Federated Wireless, a company best known for a spectrum access system that enables shared use of the CBRS spectrum band, has now launched a spectrum exchange that allows licensees to lease CBRS band spectrum to other parties.
The offering, known as Spectrum Exchange, includes an automated portal through which license holders can offer unused spectrum for lease and through which entities without licenses can obtain CBRS spectrum on an ongoing or temporary basis. Spectrum cost is set by each license holder and can vary depending on geography and bandwidth.
According to Federated, spectrum is allocated “almost instantly” and ongoing delivery is maintained through a Federated network operations center.
A Valuable Band
The CBRS band includes spectrum between 3.55 and 3.7 GHz, which is considered mid-band spectrum. Mid-band spectrum is widely viewed as supporting the optimum mixture of speed and range for 5G fixed and mobile networks.
A portion of the band is available for unlicensed use, while another portion was auctioned last year. Licenses were issued by county.
Traditionally CBRS spectrum was used by the U.S. military, which continues to have priority access in certain areas. Spectrum access systems (SASs), including the one operated by Federated Wireless and others, are designed to prevent commercial users from using spectrum in areas where the military has priority.
Another function of the SAS is to enable commercial users to use licensed spectrum in areas where the license holder is not using the spectrum – an economical but unpredictable method of gaining additional spectrum. Although leasing spectrum through the spectrum exchange would be more costly, it would be more predictable.
According to Federated, the spectrum exchange is “ideal for lessees such as local or regional service providers who need additional spectrum to increase availability; universities, utilities and municipalities wishing to deploy private networks; and stadiums, outdoor venues and other organizations who need more spectrum temporarily for high-capacity and high-density events.”
The Federated CBRS spectrum exchange uses “Light Touch API [application programming interface] technology to eliminate the need to file documents and wait for approval from the FCC, for those wishing to lease spectrum,” the company explained in a press release.
Federated likens the offering to peer-to-peer accommodation services such as Airbnb and VRBO.