Altice USA has asked the FCC to let it conduct CBRS trials in Jonesboro, Ark. beginning Sept. 1.
According to the filing, Alice would like to conduct indoor and outdoor tests using prototype small cells and equipment from vendors including Ericsson, Nokia, Airspan Networks, Arris’ Ruckus Networks and Berkeley Varitronics Systems. According to Altice’s “special temporary authority” application, the operator would like use its 3.5GHz band trials to “evaluate propagation, capacity and mobility characteristics.”
Alice USA, Comcast and Charter Communications are all looking at the potential of small cell networks that utilize the emerging CBRS (Citizens Band Radio Service) shared spectrum band.
In April, Altice USA issued a request for information on CBRS small cell products, along with a request for proposal on a multi-phase trial.
As reported by Multichannel News in May, Altice USA believes it is well positioned to build a small network in part to its access to low-cost sites and a workforce that could be trained to install and maintain the new small cell network.
Tied to Altice USA’s CBRS effort, the operator is building out network infrastructure for its MVNO deal with Sprint. Altice expects to launch a mobile service based on this relationship next year.
Speaking to investors two weeks ago for Altice USA’s Q2 earnings report, CEO Dexter Goei talked about the ongoing “densification of Sprint’s network,” as well as upgrades and expansion of Altice’s Wi-Fi network.
“We are also testing CBRS spectrum with equipment in a 3.5 gigahertz band as this may be good complementary capacity for us,” Goei said.
Last month, the FCC announced that it will begin on Sept. 10 accepting initial commercial deployment proposals for CBRS.
The FCC has also conditionally approved a group of Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators, which include Google, Sony, Amdocs, CommScope and Federated Wireless.