WASHINGTON, October 27, 2022—The Federal Communications Commission today voted to launch a proceeding to explore repurposing up to 550 megahertz in the 12.7 to 13.25 GHz band (12.7 GHz band) for next-generation wireless services. The FCC expects that this inquiry is the first step in providing for more intensive use of the 12.7 GHz band, unlocking a significant expanse of valuable mid-band frequencies that may play a key role in delivering on the promise of next-generation wireless services, including 5G, 6G, and beyond.
This new proceeding is the latest in a series of FCC initiatives to ensure that mid-band spectrum is available for current and future consumer and business wireless needs. Mid-band spectrum offers an ideal blend of capacity and coverage and can support faster speeds and wider coverage. The 12.7 GHz band is believed to be ideally suited for mobile broadband use as it is already allocated for terrestrial mobile services on a primary basis domestically.
The Notice of Inquiry seeks information on how the Commission could encourage more efficient and intensive use of the 12.7 GHz band. Given existing incumbent operations in the band, the Notice of Inquiry also seeks comment on whether and how to provide opportunities for new uses while protecting the investments made by incumbents and avoiding disruption to their operations. Thus, the Notice of Inquiry asks about methodologies to promote coexistence or sharing between potential new entrants and existing users, whether some or all of the current incumbents should be relocated to provide a clean slate for more intensive use of some or all of the band, and about licensing approaches. The Notice of Inquiry also asks about the appropriate protection level that new 12.7 GHz band operations would have to provide incumbent services in adjacent bands.
The Commission also extended the 180-day freeze on filing applications for new or modified authorizations in the 12.7 GHz band pending the outcome of the new proceeding.