licenses.670 Indeed, the Commission has characterized automatic license termination as "a common
remedy for failure to build Part 27 flexible use licenses."671 We believe that an automatic termination
approach for the H Block will promote prompt buildout and will appropriately penalize a licensee for not
meeting its performance obligations in a particular EA. We therefore decline to adopt a keep-what-you-
use approach.
214.
We further adopt the H Block NPRM's proposal that, if a license terminates, the spectrum
would become available for assignment under the competitive bidding provisions of Section 309(j) of our
rules. We also adopt the Commission's proposal that any H Block licensee that forfeits its H Block
operating authority for failure to meet the H Block Final Buildout Requirement shall be precluded from
regaining that license. These rules are consistent with the Commission's rules for other spectrum bands,
such as AWS-1, AWS-4, and the Broadband Radio Service.672
(iv)

Compliance Procedures

215.
We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to apply to the H Block Rule 1.946(d) of
our rules, which requires that licensees demonstrate compliance with the new performance requirements
by filing a construction notification within fifteen days of the relevant milestone certifying that they have
met the applicable performance benchmark.673 Additionally, we adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM
to 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.674
216.
We emphasize that electronic coverage maps must accurately depict the boundaries of
each license area in the licensee's service territory.675 If a licensee does not provide reliable signal
coverage to an entire EA, its map must accurately depict the boundaries of the area or areas within each
EA not being served. Each licensee also must file supporting documentation certifying the type of service
it is providing for each EA within its service territory and the type of technology used to provide such

668 AT&T Comments at 9 (citing 47 C.F.R. 27.14(g)(2), (h)(2), (i)(2)).
669 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15319, 15348, 15353 71 (licensing 12 MHz in the
Lower B Block on a CMA basis), 155 (explaining "that these set of stringent benchmarks applied across smaller
service areas with effective consequences for noncompliance [e.g. the keep-what-you-use approach for failure to
meet the final performance benchmark], when combined with appropriately sized geographic licensing areas [e.g.
CMAs for the 700 MHz B Block], are the most effective way to promote rapid service to the public, especially in
rural areas."), 170 (adopting the keep-what-you-use approach).
670 47 C.F.R. 27.14(a), (p)(8), (q)(4).
671 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16179 202.
672 See 47 C.F.R. 27.14(a), (j), (o).
673 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").
674 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16289 87 (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.")).
675 47 C.F.R. 27.14(p)(7).
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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.
217.
The licensee must use the most recently available decennial U.S. Census Data at the time
of measurement to meet the population-based buildout requirements.676 Specifically, the licensee must
base its claims of population served on areas no larger than the Census Tract level.677
c.

Renewal Criteria

218.
Background. As the Commission explained in the H Block NPRM, Section 308(b) of the
Communications Act recognizes the Commission's authority 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."678 The Commission proposed to adopt H Block license renewal
requirements that are consistent with those adopted in the 700 MHz First Report and Order and the AWS-
4 Report and Order.679

219.
The Commission proposed that applicants for renewal of H Block licenses 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.680
The Commission proposed that the same factors that were applied in the AWS-4 Report and Order681 and
the 700 MHz First Report and Order,682 be used when the Commission evaluates renewal showings for
the H Block.683 Specifically, the Commission proposed that a renewal showing for the H Block include:
the level and quality of service, whether service was ever interrupted or discontinued, whether service has
been provided to rural areas, the extent to which service is provided to qualifying Tribal lands, and any
other factors associated with a licensee's level of service to the public.684

676 47 C.F.R. 27.14(h).
677 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 June 20, 2013).
678 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16290 89.
679 Id. at 16290 89 (citing WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6997-98, 7002-09 2, 16-32; 700
MHz First Report and Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093-94 75-77; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16201-02
269-71). The 700 MHz First Report and Order serves as the basis of the renewal paradigm proposed in the
Wireless Radio Services Renewal NPRM and the same approach was applied in the AWS-4 Report and Order.
680 H Block NPRM , 27 FCC Rcd at 16290 90.
681 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16201, 16202 265, 271.
682 See 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 75.
683 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16290 90.
684 See id. (citing 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 75; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC
Rcd at 16202 271; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7043 App. A (proposed rule 1.949(c)(4))).
The tribal lands renewal requirement was adopted in the AWS-4 Report and Order and was proposed in the WRS
Renewals NPRM and Order
. AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 271; Amendment of Parts 1, 22, 24,
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 6996, 7043 App. A (proposed rule 1.949(c)(4))
(2010) (WRS Renewals NPRM and Order). This requirement was not considered in the 700 MHz First Report and
Order
, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 75.
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220.
The Commission also sought comment on whether the public interest would be served by
awarding H Block licensees renewal expectancies if they maintained the level of service demonstrated at
the ten-year performance benchmark through the end of their license term, provided that they have
otherwise complied with the Communications Act and the Commission's rules and policies during their
license term.685 The Commission sought comment on whether H Block licensees should obtain renewal
expectancies for subsequent license terms, if they continue to provide at least the level of service
demonstrated at the ten-year performance benchmark through the end of any subsequent license terms.686
221.
Finally, the Commission proposed that, consistent with the AWS-4 Report and Order687
and the 700 MHz First Report and Order,688 we would not allow the filing of any competing applications
to requests for license renewal,689 and that if a license is not renewed, the associated spectrum would be
returned to the Commission for assignment.690
222.
The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including the associated costs and
benefits.691 Comments were mixed regarding the primary proposal to impose renewal requirements
consistent with those adopted in the 700 MHz First Report and Order and the AWS-4 Report and Order
with one commenter offering qualified support for the proposed renewal standard,692 and other
commenters opposed to it.693
223.
Discussion. Pursuant to Section 308(b) of the Communications Act and consistent with
the Commission's rules as they apply to other similar bands,694 we find that all H Block licensees seeking
renewal of their authorizations at the end of their license term must file a renewal application,
demonstrating that they have been and are continuing to provide service to the public over the license
term (or, if consistent with the licensee's regulatory status, it used the spectrum for private, internal
communication), and are otherwise complying with the Commission's rules and policies (including any
applicable performance requirements) and with the Communications Act.695 In so finding, we emphasize,
as the Commission has done repeatedly in recent years, that the concept of a renewal showing is distinct
from a performance showing.696 A performance showing provides a snapshot in time of the level of a
licensee's service, while a renewal showing provides information regarding the level and types of service
provided over the entire license term.697 As the Commission has explained in setting rules for other

685 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16290 91.
686 Id.
687 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 272.
688 See 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093-94 76-77.
689 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd 16290-91 at 92.
690 Id.
691 See id. at 16290-91 90-92.
692 Sprint Comments at 9. Sprint stated that it supports the proposed license renewal criteria and that it is consistent
with Commission precedent. Id. Sprint also had concerns that multifactor renewal criteria would be too onerous.
Sprint Reply at 15-16.
693 MetroPCS Comments at 17-18; T-Mobile Comments at 8-9; T-Mobile Reply at 2, 7; U.S. Cellular Comments at
9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 10.
694 47 U.S.C. 308(b); see 47 C.F.R. 27.14.
695 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 270; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at
8093 75; see also WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6997-98, 7004-11, 2, 21-35.
696 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 270; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093
75; see also WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6997-98, 7004-11 2, 21-35.
697 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16201 264.
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bands, a licensee that meets the applicable performance requirements might nevertheless fail to meet the
renewal requirements.698 Specifically, we adopt the following renewal criteria requirements. We require
the renewal showing to include a detailed description of the renewal applicant's provision of service
during the entire license period and discuss: (1) the level and quality of service provided by the applicant
(e.g., the population served, the area served, the number of subscribers, 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 1.2110(e)(3)(i) of the Commission's rules; and (5) any other factors
associated with the level of service to the public.699 A licensee must also demonstrate at renewal that it
has substantially complied with all applicable Commission rules and policies, and the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, including any applicable performance requirements. Based on the record
before us and the analysis provided below, we find these requirements to be in the public interest and that
their benefits outweigh any likely costs.
224.
In addition, as the Commission did in the 700 MHz First Report and Order and the AWS-
4 Report and Order, we will not permit the filing of competing applications against a licensee's renewal
application.700 If a license is not renewed, the associated spectrum will be returned to the Commission
and then made available for assignment.701 We agree with Sprint--which offered support for the
proposed renewal standard--that the proposed standard is consistent with Commission precedent.702
225.
We are not persuaded by commenters who opposed the proposed renewal standard.703
For example, MetroPCS and T-Mobile argued that the FCC should refrain from imposing the proposed
renewal standard on H Block licensees, claiming that the proposed standard is vague.704 Additionally,
MetroPCS argued that the proposed standard will undermine the renewal expectancy that allows licensees
to secure long-term financing.705 We disagree. Instead, we believe that the renewal standard provides
sufficient certainty. For example, the renewal standard we adopt today is based on that used for 700 MHz
commercial licensees. We are unaware of any significant effect on the ability of 700 MHz applicants or
licensees to obtain financing resulting from the use of this renewal standard in the 700 MHz proceeding.
226.
T-Mobile also pointed out that the same renewal standard is under consideration in the
pending WRS Renewals proceeding, and therefore argued that the Commission should more broadly
address it there.706 We agree with T-Mobile that the WRS Renewals proceeding offers the Commission
an opportunity to comprehensively consider whether it should adopt a renewal standard that generally
applies to all bands, and if so, what that standard should be. However, contrary to T-Mobile's suggestion
that we are departing from a generic renewal standard by "uniquely" applying the proposed renewal

