Nokia jumps the on 600 MHz LTE networks

The final round of the FCC’s 600 MHz auction, in which specific chunks of spectrum are allocated to winning bidders, is coming to a close, and the winners will soon be known. In anticipation of the new contracts which can flow from new spectrum, Nokia is claiming to have placed the first pre-standard LTE call in the 600 MHz band.

The call was conducted using existing commercially available hardware, including Nokia’s LTE eNodeB, said the firm, working with test devices. The trial was run in 20 MHz channel, with four-way uplink receive diversity, 4×4 MIMO, and 256 QAM to achieve a maximum throughput of 387Mbps.

Although some operators have said they will save 600 MHz for 5G roll-outs, since there will be a hiatus while the current broadcast owners clear the airwaves, Nokia believes several winners will use the low frequency band to extend their LTE footprint and data rates. It anticipates that initial service launches in this band will be in rural areas “due to the large cell size enabled by the low band”.

“We’ve been anticipating the end of the 600 MHz auction, and we haven’t waited. Nokia has been doing the necessary development, testing, and software creation over the last several quarters,” Ricky Corker, head of North America for Nokia, commented. “We are ready to work from day one with those customers who want to bring 600 MHz to market.”

The company said it is working on pre-standard products and solutions within its 4.5G Pro and 4.9G portfolio to serve customers who want to deploy radio electronics this year.

After the close of the assignment phase, the FCC will issue a Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice formally wrapping up the proceedings, and providing information on the results of the reverse and forward auctions, including winning stations and bidders, the prices paid, and frequencies won. The notice will also provide a date by which each station must transition off its pre-auction channel. The expected timeline for that repacking process is 39 months.