CBRS Status Summary

as of September 26, 2018

Gating Criteria for Commercial CBRS Operations

  • Completion of CBRS baseline  industry standards (completed 1Q18)
  • Availability of FCC-certified CBRS devices (have been certified beginning in 3Q18)
  • Certification of one or more Spectrum Access Systems (expected no earlier than 1Q19)
    • There are six conditionally-approved SAS Administrators awaiting certification; four additional applications were filed after the first SAS Administrator application deadline.
  • Certified Professional Installer (CPI)
    • CPI is required for Category B and non-geolocating Category A
    • Accreditation of CPI training programs (expected no earlier than 4Q18)
    • Certification of Professional Installers (expected no earlier than 4Q18)
  • Accreditation of PKI Root of Trust Certificate Authorities (complete)
    • Three companies have been accredited: Digicert, Insta Defsec, and Kyrio
  • Completion of Initial Commercial Deployment field tests (see next section)

Initial Commercial Deployment (ICD)

  • FCC will allow Initial Commercial Deployments of CBSDs under control of Spectrum Access Systems that have successfully passed laboratory testing, prior to full commercial operation

    • The purpose of ICD is to prove the ability of Spectrum Access Systems and CBSDs to perform properly in the field

    • Operations will generally be limited to areas away from the coasts and certain inland areas where government incumbents operate

    • ICD must last at least 30 days

  • ICD proposals submitted by SAS Administrators September 2018
  • ICD is expected to commence no earlier than 4Q18

RADAR Sensing Networks

  • “Environmental Sensing Capability” (ESC) to detect Navy RADAR operations will be required before any CBRS operation within 3550-3650 MHz near the coasts. 
  • Expect certification of ESC systems on same timescale as SAS (i.e., no earlier than 1Q19)
    • There are four conditionally approved ESC Operators awaiting certification; one additional application was filed after the first ESC Operator application deadline
    • ESC Operators have begun pre-certification at US Government’s Institute for Telecommunications Sciences
  • Full deployment of ESC systems will take time
    • Require (very roughly) 200 sensor nodes
    • In the meantime, CBRS operation is allowed in protected areas under partial ESC deployments
  • Deployment timescale will be dictated by wireless siting issues, hardware installation, etc.

General Authorized Access (GAA) commercial operation

  • Limited GAA operations may be conducted under Initial Commercial Deployments as early as 4Q18
  • Full GAA operation may begin as soon as at least one SAS is certified (i.e., no earlier than 1Q19)

Priority Access License (PAL) commercial operation

  • Requires PAL auction (and availability of a certified SAS)
  • No current schedule for PAL auction

    • Requires FCC Public Notice process, auction design, and completion of auction process
    • No timeline, but expected in 2019

Regulatory Updates

  • FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to deal with petitions mostly focusing on PAL license issues
    • Requests expanding license areas (Partial Economic Areas instead of census tracts), extending license terms (~10 years instead of three), and expectation of renewal (instead of re-auction at the end of each license term), among the key issues
  • Resolution of NPRM expected no earlier than late ~3Q18. The issues don’t directly impact SAS and commercial operations (i.e., the pending NPRM need not delay initial commercial service, especially in the GAA tier)


Relevant Market Study here: "CBRS White Paper: CBRS: New Shared Spectrum Enables Flexible Indoor and Outdoor Mobile Solutions and New Business Models" March 2017

Other market studies available here: https://www.cbrs.wirelessinnovation.org/market-studies