The US Department of Defence (DoD) has cleared the use of 100Mhz of spectrum for 5G development following a review into whether it would affect military radar operations.
The 3450-3550 MHz band, which will now be available for 5G by the end of the summer, supports ‘critical DoD radar operations’ including fixed, mobile, shipborne and airborne systems.
The DoD said that capabilities for these systems include ‘air defence, missile and gunfire control, counter-mortar, bomb scoring, battlefield weapon locations, air traffic control, and range safety.’
As part of the review, the DoD said it brought together ‘180 subject matter experts’ from the US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Office of the Secretary of Defence.
In addition to the DoD team, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy also provided external experts to participate in the review.
Once rules are adopted, the spectrum will be auctioned off by the US Federal Communications Commission.
In a statement, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said: “With this additional 100 MHz, the US now has a contiguous 530 megahertz of mid-band spectrum from 3450-3980 MHz to enable higher capacity 5G networks.
“The Federal Communications Commission will auction the spectrum after service rules are adopted. Through the hard work of the AMBIT, we expect these rules to be similar to AWS-3, where for the most part the spectrum will be available for commercial use without limits, while simultaneously minimizing impact to DoD operations.”
In April, the White House formed AMBIT (America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team) to work to open up the mid-band spectrum for 5G, which the Deasy said is ‘paramount to maintaining American leadership in 5G.’
Deasy added: “DoD is proud of the success of the AMBIT and is committed to working closely with industry after the FCC auction to ensure timely access to the band while protecting national security.”
Commenting on the clearance, US President Donald Trump said: “Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.”
In a statement, the White House added: “President Trump is committed to strengthening United States leadership in 5G communications for the security and prosperity of the American people.
“With 5G networks already available to more than 250 million Americans, we have made significant strides. The availability of more mid-band spectrum is a key factor to driving widespread 5G access across rural America.”
The White House added that ‘throughout’ the process, the Trump administration had worked ‘carefully’ to ensure that the commercialisation of the mid-band spectrum did not ‘compromise military preparedness or national security’.