LTE-U, WiFi Backers Wrangle With FCC Over Sharing Spectrum
NEWS ANALYSIS: Verizon's plans to use unlicensed spectrum for LTE gets vested interests riled up as they think of ways to convince the FCC they should be the regulators of LTE products.The other unlicensed shoe has dropped and stirred confusion as it makes its first bounce. At the end of October, a group of cable companies and big tech companies including Microsoft and Google had a meeting with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler in which they complained about non-WiFi use of unlicensed spectrum. In their Ex Parte filing after the meeting, the attorneys representing those companies revealed the contents of their discussion. What the folks in Big Cable and Big Software are complaining about is that cell phone companies might start using the same unlicensed spectrum they currently use for WiFi for another technology, a form of LTE wireless technology that works on unlicensed frequencies. Those frequencies, which primarily are in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, support WiFi, of course, but also support a wide selection of other services, including microwave ovens, drone controllers, baby monitors and security systems.
Those frequencies are not reserved for any specific service, including WiFi. You can, as long as you meet certain FCC standards for signal purity and non-interference with licensed services, do anything you want on those unlicensed bands. Despite what many might say about WiFi and other services, there are no specific standards and no standards-settings body for unlicensed spectrum.