The FCC held a 66 minute meeting today, you can watch it here, were they discussed two very important proposals. First, they want to know how hard it would be to make AT&T’s and Verizon’s respective 4G LTE networks interoperable. Right now you can’t make a 4G LTE enabled AT&T device work on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and vice versa, despite both using the same 700 MHz band. The best example of this is the new Apple iPad, which comes in three variants: WiFi only, AT&T 4G LTE, and Verizon 4G LTE. Each of those variants has three storage size options, and two color options. That’s 18 different product SKUs, which is a royal pain in Tim Cook’s ass. Now last week we covered the five page letter that T-Mobile sent to the FCC asking them to force AT&T and Verizon to make their 4G LTE networks interoperable, so we’re frankly a bit shocked that a proposal has already entered the FCC’s system. How long until the FCC acts on this proposal? That’s another story all together.
The second proposal has to do with Dish Network. They own 40 MHz worth of spectrum in the 2 GHz band that they’d like to use to build an LTE-Advanced network. Problem is that said spectrum was meant to be used for satellite communications, not for a terrestrial network. Dish needs the FCC’s permission to use their spectrum in a way that wasn’t originally intended. There doesn’t seem to be any issues with their request, unlike LightSquared, which owns spectrum in the 1.6 GHz band. Their spectrum sits dangerously close to the bands that GPS satellites use, and initial testing showed that any GPS devices within a 20+ mile radius of a LightSquared tower was rendered absolutely useless.
Like we said earlier, these proposals are merely the first step of a long winded process that can take a ludicrous amount of time to complete. Hopefully we’ll get some answers by the close of this year.