698 Id. at 16202 270.
699 See id. at 16202 271; see also 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 75.
700 See 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8094 76; AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at
16202 272.
701 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 272; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at
8093 76; see also WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 6998, 7013-14 3, 43-44.
702 Sprint Comments at 9. While Sprint also expressed concerns that multifactor renewal criteria will be too
onerous, Sprint Reply at 15-16, we believe that these factors allow us to implement a reasonable, flexible renewal
standard.
703 MetroPCS Comments at 17-18; T-Mobile Comments at 9; T-Mobile Reply at 2; U.S. Cellular Comments at 9;
U.S. Cellular Reply at 10.
704 MetroPCS Comments at 17-18; T-Mobile Comments at 9; T-Mobile Reply at 2.
705 MetroPCS Comments at 18.
706 T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
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standard to the H Block, the Commission has thus far declined to adopt generic criteria for renewal
showings.707 Moreover, at least two spectrum bands, 700 MHz and AWS-4, have renewal criteria
identical or almost identical to those we adopt for the H Block.708 Unless we make a determination in this
proceeding about the renewal standard for H Block, our service rules for this band would include no clear,
codified criteria for license renewal and new licensees would be faced with this uncertainty. We also
decline to delay adoption of the H Block Report and Order until the WRS Renewals proceeding is
resolved, because we find that the benefits of adopting the H Block rules now far outweigh the costs of
not doing so. As we explained above,709 completing the H Block proceeding in the near term has several
benefits, including unleashing more spectrum to address the surging demand for mobile broadband
services and implementing an important directive that Congress entrusted to the Commission.710 While
our determination here should not be construed to prejudge the issues and arguments presented by the
parties to the WRS Renewals proceeding, we observe that our action here is consistent with our proposal
in that docket.711
227.
Finally, we decline to adopt U.S. Cellular's proposal that the Commission categorically
provide licensees that satisfy the performance requirements with renewal expectancies.712 In the ordinary
course, we expect that licensees that meet their interim benchmark and maintain that level of service
while increasing service levels towards compliance with the end-of-term benchmark will likely be able to
demonstrate that they satisfy the renewal criteria delineated above. However, we decline to adopt the rule
U.S. Cellular proposes that equates mere compliance with the performance benchmarks with a renewal
justification because, as the Commission has explained and as we reiterated above,713 performance
requirements and renewal showings are two distinct requirements that involve different showings, serve
different purposes, and have different remedies.714 We decline to state categorically that a licensee that
simply meets the interim and final performance requirements will automatically obtain a renewal
expectancy. For example, a licensee would be unlikely to obtain renewal at the end of the license term
where it met the applicable "snap shot" interim benchmark by providing signal coverage and offering
service for a single day just prior to the interim benchmark, but then merely offers service once every 180
days to avoid permanent discontinuance of operation until reaching the end-of-term benchmark. We
agree with U.S. Cellular that a licensee that obtains a license renewal at the end of the initial license term
under the standard set forth above, and then maintains or exceeds the end-of-term seventy-five percent

707 Compare AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 271 (renewal showing includes "the extent to which
service is provided to qualifying tribal land") with 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 8093 75
(renewal showing does not include, at least explicitly, the provision of service to tribal land). The Commission's
approach to renewal standards, which has not included a generic standard that generally applies to all bands, differs
from its approach to mobile spectrum holdings, where, as we described above, the Commission has adopted a
generic approach. See supra Section III.E.2.b (Regulatory Issues, Ownership Restrictions, Eligibility and Mobile
Spectrum Holding Policies).
708 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16202 271; 700 MHz First Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at
8093 75.
709 See supra Section III.E.2.b. (Regulatory Issues, Ownership Restrictions, Eligibility and Mobile Spectrum
Holdings Policies).
710 See generally AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16104-05 3-4; infra at Sections I (Introduction) and II
(Background); 47 U.S.C. 1451.
711 WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7043-7044.
712 U.S. Cellular Comments at 9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 10.
713 See supra 218.
714 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16200-01 264; see also 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.
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population coverage and offering of service level through subsequent license terms, reasonably could
expect, absent extraordinary circumstances, that it would receive subsequent license renewal.715
d.

Permanent Discontinuance of Operations

228.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission requested comment on the
application of the rules governing the permanent discontinuance of operations to H Block operators.716
Under Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission's rules, an authorization will automatically terminate,
without specific Commission action, if service is "permanently discontinued."717 The Commission
proposed to define "permanently discontinued" for the H Block spectrum as a period of 180 consecutive
days during which a licensee does not operate and does not serve at least one subscriber that is not
affiliated with, controlled by, or related to, the provider.718 The Commission also proposed that licensees
would not be subject to this requirement until the date of the first performance requirement benchmark,
which was proposed as four years from the license grant.719
229.
In addition, the Commission proposed that, consistent with Section 1.955(a)(3) of the
Commission's rules, if a licensee permanently discontinues service, the licensee must notify the
Commission of the discontinuance within ten days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license
cancellation.720 However, the Commission explained that even if a licensee fails to file the required form,
an authorization will automatically terminate without specific Commission action if service is
permanently discontinued.721 The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including the
associated costs and benefits.722
230.
Discussion. We determine that Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission's rules will apply
to any H Block licensee and find that the benefits of applying this rule outweigh any potential costs of
doing so.723 Thus, an H Block operator's authorization will automatically terminate, without specific
Commission action, if service is "permanently discontinued."724 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 to at least one
subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to, the provider in an EA (or smaller service
area in the case of a partitioned EA license). We adopt a different approach, however, for licensees that
use their licenses for private, internal communications, because such licensees generally do not provide
service to unaffiliated subscribers.725 For such private, internal communications, "permanent
discontinuance" shall be defined as a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not

715 See U.S. Cellular Comments at 9; U.S. Cellular Reply at 10.
716 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16291 93.
717 47 C.F.R. 1.955(a)(3).
718 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16291 93.
719 Id.
720 Id.
721 Id.
722 Id.
723 See 47 C.F.R. 1.955(a)(3).
724 See id.
725 See WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7022, 7047 68, App. A 1.953.
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operate.726 This approach is consistent with the discontinuance rule that the Commission has adopted for
the adjacent AWS-4 band, and the only party to comment on this rule, T-Mobile, expressed support for
this approach.727
231.
We believe that using this approach in H Block strikes the appropriate balance between
affording licensees operational flexibility and ensuring that licensed spectrum is efficiently utilized. In
addition, our determination will ensure that spectrum does not lie fallow and will facilitate business and
network planning by providing certainty to licensees and their investors. A licensee will not be subject to
the discontinuance rules until the date it must meet its first performance requirement benchmark (four
years from the license grant),728 which provides the licensee with adequate time to construct its
network.729
232.
Furthermore, in accordance with Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission's rules, if a
licensee permanently discontinues service, the licensee must notify the Commission of the discontinuance
within ten days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license cancellation.730 However, even if
the licensee fails to file the required form requesting license cancellation, an authorization will
automatically terminate without specific Commission action if service is permanently discontinued.731
233.
Finally, as the Commission has previously explained, the operation of so-called channel
keepers, e.g., devices that transmit test signals, tones, and/or color bars, do not constitute "operation"
under Section 1.955(a)(3) or the Commission's other permanent discontinuance rules.732
5.

Secondary Markets

a.

Partitioning and Disaggregation

234.
Background. Part 27 of the Commission's rules generally allows licensees to partition
and disaggregate their spectrum.733 "Partitioning" is the assignment of geographic portions of a license to

726 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 WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7022, 7047 68, App. A 1.953.
727 See 47 C.F.R. 27.17. With the H Block Report and Order, we modify slightly the wording of rule 27.17(b) to
improve the grammatical clarity of the rule; see also WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7018 54; T-
Mobile Comments at 7-8 (expressing general support for the Commission's proposal that automatic termination be
defined as "a period of 180 days" during which "the licensee does not operate and serve at least one unaffiliated
subscriber").
728 See supra Section III.E.3.b. (Regulatory Issues, Performance Requirements).
729 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16203 274 (adopting substantially similar permanent
discontinuance requirements).
730 47 C.F.R. 1.955(a)(3).
731 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16203 275.
732 See Application of San Diego MDS Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 23120, 23124 10
(2004) ("in order to provide a service a provider would, at a minimum, need a customer or other person to serve")
(San Diego MDS); Amendment of Parts 1, 21, 73, 74 and 101 of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Provision
of Fixed and Mobile Broadband Access, Educations 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, IB Docket No. 02-364, ET
Docket No. 00-258, 21 FCC Rcd 5606, 5731 297 (2006) (BRS/EBS 3rd MO&O) (favorably citing San Diego MDS
when affirming that "transmission of test signals and/or color bars by a BRS/EBS licensee or lessee does not
constitute substantial service"); AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16203 276; WRS Renewals NPRM and
Order,
25 FCC Rcd at 7019 59.
733 See 47 C.F.R. 27.15.
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another licensee along geopolitical or other boundaries.734 "Disaggregation" is the assignment of a
discrete amount of spectrum under the license to a geographic licensee or qualifying entity.735
Disaggregation allows for multiple transmitters in the same geographic area operated by different
companies on adjacent frequencies in the same band.736
235.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to permit partitioning and
disaggregation and sought comment on this proposal.737 The Commission's Part 27 rules for terrestrial
wireless service provide that licensees may apply to partition their licensed geographic service areas or
disaggregate their licensed spectrum at any time following the grant of their licenses.738 The
Commission's rules also set forth the general requirements that apply with regard to approving
applications for partitioning or disaggregation, 739 as well as other specific requirements (e.g.,
performance requirements) that would apply to licensees that hold licenses created through partitioning or
disaggregation.740 The Commission also proposed requiring each licensee of H Block authority who is a
party to a partitioning, disaggregation, or combination of both to independently meet the applicable
performance and renewal requirements.741 The Commission sought comment on these proposals and
asked that commenters discuss and quantify the costs and benefits of these proposals on competition,
innovation, and investment.742 Finally, the Commission sought comment on whether it should adopt
additional or different mechanisms to encourage partitioning and/or disaggregation of H Block spectrum
and whether such policies would promote service, especially to rural areas; and asked that commenters
quantify the costs and benefits of any such proposals.743 We received several comments on this issue, and
all were supportive of the Commission's proposal to permit partitioning and disaggregation of the H
Block.744
236.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to allow any H Block licensee
to partition its service areas or disaggregate its spectrum.745 We conclude, based on the record before us,
that permitting partitioning and disaggregation is in the public interest and that the benefits of permitting
these actions outweigh any potential costs. We agree with the comments, which were universally
supportive of allowing partitioning and disaggregation under Part 27.746 CCA stated that allowing H
Block licensees to partition and disaggregate would empower licensees to respond to market demand
following the auction, thus spurring competition for spectrum-based services and fostering wireless
innovation.747 MetroPCS argued that in order to promote efficient use of the H Block spectrum, the

