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FCC Authorizes Full Commercial Use of OnGo Services in 3.5GHz Spectrum, Apple’s Latest iPhones Can Take Advantage

FCC Authorizes Full Commercial Use of OnGo Services in 3.5GHz Spectrum, Apple’s Latest iPhones Can Take Advantage

The United States Federal Communications Commission on Monday authorized commercialization of OnGo [PDF] services in the 3.5GHz CBRS band, for a range of applications, including improved data speeds and connectivity on both 4G and 5G networks across the United States.

The CBRS Alliance announced that the FCC has allowed the Full Commercial Deployment of the OnGo service, which has been in the works since 2013.

“NTIA’s groundbreaking engineering work and close collaboration with the FCC, DOD, and industry played a critical role in opening up the 3.5 GHz CBRS band for next-generation wireless services,” said Douglas Kinkoph, NTIA Associate Administrator performing the delegated duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “New 5G and 4G operations in the band will create tremendous value for our nation – both in terms of their contributions to GDP and further strengthening U.S. leadership in wireless technologies. We look forward to seeing the new licensed services in the band, which provides an optimal balance of capacity and coverage and will facilitate rollout of 5G.”

Numerous companies and government agencies make up the CBRS Alliance, including AT&T, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, the FCC, the NTIA, the Department of Defense, and more. The alliance includes more than 159 members in total.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration says the 3.5GHz CBRS band, which will allow for new 4G and 5G operations, will create “tremendous value” for the United States by opening up capacity and coverage for 4G networks and facilitating the rollout of 5G.

“The authorization of Full Commercial Deployments in the CBRS band is a significant milestone in our nation’s management and utilization of a vital resource, the radio frequency spectrum,” said Dana Deasy, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense (DoD). “The Defense Department worked closely with our federal partners at the NTIA and FCC, and with industry, to ensure that our mission-critical operations would be protected while enabling new commercial uses. Collectively, we were able to creatively address the engineering and security challenges associated with military and commercial spectrum sharing. We look to build upon those successes going forward. Additionally, I would like to thank the men and women in DoD who have diligently worked to make today possible.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that the 3.5GHz band will benefit both consumers and businesses through agreements with CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony who are now fully approved to operate commercial services in the band.

OnGo allows for private LTE networks, improved performance over Wi-Fi, and provides no-cost spectrum that can be used for numerous purposes, allowing carriers to add coverage and capacity and improve data. It also boosts IoT connectivity in the longer-range level currently limited to Low-Power Wide Area Networks.

Apple’s latest handsets – the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, all already support OnGo, and iPhone users could see benefits very soon. Other new smartphones also work with CBRS Band 48, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Google’s Pixel 4.