Mexico Signs 800 MHz Rebanding Agreement with U.S. (6/8/12)
The United States signed agreements with Mexico that will allow the long-delayed 800 MHz spectrum configuration process to move forward along the southern border.
“These agreements with Mexico will unleash investment and benefit consumers near the borders by enabling the rollout of advanced wireless broadband service and advanced systems for critical public safety and emergency response communications,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “I appreciate the commitment and dedication of agency staff and those at the State Department who made these important agreements possible.”
Genachowski participated in high-level discussions with U.S. and Mexican telecommunications officials at the State Department where the protocols were signed. The United States and Mexico also signed a high-level expression of support, or “joint statement,” for continued coordination of spectrum along the border and cooperation on telecommunications policy issues as well as an ambitious work plan, or “Directory of Bilateral Issues,” for 2012 – 2014.
Specifically, the new 800 MHz protocol allots band segments between the United States and Mexico, specifies the technical parameters for operation on these band segments within 110 kilometers (68 miles) of the common border, and creates a bi-national task force to support the transition of incumbent operators along the border to the new allotment plan.
The protocol for 800 MHz replaces a previous agreement and paves the way for completion of 800 MHz rebanding by U.S. public-safety and commercial licensees operating along the U.S.-Mexico border. The FCC ordered rebanding to alleviate interference to public-safety licensees in the band caused by commercial cellular licensees. The original deadline for 800 MHz reconfiguration to be completed was 2008.
A second agreement was signed between the two countries specific to 1.9 GHz. The new protocol for the 1.9 GHz band allows Sprint Nextel to deploy CDMA service along the border with Mexico. Sprint obtained access to the 1.9 GHz band in 2004 as compensation for vacating its spectrum holding in the lower segment of the 800 MHz band in accordance with the rebanding project.
“We applaud the work of FCC staff and other officials who have been pursuing such an agreement for several years,” said Gregg Riddle, president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International.
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