734 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16194 244.
735 See id.
736 See id.
737 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16291-92 95.
738 See Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 10836-39 96-103.
739 See generally Part 27 Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 10785.
740 See e .g. infra Section III.E.3.b. (Regulatory Issues, Performance Requirements).
741 See H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16291-92 95.
742 See id.
743 See id. at 16292 96.
744 See CCA Comments at 10-11; MetroPCS Comments at 19-20; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
745 See AWS-4 NPRM at 16195 249 (adopting substantially similar partitioning and disaggregation policies).
746 See CCA Comments at 10-11; MetroPCS Comments at 19-20; T-Mobile Comments at 7-8.
747 CCA Comments at 10-11.
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Commission should permit partitioning and disaggregation pursuant to the Part 27 rules, which promote
more efficient use of the band by providing licensees with additional flexibility and creating consistency
among the secondary market rules for spectrum in different bands.748
237.
As the Commission has explained many times in the past, partitioning and disaggregation
promote the efficient use of spectrum and help to expedite the provision of service to rural and other
underserved areas of America as well as to niche markets.749 Further, by allowing H Block licensees to
partition and disaggregate to the same degree as other wireless licensees providing like services, the
Commission promotes competition among wireless service providers.
238.
We further conclude that the public interest would be served by requiring, as we
proposed in the H Block NPRM, each H Block licensee that is a party to a partitioning or disaggregation
arrangement (or combination of both) to independently meet the applicable performance and renewal
requirements. As the Commission observed in the AWS-4 Report and Order and the WRS NPRM, this
approach should facilitate efficient spectrum usage and prevent the avoidance of timely construction
through secondary market fiat, while still providing operators with the flexibility to design their networks
according to their operation and business needs.750 No commenters opposed (or commented on) this
approach.
b.

Spectrum Leasing

239.
Background. In 2003, in an effort to promote more efficient use of terrestrial wireless
spectrum through secondary market transactions and to eliminate regulatory uncertainty, the Commission
adopted a comprehensive set of policies and rules governing spectrum leasing arrangements between
terrestrial licensees and spectrum lessees.751 These policies and rules permitted terrestrially-based
Wireless Radio Service "licensees holding exclusive use [spectrum] rights" to lease some or all of the
spectrum usage rights associated with their licenses to third party spectrum lessees,752 which then would
be permitted to provide wireless services consistent with the underlying license authorization.753 The
Commission adopted these policies and rules in order to promote more efficient, innovative, and dynamic
use of the terrestrial spectrum, to expand the scope of available wireless services and devices, to enhance
economic opportunities for accessing spectrum, and to promote competition among terrestrial wireless
service providers.754 In 2004, the Commission expanded on this spectrum leasing framework by
establishing immediate approval procedures for certain categories of terrestrial spectrum leasing

748 MetroPCS Comments at 19-20.
749 See AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16195 248; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order at 7024-25 75,
citing CMRS Partitioning and Disaggregation Order, 11 FCC Rcd at 21843 14 ("increasing the number of parties
that may obtain partitioned PCS licenses will lead to more efficient use of PCS spectrum and will speed service to
underserved or rural areas"). See generally 47 C.F.R 1.9001 et seq.
750 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16196 253; WRS Renewals NPRM and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7029
91.
751 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).
752 47 C.F.R. 1.9001.
753 See Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 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 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.
754 See Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 20607 2.
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arrangements and extending the spectrum leasing policies to additional Wireless Radio Services.755 Since
then, the Commission has extended these policies to still more Wireless Radio Services.756
240.
In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed that the spectrum leasing policies and
rules established in the above-mentioned proceedings be applied to the H Block in the same manner that
those policies apply to other Part 27 services.757 The Commission sought comment on this proposal,
including its effects on competition, innovation, and investment. The comments that the Commission
received were supportive of this proposal.758
241.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to apply to the H Block the
Commission's current spectrum leasing policies, rules, and procedures contained in Part 1 of the
Commission's rules, in the same manner as those policies, rules, and procedures apply to other Part 27
services.759 We find it in the public interest to apply the same comprehensive set of rules, policies, and
procedures governing spectrum leasing arrangements between terrestrial licensees and spectrum lessees
that the Commission has adopted for other wireless spectrum bands to the H Block. We believe that this
decision will encourage innovative arrangements and investment in the H Block. 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."760 Thus, our decision to permit spectrum leasing of
H Block spectrum is consistent with our determination above to permit partitioning and disaggregation of
H Block spectrum.761
242.
The record unanimously supports our decision.762 For example, we agree with CCA that
applying our current spectrum leasing rules to H Block will increase the use and utility of the H Block by
allowing a diverse group of parties to efficiently and dynamically use the spectrum.763 We also agree

755 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 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, 14232-34 177-81 (2004); and AWS-4 in 2012 (AWS-4 Report and
Order
, 27 FCC Rcd at 16198 257-58).
756 AWS-4 Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16198 257 (citing Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18
FCC Rcd 20604; Secondary Markets Second Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 17503).
757 47 C.F.R 1.9001 et seq.
758 See CCA Comments at 11; MetroPCS Comments at 19-20.
759 See generally 47 C.F.R 1.9001 et seq.; Secondary Markets First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 20604;
Secondary Markets Second Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 17503.
760 AWS-4 NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16198 258.
761 See supra at Section III.E.4.a. (Regulatory Issues, Secondary Markets, Partitioning and Disaggregation).
762 We note that, in addition to the comments we discuss below, Savari commented that if its proposal is adopted, the
1.9 GHz Guard Band licensee could lease spectrum to other low power operators or through secondary markets, or a
private commons. Savari Comments at 14. However, because we determined above that the Lower H Block can be
licensed without causing harmful interference to commercial licensees in 1930-1995 MHz (PCS downlink), we are
not adopting Savari's proposal to license the Lower H Block as a low-power guard band. See supra Section III.A.4.
(Spectrum Act, Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz band).
763 See CCA Comments at 11.
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with MetroPCS that applying our current spectrum leasing rules will promote the efficient use of H Block
spectrum and treat spectrum in different bands consistently in applying secondary market rules.764
6.

Other Operating Requirements

243.
Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission explained that even though licenses
in the H Block may be issued pursuant to one rule part, licensees in this band might be required to comply
with rules contained in other parts of the Commission's rules by virtue of the particular services they
provide.765 The Commission sought comment on whether there are any provisions in existing, service-
specific rules that need to be modified to ensure that H Block licensees are covered under the necessary
Commission rules.766 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.767 Finally, the Commission sought comment on the costs and
benefits associated with the adoption of any potential requirements.768 The Commission received two
comments in response to this request, both of which addressed the application of the hearing-aid
compatibility rules.769
244.
Discussion. While we are generally adopting Part 27 rules for the H Block, in order to
maintain general consistency among various wireless communication services, we also require any
licensee of H Block operating authority to comply with other rule parts that pertain generally to wireless
communication services. For example, Section 27.3 of the Commission's rules lists some of the other
rule parts applicable to wireless communications service licensees generally;770 we thus find it appropriate
to apply this and similar rules to the H Block. Some of these other rule parts will be applicable by virtue
of the fact that they apply to all licensees, and others will apply depending on the type of service that a
licensee provides. For example:
Applicants and licensees will be subject to the application filing procedures for the Universal
Licensing System, set forth in Part 1 of our rules.771
Licensees will be required to comply with the practices and procedures listed in Part 1 of our
rules for license applications, adjudicatory proceedings, etc.772
Licensees will be required to comply with the Commission's environmental provisions, including
Section 1.1307.773
Licensees will be required to comply with the antenna structure provisions in Part 17 of our
rules.774
To the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile Radio Service, such service is subject to
the provisions in Part 20 of the Commission's rules, including 911/E911 requirements, along with
the provisions in the rule part under which the license was issued.

