MulteFire Alliance launches certification in Japan’s 1.9 GHz band

The MulteFire technology – which allows 4G to run in unlicensed or shared spectrum without an anchor network in a licensed band – has been quiet lately. This is despite the excitement around the USA’s CBRS spectrum, which was a key target for MulteFire – the combination could enable disruptive non-MNOs to build 4G in high value environments, for instance.

But now, the MulteFire Alliance, which champions the technology and drives international standards, has surfaced with an announcement on the other side of the world, in Japan. It has launched its certification program for Japan’s 1.9 GHz band, which is being targeted particularly at enterprise and IoT services with a light licensing approach.

The band is peculiar to Japan and has a long history of off-beam services. It supported the PHS service, which was popular in the country and also in China, as well as DECT cordless phones. There were plans to migrate the spectrum to WiMAX services once PHS was switched off a decade ago. Renamed sXGP, or Band 39, it is now being targeted at TD-LTE private networks for industrial IoT, transport and utilities services.

The Alliance has established a testing lab in Yokohama, which will run the certification program to ensure that devices and base stations are compliant with the new MulteFire Release 1.1 specs, now extended to 1.9 GHz.

“The launch of the MulteFire Alliance 1.9 GHz Certification Program in Japan marks a critical step forward in the development of new wireless networks with LTE technology operating standalone in unlicensed and shared spectrum bands,” said Mazen Chmaytelli, president of the Alliance. “We’re excited to officially begin certification of MulteFire devices in Japan and have plans to expand the program to enable certification of MulteFire devices to additional geographic regions around the world.”

“The XGP Forum has long-supported the development of 1.9 GHz in Japan and we see this as the next evolutionary step in the continuing of the legacy LTE ecosystem,” said Yoshiya Iribe, secretary general of the Forum. “Vendors in Japan now have the ability to reduce system costs and achieve quick time-to-market.  Only small modifications at the eNodeB side are needed to obtain coexistence with existing DECT and PHS systems in the same band. The 1.9 GHz Certification Program will give end users confidence that their devices will work.”