Comcast® hopes to trial fixed wireless and mobile services over 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum band and has filed an application with Federal Communications Commission. “Comcast® will conduct outdoor and indoor fixed and mobile testing in a small targeted portion of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, market within its service territory. Specifically, testing will be conducted within a 7 km radius,” the company’s FCC filing stated.
“The field test will evaluate coverage, throughput, and mobility of equipment and facilities operating in the CBRS band to obtain data and advance Comcast’s understanding of the full potential of the technology and equipment utilized in these experimental operations. The field testing will also evaluate the performance of pre-commercial equipment in the CBRS band.”
The best internet provider also suggested that its interests firmly lie in phones that support CBRS band. “Through the use of mobile test devices and commercial handsets (i.e. ‘End User Equipment’), Comcast® will evaluate propagation characteristics for model verification, data throughput performance, inter-cell interference, and advanced Spectrum Access System (‘SAS’) functionality.”
Comcast® is one of the members of CBRS alliance, which includes some major internet providers and equipment vendors. In August last year, Comcast® seemed to have contacted Nokia® to conduct small cell trials and half a dozen mobile units operating in CBRS band in Philly. Comcast’s application with FCC to self-test CBRS band in their headquarters may suggest an even deeper interest to deploy wireless services. Comcast® is not the only company to show interests in CBRS band; even Charter® has urged FCC to regulate 3.5 GHz band in the previous month using geographic currency no more than counties.
Charter® has also suggested that their fixed wireless trials in rural locations on 3.5 GHz have shown it can provide speeds at 25 megabytes per second at ‘significant distances’. Charter® has conducted mobile and fixed wireless trials in the said band but is yet to disclose details on results of the trials.
The interests in mobile wireless in CBRS band from Comcast® could coincide with Xfinity® Mobile, which runs on Verizon® network. Xfinity® Mobile is Comcast’s MNOV tie-up with Verizon®. As of now, the wireless service from Comcast® roams on to the public wireless hotspots, and the company might be looking to add more locations that can handle CBRS band and traffic from the customers. If that goes through, Comcast® would have to pay a less amount to Verizon® for network use.