764 MetroPCS Comments at 19-20.
765 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16293 99.
766 Id. at 16293 100.
767 Id.
768 Id.
769 HIA Comments; James R. Johnson Comments.
770 47 C.F.R. 27.3.
771 See 47 C.F.R. Part 1, Subpart F.
772 See generally 47 C.F.R. Part 1.
773 47 C.F.R. 1.1307.
774 See generally 47 C.F.R. Part 17.
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To the extent a licensee provides interconnected VoIP services, the licensee will be subject to the
E911 service requirements set forth in Part 9 of our rules.775
The application of general provisions in Parts 22, 24, 27, or 101 will include rules related to equal
employment opportunity, etc.
No commenter opposed this approach. We conclude that maintaining consistency among various wireless
communications services--including the H Block--is in the public interest and that the benefits of this
approach outweigh any potential costs.
245.
On one issue in particular, we specifically received comment seeking the application of
broader rules to H Block licensees. On the issue of hearing-aid compatibility, we conclude that our Part
20 hearing-aid compatibility (HAC) requirements will apply to H Block services in the same manner and
to the same extent as those requirements apply to any wireless services under the Part 20 HAC rules.
Thus, to the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile Radio Service, such service is subject to the
hearing-aid compatibility requirements in Part 20 of the Commission's rules.776
246.
The Hearing Industries Association commented that the Commission should "ensure the
full applicability of the hearing aid compatibility rule as it unleashes new spectrum--in this instance the
H Block."777 It pointed out that "Congress has clearly directed the Commission to ensure that as devices
continue to advance into multifaceted devices capable of more than traditional voice capabilities that the
HAC rules continue to apply."778 HIA also argued that as technology advances and new spectrum is
unleashed, "the FCC must consider function to ensure that hearing-aid users are not locked out of fully
participating in the larger economy and society."779 Thus, it argued that the HAC rules must "focus on
whether a device is used for two-way talk and how it couples with the human ear more than the name of
the device or its advertised `primary' purpose."780 Another commenter submitted arguments that
addressed the Commission's HAC rules and Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) emissions rules.781 Mr.
Johnson's comments contained general arguments that were not specifically related to H Block.
247.
We agree that the Commission's HAC rules should apply to services provided in the H
Block in the same manner that they apply to services provided in other bands. To the extent that
comments could be read as asking for a broader review of the Commission's hearing-aid compatibility
rules (or the Commission's RF safety rules), however, we decline to conduct such a review in this band-
specific proceeding because we do not believe this proceeding is the appropriate proceeding for us to
conduct a general review and revision of those rules.782
7.

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

248.
Background. The H Block NPRM explained that the Commission is currently
considering various provisions and policies intended to promote greater use of spectrum over Tribal
lands.783 The Commission proposed to extend any rules and policies adopted in that proceeding to any

775 47 C.F.R. Part 9.
776 47 C.F.R. Part 20; see also 47 C.F.R. 27.3(g).
777 HIA Comments at 1.
778 Id.
779 Id. at 2.
780 Id. at 2.
781 James R. Johnson Comments.
782 See supra note 470.
783 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).
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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.
249.
Discussion. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM, deferring the application of
any rules and policies for facilitating access to spectrum and the provision of service to Tribal lands to the
Tribal Lands proceeding.784 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.

F.

Procedures for Any H Block Licenses Subject to Assignment by Competitive
Bidding

250.
We will conduct any auction for H Block licenses 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 H Block NPRM. Below we discuss our reasons for
adopting the relevant proposals.
1.

Application of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules

251.
The Commission proposed to conduct any auction for H Block licenses in conformity
with the general competitive bidding rules set forth in Part 1, Subpart Q, of the Commission's rules, and
substantially consistent with the competitive bidding procedures that have been employed in previous
auctions.785 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.786
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 H Block NPRM also sought comment on
whether any Part 1 rules would be inappropriate or should be modified for an auction of licenses in the H
Block bands.787
252.
Commenters generally support our proposed use of standard competitive bidding rules
for an auction of H Block licenses.788 One of those commenters, MetroPCS, asserts that the Commission
should avoid the use of procedures that may "unduly complicate auctions" or otherwise "limit the ability
of smaller bidders to acquire spectrum."789 Another argues that the Commission should not depart from
its standard simultaneous multiple-round format for an H Block auction.790 Based on our review of the
record and our prior experience with conducting auctions, we determine that the Commission's Part 1
bidding rules should govern the conduct of any H Block auction.791
2.

Revision to Part 1 Certification Procedures

253.
The H Block NPRM proposed to implement the national security restriction of Section
6004 of the Spectrum Act by adding a certification to the short-form application filed by auction

784 Tribal Lands NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 2630-31 19-20.
785 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16294 103.
786 Id.
787 Id.
788 See CCA Comments at 6-7; C Spire Comments at 3-4; MetroPCS Comments at 20; Sprint Reply at 17.
789 MetroPCS Comments at 5.
790 AT&T Comments at 11.
791 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16294 103.
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applicants.792 Section 6004 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 that is required to be conducted
by Title VI of the Spectrum Act.793 Accordingly, the Commission proposed to require that an auction
applicant 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."794 For purposes of this certification, the H Block NPRM proposed to define
"person" as an individual, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, or corporation.795 It also
proposed to define "reasons of national security" to mean matters relating to the national defense and
foreign relations of the United States.796 We received no comments on our proposal to revise the Part 1
certification procedures to add a national security certification requirement.
254.
We will implement this Spectrum Act mandate by adding a national security certification
to the various other certifications that a party must make in any application to participate in competitive
bidding as required under our existing rules.797 As with other required certifications, an auction
applicant's failure to include the required certification by the applicable filing deadline would render its
short-form application unacceptable for filing, and its application would be dismissed with prejudice.798
3.

Small Business Provisions for Geographic Area Licenses

255.
As discussed in the H Block 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."799 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."800 One of the principal means by which the Commission
fulfills this mandate is through the award of bidding credits to small businesses.801

792 Id. at 16294-5 104, citing Spectrum Act 6004(b)-(c).
793 See Spectrum Act 6004.
794 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at16294-5 104, citing Spectrum Act 6004(b)-(c).
795 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. 153(39) ("The term `person' includes an individual, partnership, association, joint-stock
company, trust, or corporation.").
796 See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. App. 3 1(b) (defining "national security" as "the national defense and foreign relations of
the United States").
797 See 47 C.F.R. 1.2105(a).
798 See 47 C.F.R. 1.2105(b)(1).
799 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16295 105 (quoting 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(4)(D)).
800 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(3)(B).
801 Roger Clegg filed a brief comment on behalf of the Center for Equal Opportunity contending that we should not
extend any preference "on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex (as that would raise constitutional objections)" and
should instead focus on making potential applicants aware of opportunities and providing interested parties with
assistance in pursuing those opportunities. Roger Clegg Comment, WT Docket No. 12-375 (filed Mar. 7, 2013).
We believe that our program of small business bidding credits and Commission staff's implementation of the
auction program, including our auction outreach initiatives, are consistent with the approach Mr. Clegg outlines.
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256.
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
the appropriate threshold.802 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.803
257.
The Commission proposed in the H Block NPRM to define a small business as an entity
with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a very small
business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15
million.804 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.805
258.
This proposal was modeled on the small business size standards and associated bidding
credits that the Commission adopted for the AWS-1 band.806 The Commission believed that the H Block
would be employed for purposes similar to those for which the AWS-1 Band is used.807 The H Block
NPRM
noted that these small business size standards and associated bidding credits were proposed for the
AWS-1 band because of the similarities between the AWS-1 service and the broadband PCS service808
and that the Commission had followed this approach when proposing small business size standards and
associated bidding credits in the AWS-2 NPRM.809
259.
The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including the costs or benefits of
these standards and associated bidding credits, especially as they relate to the proposed EA-defined
geographic area licensing approach.810 The Commission specifically sought comment on whether the
small business provisions we proposed are sufficient to promote participation by businesses owned by

802 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).
803 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).
804 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16296 107.
805 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16296 108; see also 47 C.F.R. 1.2110(f)(2)(ii), (iii).
806 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16295-96 107; 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).
807 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16295-96 107.
808 Id.
809 Id.; see also AWS-2 NPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 19308-09 122-23.
810 H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16296 108.
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minorities and women.811 Those addressing small business credits generally support the Commission's
proposals.812
260.
RTG supports the Commission's proposed bidding credits, and argues for creation of an
additional size standard under which auction applicants with average gross revenues not exceeding $75
million for the preceding three years would receive a 10 percent bidding credit.813 RTG asserts that this
additional bidding credit tier would help "slightly larger small and rural telephone companies to compete
for spectrum with nationwide carriers on a more level playing field."814 Similarly, Broadband Properties
seeks adoption of a 35 percent bidding discount for "smaller operators," though it does not state what size
firm might be considered to be a "smaller operator."815 The Commission has previously considered and
rejected RTG's efforts to create an additional rural telephone company bidding credit.816 In so doing, the
Commission observed that RTG and other proponents 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,"817 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."818 Moreover, RTG supplies no
additional information from which we might conclude that entities with average annual gross revenues of
between $40 and $75 million have faced particular difficulties in attracting capital. While we have not
intended to apply the Part 1 bidding credit schedule uniformly to all auctions without any opportunity for
the consideration of alternative bidding credits, we continue to believe that the schedule of size standards
and bidding credits described in Part 1 provide small businesses with consistency and predictability.819

