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Wireless Communications Service (WCS)

Wireless Communications Service Band Plan

The Wireless Communications Service (WCS) is in the 2305-2320 and 2345-2360 MHz spectrum range. The most common use of WCS spectrum is mobile voice and data services, including cell phone, text messaging, and Internet.

Similar services include the 700 MHz Service, Advanced Wireless Service (AWS), 800 MHz Cellular, and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) Service.

Background

The WCS and the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) occupy 55 megahertz of RF spectrum, frequently referred to as the “2.3 GHz band,” from 2305 2360 MHz. The SDARS occupies the center portion of the 2.3 GHz band at 2320 2345 MHz, and this spectrum is divided evenly between two separate, but co owned, SDARS networks, Sirius and XM. The WCS occupies frequency bands on either side of the SDARS allocation and consists of 4 blocks in the 2305-2320 and 2345 2360 MHz bands: two 10-megahertz blocks (paired 5-megahertz blocks) and two unpaired 5-megahertz blocks.

WCS and SDARS

On October 17, 2012, the FCC adopted revised rules to enable Wireless Communications Service (WCS) licensees’ to use a total of 30 megahertz of underutilized spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band for wireless broadband services while protecting the adjacent Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) operator Sirius XM Radio Inc. (Sirius XM) against harmful interference.

The revised rules are consistent with a package of compromise proposals from WCS licensee AT&T Inc. and Sirius XM that were designed to facilitate the efficient deployment and coexistence of the WCS and SDARS. Of the 30 megahertz of total spectrum, 20 megahertz may be used for mobile broadband services and 10 megahertz for fixed broadband services, with possible future use as downlink spectrum to serve mobile broadband devices.

The revised rules also provide Sirius XM greater certainty and flexibility by adopting conditions for identifying and resolving harmful interference to SDARS operations on roadways and by relaxing the SDARS licensee notification requirements for low power terrestrial repeaters (equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) less than 2 Watts) and for minor modifications to repeaters. WCS and SDARS licensees are encouraged to enter into coordination agreements with one another for interference mitigation.

Licensing

The FCC uses an auctions process to issue initial WCS licenses. You can also gain access to WCS spectrum through the secondary market, which allows licensees to transfer or lease spectrum.

You can find information about WCS licenses in the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and the Spectrum Dashboard. The ULS radio service code and description for Wireless Communications Service )WCS) is WS – Wireless Communications Service.

The FCC service rules for WCS are located in 47 C.F.R. Part 27.

Market Areas and Channel Blocks

WCS licenses are issued by FCC market areas and channel blocks.

FCC market areas consist of one or more counties. The market areas for WCS licenses are:

  • Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAG) - There are 12 REAGs
  • Major Economic Areas (MEA) - There are 52 MEAs

Channel blocks are groups of frequencies. The channel blocks for WCS licenses are:

  • Block A: 2305 - 2310 and 2350 - 2355 (10 MHz) - issued by MEAs
  • Block B: 2310 - 2315 and 2355 - 2360 (10 MHz) - issued by MEAs
  • Block C: 2315 - 2320 - issued by REAGs
  • Block D: 2345 - 2350 - issued by REAGs
Auctions

The only WCS auction started on April 15, 1997 and ended on April 25, 1997.

 

 

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