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Order Modifying AT&T's Lower 700 MHz B and C Block Licenses

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Released: January 16, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-43

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz
)
WT Docket No. 12-69
Commercial Spectrum
)

ORDER OF MODIFICATION

Adopted: January 16, 2014

Released: January 16, 2014

By the Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
By this Order of Modification, we modify AT&T’s Lower 700 MHz B and C Block
licenses consistent with the 700 MHz Interoperability Report and Order and Order of Proposed
Modification
and the terms outlined below.1

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On October 25, 2013, the Commission adopted the 700 MHz Interoperability Report and
Order and Order of Proposed Modification to implement a voluntary industry solution that is designed to
establish interoperable Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in the Lower 700 MHz band. Specifically,
pursuant to Section 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,2 and in order to implement the
commitments contained in AT&T’s letter of September 10, 20133 and effectuate the voluntary industry
solution for interoperability, the Commission proposed to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses to
implement the interoperability commitments outlined below and in the 700 MHz Interoperability Report
and Order and Order of Proposed Modification
.4 On January 14, 2014, AT&T filed a letter in this docket
waiving its right under Section 316 to protest the proposed license modifications.5 No other party has
raised any protest or other objection to these proposed modifications of AT&T’s licenses.

III.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

3.
In accordance with the Commission’s decision in the 700 MHz Interoperability Report
and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, and in light of AT&T’s filing, we conclude it is in the
public interest to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses by imposing the following interoperability

1 See Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, Requests for Waiver and Extension of
Lower 700 MHz Band Interim Construction Benchmark Deadlines, WT Docket Nos. 12-69, 12-332, Report and
Order and Order of Proposed Modification, 28 FCC Rcd 15122 (2013) (700 MHz Interoperability Report and Order
and Order of Proposed Modification
).
2 47 U.S.C. § 316.
3 Letter from Joan Marsh, Vice Pres. Fed. Regulatory, AT&T Services, Inc. to the Hon. Mignon Clyburn,
Chairwoman, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Sept. 10, 2013 (AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte).
4 700 MHz Interoperability Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, 28 FCC Rcd at 15142-45,
15153-55, ¶¶ 47-48, 67-70.
5 Letter from Joan Marsh, Vice President Fed. Regulatory, AT&T Services, Inc. to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Jan. 14, 2014.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-43

commitments as conditions for AT&T to hold the Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licenses. These
commitments relate both to AT&T’s deployment of a Multi-Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI) software
feature and to AT&T’s transition to Band Class 12 capable devices:
 AT&T must move forward expeditiously with testing the 3GPP MFBI software feature as
soon as it is made available to AT&T by its RAN vendors. AT&T must fully deploy the new
MFBI software feature in its 700 MHz network within 24 months of September 30, 2013.
The end of the 24-month period will also commence the beginning of the Band 12 capable
device roll-out period.
 If AT&T concludes that, despite its best efforts, implementation of the MFBI feature within
24 months will result in significant negative customer impact, AT&T will file a certification,
consistent with Commission rules (including but not limited to Sections 1.16, 1.17 and 1.656),
so asserting and outlining in specific detail the commercially reasonable steps taken to meet
the deadline and the reason for the delay. Any such filing must be made on or before August
31, 2015. With the filing of such a certification, the 24-month deadline for MFBI
implementation and the start of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period shall be extended
by the period requested in the certification, up to an additional 6 months.
 Once MFBI has been fully implemented by AT&T, AT&T shall provide LTE roaming to
carriers with compatible Band 12 devices, consistent with the Commission’s rules on
roaming.
 “Band 12 capable device” shall mean any device that is capable of supporting 3GPP Band
Class 12. At this time, AT&T is exploring various Band 12 implementation approaches with
its chipset and OEM partners and AT&T may pursue the most efficient solutions available
based on evolving network and device capabilities on a technology neutral basis.
 During the first year of the device roll-out period, 50% of all new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. Machine-to-
Machine (M-to-M) devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this
commitment.
 During the second year of the device roll-out period, 75% of new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. M-to-M devices
shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this commitment.
 Commencing at the conclusion of the second year of the device roll-out period, all new
unique devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands introduced by AT&T into its
device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. In addition, from that time forward, AT&T
must ensure that its specifications for all new devices that are designed to operate in the
paired Lower 700 MHz frequencies, including M-to-M devices, will call for Band 12
capability. However, M-to-M devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for
purposes of this commitment.

6 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.16, 1.17 and 1.65.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-43

 The commitments outlined above apply to all new unique data-capable devices that connect
to or provide connectivity on AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz FDD network. AT&T’s
commitment shall not extend to any devices that are uniquely designed to operate on
spectrum bands licensed for use by AT&T that are not in the paired Lower 700 MHz bands.
AT&T reserves the express right to support devices that do not operate in the paired Lower
700 MHz bands.
 To demonstrate progress on its commitments, AT&T shall submit comprehensive written
reports and meet with the Commission staff at each of 12 months, 18 months and 24 months
from the date of its September 10, 2013 commitment letter that will provide information on
AT&T’s progress toward meeting these commitments.7 Additionally, AT&T shall provide
comprehensive written reports at 28 months, 40 months and 46 months to report on progress
during the device roll-out period, and it shall file a certification to the Commission within 30
days of the end of the device roll-out period to certify final completion of these commitments.
 Fulfillment of these commitments will require the implementation of new functionality in
AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz network as well as collaboration with AT&T’s chipset and
OEM partners and vendors. AT&T will use its best efforts to proceed diligently to complete
the activities necessary to fulfill its commitments. However, if at any time, AT&T
encounters obstacles beyond its control that threaten its ability to meet these commitments, or
undermine the quality of the service it is providing on its network, AT&T may so inform the
Commission and seek an extension of time or a waiver as appropriate.
 Consistent with these commitments, AT&T anticipates that its focus and advocacy within the
3GPP standards setting process will shift to Band 12 related projects and work streams.
AT&T must place priority within the 3GPP RAN committee on the development of various
Band 12 carrier aggregation scenarios. Upon completing implementation of the MFBI
feature, AT&T anticipates that its focus on new standards related to the paired Lower 700
MHz spectrum will be almost exclusively on Band 12 configurations, features and
capabilities. AT&T may seek revisions and updates to Band 17 standards to the extent
necessary to support legacy Band 17 devices and continuing Band 17 functionality on its
network.
4.
We find that modifying AT&T’s licenses in this manner will serve the public interest by
enabling consumers, especially in rural areas, to enjoy the benefits of greater competition and more
choices, and by encouraging efficient use of spectrum, investment, job creation, and the development of
innovative mobile broadband services and equipment. The license modifications will be effective upon
release of this Order.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

1.
IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 316(a) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 316, and Section 1.87 of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §
1.87, that AT&T’s 700 MHz B and C Blocks licenses ARE MODIFIED as described in this Order of
Modification.
2.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau SHALL
SEND this Order of Modification by certified mail, return receipt requested to AT&T.
3.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order of Modification WILL BE EFFECTIVE

7 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-43

upon release.
4.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the licensing staff of the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau WILL UPDATE the Universal Licensing System in accordance with this Order of Modification
and with the Commission’s rules.
5.
This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Section 0.131 and 0.331 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.131 and 0.331, and paragraph 72 of the 700 MHz Interoperability
Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification
.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Roger C. Sherman
Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
4

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