811 Id. at 16296 110. The H Block NPRM also proposed to extend any rules and policies adopted in our Tribal
lands proceeding to any assignment of H Block licenses through competitive bidding. H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd
at 16296-97 111; see also Tribal Lands NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 2630-31 19-20 (2011). Commenters did not
address this proposal. We see no reason to depart from our proposed approach here.
812 See CCA Comments at 9; RTG Comments at 6-7; Sprint Reply at 17-18; T-Mobile Comments at 8; T-Mobile
Reply at 6.
813 RTG Comments at 6-8.
814 RTG Comments at 8.
815 Broadband Properties Corp. Comments. Broadband Properties provides nothing more than an assertion that
"[s]maller operators are not as well capitalized and serving the rural areas is more costly and carries higher risk than
serving urban areas." Id.
816 See Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1090-91 176.
817 Id. (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)).
818 Id. (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.
819 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).
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As discussed above, we took the characteristics of this service into consideration when proposing the two
size standards and associated bidding credits in the H Block NPRM. 820 Accordingly, we decline to adopt
an additional size standard and bidding credit for the H block.
261.
MetroPCS argues that we should adopt a scale of bidding credits based on an entity's
spectrum holdings in a particular geographic area in lieu of credits based on small business size.821
MetroPCS would also bar an auction applicant from acquiring any license that would cause it to exceed
the spectrum screen in effect prior to the allocation of the spectrum to be offered at auction.822 AT&T and
Sprint call on the Commission to reject MetroPCS's alternative bidding credit plan. 823 AT&T argues
that "[t]his proposal is little more than an attempt to achieve ... restrictions on auction participation based
on spectrum holdings" which it contends would be "anticompetitive and unlawful."824 We find that
MetroPCS's proposal fundamentally involves issues of spectrum aggregation policy, and that those issues
would be more properly addressed in the separate Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies proceeding.825 Thus
we decline to replace our small business bidding credit program with MetroPCS's alternative approach.
262.
Based on our 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.826 In the absence of small
business size standards and bidding credits, designated entities might have less opportunity to obtain
spectrum in this band. The Commission believes that continuing to extend such benefits to the H Block
would be consistent with our statutory mandate. In light of the similarities with the AWS-1 service, we
adopt these size standards and associated bidding credits for small businesses.827 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.828 Specifically, we will define a small business as an
entity with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a very
small business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15
million. For the H block, 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.829 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.

820 See supra 257; see also H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16295-96 107.
821 MetroPCS Comments at 5, 20-22.
822 Id. at 22. While MetroPCS argues that we should not provide bidding credits based on average gross revenues, it
has not explained how awarding bidding credits to a company without regard to its revenues, such as an entity with
significant revenues but minimal attributable spectrum holdings, furthers the Commission's statutory mandates. See
47 U.S.C. 309(j)(4).
823 AT&T Reply at 6-7; Sprint Reply at 18.
824 AT&T Reply at 6-7; see also Sprint Reply at 18.
825 See Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM.
826 See e.g., AWS-1 Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 25219-20 148.
827 On June 21, 2013, 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 June 21, 2013.
828 See 47 C.F.R. 1.2110(f)(2).
829 47 C.F.R. 1.2110(f)(2)(ii), (iii).
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IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

263.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)830 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."831
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.
B.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

264.
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.
265.
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 wireless 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.

C.

Further Information

266.
For additional information on this proceeding, contact Matthew Pearl of the Broadband
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-BITS or Matthew.Pearl@fcc.gov.

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

267.
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.
268.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Parts 1 and 27 of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R.
Sections 1 and 27, ARE AMENDED as specified in Appendix A, effective 30 days after publication in
the Federal Register except as otherwise provided herein.
269.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the amendments, adopted above and specified in the
Appendix A, to sections 1.946(d), 1.949, 1.2105, 27.10(d), 27.12, 27.14, and 27.17 of the Commission's
rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.946(d), 1.949, 1.2105, 27.10(d), 27.12, 27.14, and 27.17, which contain new or
modified information collection requirements that require approval by the Office of Management and
Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act, WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission
publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing such approval and the relevant effective date.

830 See 5 U.S.C. 601612. 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).
831 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
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270.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in
Appendix B hereto IS ADOPTED.
271.
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.
272.
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
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APPENDIX A

Final Rules

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

PART 1--PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

1. The authority citation for part 1 is revised 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 1.2105 is amended by adding paragraph (a)(2)(xii) to read as follows:
1.2105 Bidding application and certification procedures; prohibition of certain communications.
(a) * * *
(2) * * *
(xii) For auctions required to be conducted under Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. No. 112-96), certification under penalty of perjury that the applicant and all
of the person(s) disclosed under paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section are not 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. For the purposes of this certification, the term "person"
means an individual, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, or corporation, and the term
"reasons of national security" means matters relating to the national defense and foreign relations of the
United States.
* * * * *

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

3. The authority citation for part 27 is revised to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 307, 309, 332, 336, 337, 1403, 1404, and 1451 unless
otherwise noted.
4. Section 27.1 is amended by adding paragraph (b)(7) to read as follows:
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27.1 Basis and purpose.
*****
(b) ***
(7) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.
*****
5.
Section 27.4 is amended by revising the definition of "Advanced wireless service (AWS)" to
read as follows:
27.4 Terms and definitions.
*** A radiocommunication service licensed pursuant to this part for the frequency bands specified in
27.5(h), 27.5(j), or 27.5(k).
*****
6. Section 27.5 is amended by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:
27.5 Frequencies.
*****
(k) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. The paired 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands
are available for assignment on an Economic Area (EA) basis.
7. Section 27.6 is amended by adding paragraph (j) to read as follows:
27.6 Service areas.
*****
(j) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. AWS service areas for the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz bands are based on Economic Areas (EAs) as defined in paragraph (a) of this section.
8. Section 27.12 is revised to read as follows:
27.12 Eligibility.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) and in 27.604, 27.1201, and 27.1202, any entity other than
those precluded by section 310 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 310, is
eligible to hold a license under this part.
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(b) 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).
9. Section 27.13 is amended by adding paragraph (j) to read as follows:
27.13 License period.
*****
(j) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. Authorizations for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000
MHz bands will have a term not to exceed ten years from the date of issuance or renewal.
10. Section 27. 14 is amended by revising the first sentence of paragraphs (a), (f), and (k), and adding
paragraph (r) 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 698704 MHz and 728734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704710 MHz and 734740 MHz bands,
Block E in the 722728 MHz band, Block C, C1, or C2 in the 746757 MHz and 776787 MHz bands,
Block D in the 758763 MHz and 788793 MHz bands, Block A in the 23052310 MHz and 23502355
MHz bands, Block B in the 23102315 MHz and 23552360 MHz bands, Block C in the 23152320
MHz band, and Block D in the 23452350 MHz band, and with the exception of licensees holding AWS
authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200
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. ***
*****
(f) Comparative renewal proceedings do not apply to WCS licensees holding authorizations for the 698
746 MHz, 747762 MHz, and 777792 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. ***
*****
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(k) Licensees holding WCS or AWS authorizations in the spectrum blocks enumerated in paragraphs (g),
(h), (i), (q), or (r) of this section, including any licensee that obtained its license pursuant to the
procedures set forth in subsection (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. ***
*****
*****
(r) The following provisions apply to any licensee holding an AWS authorization in the 1915-1920 MHz
and 1995-2000 MHz bands:
(1) A licensee shall provide signal coverage and offer service within four (4) years from the date of the
initial license to at least forty (40) percent of the total population in each of its licensed areas ("Interim
Buildout Requirement").
(2) A licensee shall provide signal coverage and offer service within ten (10) 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 (r)) and the license term (as set forth in
27.13(j)) for each license area in which it fails to meet the Interim Buildout Requirement shall be
accelerated by two years (from ten to eight years).
(4) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Final Buildout Requirement for a particular licensed
areas, 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.
(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
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Tract (or other acceptable identifier) will only be deemed served by the licensee 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 only include the population within the Census Tract (or
other acceptable identifier) towards meeting the performance requirement of a single, individual license.
(6) An applicant for renewal of a license covered by this paragraph (r) 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:
(a) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant (e.g., the population served, the area
served, the number of subscribers, the services offered);
(b) The date service commenced, whether service was ever interrupted, and the duration of any
interruption or outage;
(c) The extent to which service is provided to rural areas;
(d) The extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal land as defined in
1.2110(f)(3)(i); and
(e) Any other factors associated with the level of service to the public.
11. Section 27.15 is amended by revising the first sentence in paragraph (d)(1)(i); revising paragraph
(d)(1)(iii); revising the first sentence in paragraph (d)(2)(i), and revising paragraph (d)(2)(iii) to
read as follows:
27.15 Geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation.
*****
(d) ***
(1) ***
(i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in the 698704 MHz and 728734 MHz
bands, Block B in the 704710 MHz and 734740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722728 MHz band,
Blocks C, C1, or C2 in the 746757 MHz and 776787 MHz bands, or Block D in the 758763 MHz and
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788793 MHz bands; and 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; the following rules apply to WCS
and AWS licensees holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the construction requirements
set forth in 27.14. Parties to partitioning agreements have two options for satisfying the construction
requirements set forth in 27.14. Under the first option, the partitioner and partitionee each certifies that
it will independently satisfy the substantial service requirement for its respective partitioned area. If a
licensee subsequently fails to meet its substantial service requirement, its license will be subject to
automatic cancellation without further Commission action. Under the second option, the partitioner
certifies that it has met or will meet the substantial service requirement for the entire, pre-partitioned
geographic service area. If the partitioner subsequently fails to meet its substantial service requirement,
only its license will be subject to automatic cancellation without further Commission action.***
*****
(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, 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 and those enumerated in 27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and
1995-2000 MHz licensees.
(2) ***
(i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in the 698704 MHz and 728734 MHz
bands, Block B in the 704710 MHz and 734740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722728 MHz band,
Blocks C, C1, or C2 in the 746757 MHz and 776787 MHz bands, or Block D in the 758763 MHz and
788793 MHz bands; and 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; the following rules apply to WCS
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and AWS licensees holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the construction requirements
set forth in 27.14. Parties to disaggregation agreements have two options for satisfying the construction
requirements set forth in 27.14. Under the first option, the disaggregator and disaggregatee each
certifies that it will share responsibility for meeting the substantial service requirement for the geographic
service area. If the parties choose this option and either party subsequently fails to satisfy its substantial
service responsibility, both parties' licenses will be subject to forfeiture without further Commission
action. Under the second option, both parties certify either that the disaggregator or the disaggregatee
will meet the substantial service requirement for the geographic service area. If the parties choose this
option, and the party responsible subsequently fails to meet the substantial service requirement, only that
party's license will be subject to forfeiture without further Commission action.
*****
(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, 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 and those enumerated in 27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and
1995-2000 MHz licensees.
12. Section 27.17 is added to read as follows:
27.17 Discontinuance of service in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-
2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands.
(a) Termination of Authorization. A licensee's AWS authorization in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000
MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands will automatically terminate, without
specific Commission action, if it permanently discontinues service after meeting the respective Interim
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Buildout Requirement as specified in 27.14(r) or AWS-4 Final Buildout Requirement as specified in
27.14(q).
(b) For licensees with common carrier or non-common carrier regulatory status that hold AWS
authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 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 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 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 of the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020
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.
13. Section 27.50 is amended by revising paragraph (d) introductory text, paragraphs (d)(1) and (2),
and adding paragraph (d) (9), 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 1710-1755
MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2180-2200 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, and 1995-2000 MHz bands:
(1) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 1995-2000 MHz, 2110-2155 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:
***
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(2) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 1995-2000 MHz, the 2110-2155 MHz, or
2180-2200 MHz band and situated in any geographic location other than that described in paragraph
(d)(1) is limited to:
***
(9) Fixed, mobile and portable (hand-held) stations operating in the 1915-1920 MHz band are limited to
300 milliwatts EIRP.
(10) A licensee operating a base or fixed station in the 1995-2000 MHz band utilizing a power greater
than 1640 watts EIRP and greater than 1640 watts/MHz EIRP must be coordinated in advance with all
PCS G Block licensees authorized to operate on adjacent frequency blocks in the 1990-1995 MHz band
within 120 kilometers of the base or fixed station operating in this band.
*****
14. Section 27.53 is amended by revising paragraph (h)(1) to read and adding paragraphs (h)(2)(iii)
and (h)(2)(iv) to read as follows:
27.53 Emission limits.
*****
(h) AWS Emission Limits.
(1) General Protection Levels. Except as otherwise specified below, for operations in the 17101755
MHz, 21102155 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 2180-2200 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, and 1995-2000 MHz
bands, the power of any emission outside a licensee's frequency block shall be attenuated below the
transmitter power (P) by at least 43 + 10 log10(P) dB.
(2) Additional Protection Levels. Notwithstanding the foregoing paragraph (h)(1) of this section:
***
(iii) For operations in the 1915-1920 MHz band, the power of any emission between 1930-1995 MHz
shall be attenuated below the transmitter power (P) in watts by at least 70 + 10 log10(P) dB.
(iv) For operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, the power of any emission between 2005-2020 MHz
shall be attenuated below the transmitter power (P) in watts by at least 70 + 10 log10(P) dB.
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*****
15. Section 27.55 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
27.55 Power strength limits.
(a)***
(1) 1995-2000, 2110-2155, 2180-2200 MHz, 2305-2320, and 2345-2360 MHz bands: 47 dBV/m.
*****
16. Section 27.57 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
27.57 International Coordination
*****
(c) Operation in the 1710-1755 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020
MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands is subject to international agreements with Mexico and Canada.
*****
17. Subpart K of part 27 is added to read as follows:

