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FCC Bolsters Sprint, Nixing Burdensome Spectrum Regulations

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced a report and order that lifts restrictive rules in the wireless industry, enabling licensees of certain spectrum to migrate to 3G and other technologies including 4G LTE.

The FCC no longer has a burdensome regulation on the books that it said constrained 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) licensees such as Sprint.

Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC, said the agency’s decision will enable carriers like Sprint to migrate their networks to CDMA and LTE technologies.

“By removing the channel spacing and bandwidth limitations in our Part 90 rules, we are enabling mobile service providers with certain 800 MHz licenses to transition from narrow band operations to networks that can support the most advanced mobile broadband services,” FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who recently joined the agency, noted the order was complex but indicated the purpose of the decision was rather straightforward.

“This is about clearing out old spectrum policies and unlocking the possibilities that come with more efficient spectrum use,” she said.

Sprint hold the majority of so-called Economic Area-based 800 MHz SMR licenses, according to the FCC’s order. Sprint said it planned to use the spectrum as part of its network modernization, but the FCC noted certain restrictive rules prohibited the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier from deploying CDMA or LTE.

The FCC partly concluded in its order that its decision “will promote the deployment of advanced wireless technologies.”


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