Amazon Urges FCC to Reject Appeals From CTIA, et al, for More Spectrum

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Amazon supports the FCC’s decision to allow unlicensed operations in the 64-71 GHz band. Company representatives recently told some agency employees the availability of unlicensed spectrum is of great interest to the company and its 180,000 U.S. employees.

“Amazon develops and sells to consumers a number of devices that use or rely on unlicensed spectrum, including the Amazon Kindle, Echo, and Fire TV Stick. Amazon also utilizes unlicensed spectrum in its nationwide network of more than 70 fulfillment centers which allow Amazon to offer customers services like Prime Now and Prime free two-day delivery,” the company said in a summary of a meeting with staffers for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Rielly that was filed with the FCC.

The FCC recently determined that it was in the public interest to allocate the 64-71 GHz band for unlicensed use rather than licensed use. This is at odds with arguments presented by CTIA, T-Mobile, and the Competitive Carriers Association which have filed Petitions for Reconsideration. 

CCA told the FCC that allocating the entire 64-71 GHz band for unlicensed use will negatively impact the future of mobile terrestrial 5G services. “The FCC has allocated significant amounts of spectrum for unlicensed uses (e.g., white spaces, 3.5 GHz), and is considering other opportunities for unlicensed spectrum such as in the 5.9 GHz band,” says CCA. The agency made the decision about the 64-71 GHz band “at the expense” of licensed use, notes CCA, which adds that carving out “at least a portion” for licensed use will “correct this imbalance.”

The Commission has allocated significantly less spectrum for licensed use and even then a significant portion of the licensed spectrum is for shared use, according to CTIA. “The sharing regime risks undermining the value and utility of spectrum, which will in turn discourage innovation and investment,” CTIA tells the agency. Allocating spectrum for exclusive, licensed use will benefit both licensed and unlicensed services in the same band, it says.

T-Mobile echoes CTIA, saying licensed use in the 64-71 GHz band will encourage investment in new technologies. Nokia agrees, adding that such licensed use “could lead to greater investment in 5G networks.”

Amazon urged the Commission to reject their claims regarding timing considerations, spectrum equality considerations, and public interest considerations, saying they all fall short. Gaining access to the spectrum will enable Amazon to support development of innovative wireless devices and new products and technologies, which the company says will help Amazon create new jobs.

April 11, 2017

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