Subpart K--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz

LICENSING AND COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROVISIONS
27.1001 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands subject to competitive bidding.
Mutually exclusive initial applications for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 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.
27.1002 Designated Entities in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands.
Eligibility for small business provisions:
(a)(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 attributable material relationship, has
average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three 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
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average gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three 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.
REIMBURSEMENT OBLIGATION OF LICENSEES AT 1915-1920 MHZ AND 1995-2000 MHZ
27.1021 Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1915-1920 MHz.
A licensee in the 1915-1920 MHz band (Lower H Block) shall, within 30 days of grant of its long-form
application, reimburse 25 percent of the total relocation costs incurred by UTAM, Inc. for relocating and
clearing incumbent Fixed Microwave Service (FS) licensees from the 1910-1930 MHz band on a pro rata
shared basis with other Lower H Block licensees as set forth below in this section.
(a) If Lower H Block licenses granted as a result of the first auction for this spectrum cover, collectively,
at least forty (40) percent of the nation's population, the amount owed to UTAM, Inc. by each individual
Lower H Block licensee (reimbursement amount owed or RN) will be determined by dividing the gross
winning bid (GWB) for each individual Lower H Block license (i.e., an Economic Area (EA)) by the sum
of the gross winning bids for all Lower H Block licenses for which there is a winning bid in the first
auction, and then multiplying by $12,629,857.
EA GWB
RN = (
) x$12,629,857.00
Sum of GWBs
Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), a licensee that obtains a license for a market in which no
license is granted as a result of the first Lower H Block auction will not have a reimbursement obligation
to UTAM, Inc.
(b) If Lower H Block licenses granted as a result of the first auction for this spectrum cover, collectively,
less than forty (40) percent of the nation's population, then the pro rata amount that the licensee of an
individual Lower H Block license must reimburse UTAM, Inc. shall be calculated by dividing the
population of the individual EA by the total U.S. population, and then multiplying by $12,629,857. In
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this event, the same population data, e.g., 2010, used to calculate the RNs for Lower H Block licenses
granted as a result of the first auction will apply to subsequent auctions of Lower H Block licenses that
were not granted as a result of an earlier auction of Lower H Block licenses.
EA POP
RN = (
) x$12,629,857
U.S. POP
(c) A winning bidder of a Lower H Block license that is not granted a license for any reason will be
deemed to have triggered a reimbursement obligation to UTAM, Inc. This obligation will be owed to
UTAM, Inc. by the licensee acquiring the Lower H Block license through a subsequent auction. The
amount owed by the licensee acquiring the Lower H Block license at such auction will be the RN
calculated for the EA license based on the first auction (calculated under paragraphs (a) or (b), as
applicable).
(d) For purposes of compliance with this section, licensees should determine population based on 2010
U.S. Census Data or such other data or measurements that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
proposes and adopts under the notice and comment process for the auction procedures.
(e) A payment obligation owed by a Lower H Block licensees under this section shall be made within
thirty (30) days of the grant of the license (i.e., grant of the long form application).
27.1031 Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1995-2000 MHz.
A licensee in the 1995-2000 MHz band (Upper H Block) shall, within 30 days of grant of its long-form
application, reimburse one-seventh of the eligible expenses incurred by Sprint Nextel, Inc. (Sprint) for
relocating and clearing Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS), Cable Television Relay Service (CARS), and
Local Television Transmission Service (LTTS) incumbents from the 1990-2025 MHz band, on a pro rata
shared basis with other Upper H Block licensees as set forth below in this section.
(a) If Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the first auction for this spectrum cover, collectively,
at least forty (40) percent of the nation's population, the amount owed to Sprint by the winning bidder of
each individual Upper H Block license granted as a result of the first auction will be determined by
dividing the gross winning bid (GWB) for each individual Upper H Block license (i.e., an Economic Area
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(EA)) by the sum of the gross winning bids for all Upper H Block licenses for which there is a winning
bid in the first auction, and then multiplying by $94,875,516.
EA GWB
RN = (
) x$94,875,516
Sum of GWBs
Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), a licensee that obtains a license for a market in which no
license was granted as a result of the first Upper H Block auction will not have a reimbursement
obligation to Sprint.
(b) If Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the first auction for this spectrum cover, collectively,
less than forty (40) percent of the nation's population, then the amount that the licensee of an individual
Upper H Block license must reimburse Sprint shall be calculated by dividing the population of the
individual EA by the total U.S. population, and then multiplying by $94,875,516. In this event, the same
population data, e.g., 2010, used to calculate the RNs for Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the
first auction will apply to subsequent auctions of Upper H Block licenses that were not granted as a result
of an earlier auction of Upper H Block licenses.
EA POP
RN = (
) x$94,875,516
U.S. POP
(c) A winning bidder of an Upper H Block license that is not granted a license for any reason will be
deemed to have triggered a reimbursement obligation to Sprint. This obligation will be owed to Sprint by
the licensee acquiring the Upper H Block license through a subsequent auction. The amount owed by the
licensee acquiring the EA license at such auction will be based on the RN calculated for the EA license
based on the first auction (calculated under paragraphs (a) or (b), as applicable).
(d) For purposes of compliance with this section, licensees should determine population based on 2010
U.S. Census Data or such other data or measurements that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
proposes and adopts under the notice and comment process for the auction procedures.
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(e) A payment obligation owed by a Upper H Block licensees under this section shall be made within
thirty (30) days of the grant of the license (i.e., grant of the long form application).
27.1041 Termination of Cost-Sharing Obligations.
(a) The cost-sharing obligation adopted in this subpart for the Lower H Block and for the Upper H Block
will sunset ten years after the first license is issued in the respective band.
(b) A Lower H Block licensee and an Upper H Block licensee must satisfy in full its payment obligations
under this subpart K within thirty days of the grant of its long-form application. The failure to timely
satisfy a payment obligation in full prior to the applicable sunset date will not terminate the debt owed or
a party's right to collect the debt.
*****
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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.
Demand for wireless broadband services and the network capacity associated with those
services is surging, resulting in a growing demand for spectrum to support these services. Adoption of
smartphones increased at a 50 percent annual growth rate in 2011, from 27 percent of U.S. mobile
subscribers in December 2010 to nearly 42 percent in December 2011.3 Further, consumers have rapidly
adopted the use of tablets, which were first introduced in January of 2010.4 By the end of 2012, it was
estimated that one in five Americans--almost 70 million people--would use a tablet.5 Between 2011 and
2017, mobile data traffic generated by tablets is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of
100 percent.6 New mobile applications and services, such as high resolution video communications, are
also using more bandwidth. For example, a single smartphone can generate as much traffic as thirty-five
basic-feature mobile phones,7 while tablets connected to 3G and 4G networks use three times more data
than smartphones over the cellular network.8 All of these trends, in combination, are creating an urgent
need for more network capacity and, in turn, for suitable spectrum.9

