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Public Notice

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3G systems will provide access, by means of one or more radio links, to a wide range of telecommunication services supported by the fixed telecommunication networks and to other services that are specific to mobile users. A range of mobile terminal types will be encompassed, linking to terrestrial and/or satellite-based networks, and the terminals may be designed for mobile or fixed use.


Latest Release

11/22/02
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 Ghz Bands.
[PDF | Word | Text]

7/22/02
An Assessment of the Viability of Accommodating Advanced Mobile Wireless (3G) Systems in the 1710-1770 MHZ and 2110-2170 MHZ Bands
[Press Release | Report in Acrobat (PDF) format]


3G Information

Key features of 3G systems are a high degree of commonality of design worldwide, compatibility of services, use of small pocket terminals with worldwide roaming capability, Internet and other multimedia applications, and a wide range of services and terminals. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 initiative ("IMT-2000") third generation mobile ("3G") system services are scheduled to be initiated around the year 2000, subject to market considerations. The following Table describes some of the key service attributes and capabilities expected of 3G systems:

3G System Capabilities
Capability to support circuit and packet data at high bit rates:
  • 144 kilobits/second or higher in high mobility (vehicular) traffic
  • 384 kilobits/second for pedestrian traffic
  • 2 Megabits/second or higher for indoor traffic
Interoperability and roaming
Common billing/user profiles:
  • Sharing of usage/rate information between service providers
  • Standardized call detail recording
  • Standardized user profiles
Capability to determine geographic position of mobiles and report it to both the network and the mobile terminal
Support of multimedia services/capabilities:
  • Fixed and variable rate bit traffic
  • Bandwidth on demand
  • Asymmetric data rates in the forward and reverse links
  • Multimedia mail store and forward
  • Broadband access up to 2 Megabits/second

On October 13, 2000, the President executed a memorandum that articulated the need to select radio frequency spectrum to satisfy the United States' future needs for mobile voice, high-speed data, and Internet-accessible wireless capability. The Presidential Memorandum established for the Executive Agencies guiding principles to be used in selecting spectrum that could be made available for 3G wireless systems, and strongly encouraged independent federal agencies to follow the same principles in any actions they take related to the development of 3G systems.

Noting the joint spectrum management responsibilities of the Executive Branch and the Commission, the Presidential Memorandum directed the Secretary of Commerce to work cooperatively with the FCC: (1) to develop a plan to select spectrum for third generation wireless systems by October 20, 2000; and (2) to issue by November 15, 2000 an interim report on the current spectrum uses and potential for reallocation or sharing of the bands identified at the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference that could be used for 3G systems. These actions were taken to enable the Commission to identify spectrum for 3G systems by July 2001 and auction licenses by September 30, 2002.

In accordance with the Presidential Memorandum, the Department of Commerce released a "Plan to Select Spectrum for Third Generation (3G) Wireless Systems in the United States" (Study Plan) on October 20, 2000. The Study Plan noted that although various frequency bands have been identified for possible 3G use, the Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) needed to undertake studies of the 2500-2690 MHz and the 1755-1850 MHz frequency bands in order to provide a full understanding of all the spectrum options available. The Study Plan called for the Commission to complete an Interim Report on the 2500-2690 MHz band and for NTIA to complete an Interim Report on the 1755-1850 MHz band by November 15, 2000.

In March 2001, the Commission issued a Final Report on the 2500-2690 MHZ band and NTIA issued a Final Report on the 1755-1850 MHz band. The NTIA Final Report also addressed the 1710-1755 MHz Federal Government band. Comments were received on these reports in April 2001. In July 2001, FCC Chairman Powell and Commerce Secretary Evans exchanged letters, in which they agreed to postpone the July 2001 deadline for the Commission to identify spectrum for 3G systems. Secretary Evans informed Chairman Powell that he has directed the Acting Administrator of NTIA to work with the FCC to develop a new plan for the selection of 3G spectrum, to be executed as quickly as possible.

In September 2001, the Commission added a mobile allocation to the 2500-2690 MHz band to provide additional near-term and long-term flexibility for use of this spectrum, thereby making this band potentially available for advanced mobile and fixed terrestrial wireless services, including 3G and future generations of wireless systems. However, because the 2500-2690 MHz band is extensively used by incumbent Instructional Television Fixed Service and Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Services licensees, and in order to preserve the viability of the incumbent services, the Commission did not relocate the existing licensees or otherwise modify their licenses.



last reviewed/updated 11/25/02


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