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The Federal Communications Commission continues to study a plan for spectrum sharing in the 3.5 GHz band, potentially adding about 100 megahertz to 150 megahertz worth of spectrum intended to be used to support mobile network small cells.

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service has been seen as suitable for general consumer use, carrier-grade small cell deployments, backhaul and fixed wireless broadband services.

The set of frequencies between 3550 MHz and 3650 MHz is currently used in radar systems but could be shared with other wireless services. It would possibly be a complex undertaking.

The PCAST plan envisions a three-part licensing system, whereby current licensees would retain first rights to use spectrum, but commercial licensees could have secondary rights, while unlicensed use would be possible where primary or secondary users are not using the spectrum.

and would be best suited to small cell networks, many believe. Australia’s National Broadband Network has tested 3.5 GHz to support Long Term Evolution mobile networks, for example.

About half of all spectrum best suited for communications applications is presently licensed to U.S. government users.

The cost of clearing users from such spectrum for other purposes is one reason why there is so much exploration of ways to share spectrum between existing licensed users and additional commercial users.

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