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 comScore 2012 Mobile Future in Focus (2012) at 16, available at
http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2012/2012_Mobile_Future_in_Focus (last
visited June 25, 2013).
4 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. 10-133, Fifteenth Report, 26 FCC Rcd 9664, 9754 145 (Fifteenth Mobile Wireless
Competition Report
).
5 Press Release, eMarketer, Tablet Shopping Growing, but Retailers Must Keep Up (June 15, 2012), available at
http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1009120&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed4 (last visited June
25, 2013).
6 Ericsson, Traffic and Market Report: On the Pulse of the Networked Society (June 2012), available at
http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2012/traffic_and_market_report_june_2012.pdf (last visited June 25, 2013).
7 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011-2016 (February 2012),
available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-
520862.html (last visited June 25, 2013).
8 Kevin Fitchard, 3G/4G tablets suck up 3x more data than smartphones, GIGAOM, May 15, 2012, available at
http://gigaom.com/mobile/study-3g4g-tablets-suck-up-3x-more-data-than-smartphones/ (last visited June 25, 2012).
9 H Block Report and Order, 2-8.
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3.
The 2010 National Broadband Plan recommended the Commission undertake to make
500 megahertz of spectrum available for broadband use within ten years, including 300 megahertz within
five years.10 The Commission has taken numerous steps to achieve these goals, including recently
adopting a notice of proposed rulemaking on conducting the world's first incentive auction to repurpose
broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband use,11 updating the Commission's rules for the 2.3 GHz
Wireless Communications Service (WCS) band to permit the use of the most advanced wireless
technologies in that band,12 and establishing service rules to allow terrestrial mobile broadband in the 2
GHz MSS bands.13
4.
In February 2012, Congress enacted Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012.14 The Spectrum Act includes several provisions to make more spectrum available
for commercial use, including through auctions, and to improve public safety communications.15 Among
other things, the Spectrum Act requires the Commission, by February 23, 2015, to allocate the 1915-1920
MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band (collectively, the H Block) for commercial use, and to auction
and grant new initial licenses for the use of each spectrum band, subject to flexible-use service rules.16
Congress provided, however, that if the Commission determined that either of the bands could not be
used without causing harmful interference to commercial licensees in 1930-1995 MHz (PCS downlink),
then the Commission was prohibited from allocating that specific band for commercial use or licensing
it.17 Additionally, Sections 6401(f) and 6413 of the Spectrum Act specify that the proceeds from an
auction of licenses in the 1995-2000 MHz band and in the 1915-1920 MHz band shall be deposited in the
Public Safety Trust Fund and used to fund the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network
("FirstNet").18 The H Block spectrum could be the first spectrum specified by the Spectrum Act to be
licensed by auction, and thus could represent the first inflow of auction revenues toward this statutory
goal.
5.
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 in the H
Block, 1915-1920 MHz paired with 1995-2000 MHz. These service rules will make available 10
megahertz of spectrum for flexible use in accordance with the Spectrum Act, without causing harmful
interference to Personal Communications Service (PCS) licensees. In so doing, we also carry out a

10 National Broadband Plan, Recommendation 5.8 at 84-85.
11 See Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, Docket No.
12-268, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 12-118, at 3 (rel. Oct. 2, 2012); National Broadband Plan at 81-82.
12 See Amendment of Part 27 of the Commission's Rules to Govern the Operation of Wireless Communications
Services in the 2.3 GHz Band, Order on Reconsideration, WT Docket No. 07-293, IB Docket No. 95-91, (rel. Oct.
17, 2012) (2012 WCS Order); see also, 2010 WCS Order, 25 FCC Rcd 11710.
13 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz Bands, Report
and Order and Order of Proposed Modification
, WT Docket No. 12-70, ET Docket No. 10-142, WT Docket No.
04-356, 27 FCC Rcd 16102 (2012) (AWS-4 Report and Order).
14 See generally Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012)
(Spectrum Act).
15 Spectrum Act 6001-6703.
16 See Spectrum Act 6401(b), codified at 47 U.S.C. 1451(b); see also H Block Report and Order, 15-16.
17 See Spectrum Act 6401(b)(4), codified at 47 USC 1451(b)(4).
18 Spectrum Act 6401(f), 6413, codified at 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(8)(D)(ii), 1457. Amounts remaining in the Public
Safety Trust Fund after fiscal year 2022 are required to be deposited into the Treasury's general fund for the purpose
of deficit reduction.
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recommendation in the National Broadband Plan that the Commission make available the provision of
Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz spectrum bands, thus increasing
the value of this spectrum to the public. 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 and lower
power fixed operations in the 1915-1920 MHz band and base and fixed operations in the 1995-2000 MHz
band.19 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 PCS licenses, our rules are more stringent in certain respects. For example, to protect the
adjacent PCS spectrum bands at 1930-1995 MHz from harmful interference, we adopt technical rules that
require more stringent emissions limits than the Commission normally requires.20 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.21

B.

Legal Basis

6.
The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 1404, and 1451 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 1404, and
1451.

C.

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

7.
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.22 The
RFA generally defines the term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business,"
"small organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction."23 In addition, the term "small business" has
the same meaning as the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.24 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.25
8.
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

19 See, e.g., H Block Report and Order, 9.
20 See H Block Report and Order, 80-152.
21 See H Block Report and Order, 15-16.
22 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
23 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
24 5 U.S.C. 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.
25 15 U.S.C. 632.
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entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration.26 As of 2010, there were
27.9 million small businesses in the United States, according to the SBA.27 Additionally, a "small
organization" is generally "any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and
is not dominant in its field."28 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small
organizations.29 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."30 Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 89,527 governmental
jurisdictions in the United States.31 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,761 entities may qualify
as "small governmental jurisdictions."32 Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are
small.
9.
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.33 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.34 For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 11,163 establishments
that operated for the entire year.35 Of this total, 10,791 establishments had employment of 999 or fewer
employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more.36 Thus under this category and the

26 See 5 U.S.C. 601(3)(6).
27 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).
28 5 U.S.C. 601(4).
29 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
30 5 U.S.C. 601(5).
31 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007).
32 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).
33 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517210&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
34 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
35 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).
36 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."
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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.37 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.38 Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than
1,500 employees.39 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

10.
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. 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.
11.
Any applicants for licenses of H Block 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 antennae structures. It also keeps the public informed with weekly public
notices, FCC rulemakings, processing utilities, and a telecommunications glossary. Licensees of H Block
that must submit long-form license applications must do so through ULS using Form 601,40 FCC
Ownership Disclosure Information for the Wireless Telecommunications Services using FCC Form 602,
and other appropriate forms.41

E.

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

12.
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.42
13.
As set forth in this Report and Order, we will license the H Block bands under Economic
Areas (EA) geographic size licenses.43 Utilizing EAs in the H Block will provide regulatory parity with

37http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&pro
dType=table.
38 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
39 See id.
40 47 C.F.R. 1.913(a)(1).
41 47 C.F.R. 1.2107.
42 5 U.S.C. 604(a)(6).
43 See H Block Report and Order, 33-43.
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other AWS bands that are licensed on an EA basis, such as AWS-1 B and C block licenses.44
Additionally, assigning H Block in EA geographic service areas will allow H Block licensees to make
adjustments to suit their individual needs. Although some commenters advocated for smaller or larger
sized licensed areas, such as Cellular Market Areas or Metropolitan Statistical Areas, we believe that EA
license areas are small enough to provide spectrum access opportunities for smaller carriers.45 EA license
areas also nest within and may be aggregated up to larger license areas that have been used by the
Commission for other services, such as Major Economic Areas (MEAs) and Regional Economic Area
Groupings (REAGs) for those seeking to create larger service areas. Licensees may also adjust their
geographic coverage through secondary markets. These rules should enable licensees of H Block
spectrum, or any entities, whether large or small, providing service in other AWS bands 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.
14.
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,46 with specific additions or modifications
designed, among other things, to protect broadband PCS services operating in the 1930-1995 MHz band
from harmful interference, as well as future services operating in the 2000-2020 MHz band.47 We adopt
specific Out-of-Band-Emissions (OOBE) limits for the 1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz
band. We base our decision on the record, the probabilistic nature of mobile-to-mobile interference, and
the statutory requirements of the Spectrum Act.48 The record in this proceeding contains three
interference studies that supported a specific OOBE limit of 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB and a power limit of 300
milliwatts EIRP for the 1915-1920 MHz band.49 We adopt the power limit, but conclude an OOBE limit
of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB is appropriate for the 1915-1920 MHz band, which ensures full flexible use of the
band while also protecting the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band from harmful interference.50 Although one
party commented that OOBE limits for the 1995-2000 MHz band should be stricter than what the
Commission proposed or adopted in this Report and Order, we concluded those suggested limits were
overly burdensome. The technical rules in the Report and Order will therefore allow licensees of the H
Block 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.
15.
The Report and Order provides licensees of H Block 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-1.51 The Report
and Order
further provides for licensing of this spectrum under the Commission's market-oriented Part
27 rules.52 This includes applying the Commission's secondary market policies and rules to all

44 See H Block Report and Order, 33-43.
45 See H Block Report and Order, 37-43.
46 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 27.50-53.
47 See H Block Report and Order, 108-117 (Lower H Block Power Limits), 126-130 (Lower H Block Out-of-
Band-Emissions Limits).
48 See Spectrum Act 6401, 47 U.S.C. 1451(b).
49 See H Block Report and Order, 83.
50 See generally H Block Report and Order, 46-152.
51 See H Block Report and Order, 16.
52 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 27.1 et seq.
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transactions involving the use of H Block bands, which will provide greater predictability and regulatory
parity with bands licensed for mobile broadband service. These rules should make it easier for H Block
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 H Block spectrum.
16.
The Report and Order adopts rules pertaining to how the H Block licenses will be
assigned, including rules to assist small entities in competitive bidding. Specifically, small entities will
benefit from the proposal to provide small businesses with a bidding credit of 15 percent and very small
businesses with 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.

F.

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

17.
None.

G.

Report to Congress

18.
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.53 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.54

53 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.
54 See 5 U.S.C. 604(b).
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APPENDIX C

List of Commenters to H Block NPRM1


Commenters

AT&T Inc.
Broadband Properties Corp.
Cellular South, Inc. (d/b/a C Spire Wireless)
Competitive Carriers Association
CTIA- The Wireless Association
DISH Network Corporation
Hearing Industries Association
Johnson, James R.
MetroPCS Communications, Inc.
Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc.
Savari, Inc.
Sprint Nextel Corporation
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
United States Cellular Corporation
UTAM, Inc.

Reply Commenters

AT&T Inc.
Clegg, Roger
DISH Network Corporation
Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc.
Sprint Nextel Corporation
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
United States Cellular Corporation

1 Numerous comments, replies, and ex parte submissions were filed advocating that the Commission re-examine its
RF safety exposure standards. Those filings are being incorporated into ET Docket No. 13-84. See supra n.470.
We do not list RF safety commenters in Appendix C.

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STATEMENT OF

ACTING CHAIRWOMAN MIGNON CLYBURN

Re:

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 Docket No. 12-357

The mobile revolution shows no signs of stalling. In fact, by all accounts, it continues to gain
incredible momentum. Fifteen percent of all global Internet traffic is mobile up from just one percent
when I arrived at the Commission just under four years ago. In 2009, about 16 percent of Americans had
smartphones. That number had risen to 56% by 2012, and we have every reason to believe it has trended
upward in 2013. I've said it many times, but it still amazes me, that the commercial tablet market didn't
even exist in 2009, but, a projected 229 million tablets will ship this year surpassing the sales for portable
PCs.
These trends affirm how clear our job really is. The Commission must continue to ensure that the
Nation's wireless networks have the capacity, speed, and ubiquity, to keep pace with consumers'
expectations, and their ever rising demand, for mobile services. That is why the National Broadband Plan
set an ambitious goal of freeing up 300 megahertz of spectrum for broadband by 2015, through the use of
a variety of traditional strategies, and new policy innovations, like incentive auctions, spectrum sharing,
and next-generation unlicensed use, and I am pleased to confirm, that the Commission is on track, to
exceed this target.
The adoption of these rules, today, is a continuation of our important work, toward that goal. We
are enabling 10 MHz of paired spectrum that makes up the H Block, for flexible use, including mobile
broadband service. Specifically, we are adopting licensing, technical and service rules for the H Block
that will allow the full 10 MHz, to be used for mobile broadband service, while providing adequate
protection, to the neighboring bands. Importantly, the item adopts technical rules, to help ensure, that H
Block operations do not cause harmful interference, to the PCS downlink spectrum, just as Congress
directed.
This is no small feat. The FCC, led by our world-class engineers, has been working on a sensible
approach to the use of this spectrum, since 2004. I for one am pleased that advances in wireless
broadband technology have allowed us to craft rules, for the efficient use of the H block, finally allowing
us to release this spectrum, into the marketplace.
With this item, the Commission takes another critical step, toward implementing the Middle
Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 directive, to license 65 MHz of spectrum for flexible use
by February 2015. It is also consistent with the President's encouragement to "expedite the repurposing
of spectrum, and otherwise enable innovative and flexible commercial uses of spectrum, including
broadband, to be deployed as rapidly as possible."
I'd like to thank my colleagues for their collaboration on this item, and also thank the staff of the
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology, for presenting us with
such a thoughtful item.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Re:

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 Docket No. 12-357

We are on the cusp of a small but mighty tale of spectrum success.
The possibilities for the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz spectrum bands--known as the
PCS H Block--have long been undermined by interference concerns. But we are now poised to finally
bring this 10 megahertz of prize spectrum to market.
The H Block has quite a history. It features more than a few fits and starts. The lower portion of
the H Block started life as part of the unlicensed PCS band back when the rest of the PCS spectrum was
auctioned in 1994. To put this in context, think back to your first wireless phone. The odds are it
probably operated on PCS spectrum. Ten years after the first PCS auction, the Commission turned to the
H Block, and sought to auction it, too. But the interference potential was too great and the time was not
right. Four years later, the Commission again tried to tee up the H Block for auction. Yet once more,
efforts to limit interference hindered efforts to auction this spectrum.
Another four years down the road, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation
Act. In it, Congress identified 65 megahertz of spectrum for auction, including the H Block. Moreover,
Congress directed that the revenue from this spectrum serve as a down payment toward a nationwide,
interoperable public safety broadband network--known as the First Responder Network Authority.
In fact, the H Block is unique among the 65 megahertz identified by Congress. It is the only
specifically identified spectrum in the law that is paired and not already in use by federal agencies. That
distinction is critical. It means that revenue from the H Block will not be burdened by having to pay
upfront for the relocation of federal users. That means that the H Block is our best chance to provide
significant funding for our first responders before we get started on another kind of auction--incentive
auctions.
So after an act of Congress, leaps forward in technology, and hard work by the Commission staff
to resolve longstanding interference concerns, we can finally auction the H Block for commercial use.
The only question is when. In the end, I hope our timing is guided by good spectrum policy--and
considers how we increase demand for this slice of our airwaves. After all, support for our nation's first
responders depends on it.
Thank you to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau for your efforts. I am pleased to support
this Report and Order.
125

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-88

STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

Re:

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 and 1995-2000
MHz Bands
, WT Docket No. 12-375

A lot has changed since the Commission last auctioned off new spectrum for mobile broadband.
Back in 2008, the first Twilight movie was just hitting theaters. Today, thankfully, we're done with them
all. Back then, LeBron James was a hero in Cleveland. Now, not so much. And five years ago, the word
"tablet" conjured images of vitamins and the Ten Commandments. Now, we think of the iPad and the
Samsung Galaxy Tab.
It is that last change, inspired primarily by consumers' insatiable demand for mobile data, that has
intensified the need to push additional spectrum into the commercial marketplace. That means we're long
past due for another auction.
And with this order, we are on track to have one in the very near future: an auction of the 10 MHz
H Block. This was no easy task. This long-fallow spectrum has been burdened by unresolved
reimbursement issues and a seemingly intractable interference risk to nearby licensees. But last year, in
the Spectrum Act, Congress identified the two 5 MHz bands comprising the H Block as invaluable for
mobile broadband.1 By breaking the logjam, Congress enabled the Commission to re-double its efforts.
Working together with experts in the private sector, our dedicated staff was able to determine that
changed circumstances and new technology had opened up a workable path forward.
Today, we take several steps to ensure that the auction to come will yield maximum revenue and
that the H Block spectrum is put to its highest-valued use. Most importantly, I am pleased that we do not
saddle this spectrum with burdensome and unnecessary conditions. Instead, we outline straightforward
and flexible rules for H Block licensees. I am confident that this common-sense approach will make for a
successful auction of this paired spectrum in the coming months. And I believe that this approach should
serve as a model for future auctions.
I would like to thank Ruth Milkman, John Leibovitz, Jeremy Marcus, Blaise Scinto, Kevin
Holmes, Janet Young, Michael Ha, Tom Peters, Brian Regan, Matthew Pearl and Renee Gregory for their
hard work on this order. I stand ready to do anything I can to help make our goal of holding the auction
in late 2013 or early 2014 a reality. The sooner we do so, the better, both for interested bidders and the
consumers who increasingly expect mobile broadband wherever they go.

1 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156, 22223, 6401(b).
126

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