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Industry poised to ride OnGo in the CBRS innovation band

The CBRS Alliance are poised to celebrate the historic launch of their commercial services in the 3.5 GHz CBRS “innovation” band this week, 18 September 2019, making it loud and clear that: “Spectrum worth USD 15.6 billion is nearly here”

Nokia has been one of the driving forces behind the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, and since its inception, has implemented numerous trials using CBRS for both enterprises and CSP networks. In April 2019, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules for the commercial use of 150MHz of spectrum in this band 3550 – 3700 MHz (3.5GHz) band, which they dub the “innovation band” as it provides much-needed spectrum for wireless innovation. The Wireless Innovation Forum, NTIA, DoD, and the FCC developed a dynamic spectrum sharing solution that utilizes a spectrum access system (SAS) and a network of sensors that enable environmental sensing capability (ESC). This is a significant innovation in spectrum sharing techniques that allow commercial use of spectrum reserved for Navy radars.

The CBRS Alliance was set up in June 2016, with Nokia as one of its founding members with the aim to promote LTE-based (OnGo™) solutions in the CBRS spectrum band, utilizing shared spectrum to enable both in-building and outdoor coverage and capacity expansion at massive scale. The scope has since expanded to support the 5G New Radio standard over shared 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum. The CBRS Alliance adopted the OnGo™ name as its consumer-facing brand. With over 140 industry participants the CRBRS Alliance has played a significant role in commercializing the CBRS spectrum. Nokia chaired the technical working group of the CBRS Alliance for two years and continues to make significant foundational technical contributions. Chris Stark, Nokia Head of Business Development NAM has been the chair of the CBRS Alliance for the past two years.

Nokia CBRS milestones Nokia has also been a pioneer in utilizing the CBRS spectrum for innovative applications beginning in 2016, with an industry first introducing commercial Flexi Zone micro and indoor Pico BTS small cell products in CBRS band and again in  2017 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with a live video stream of a 360-degree virtual reality zone inside a stock car racing vehicle (Watch the video here). This was followed by the deployment of a CBRS network at the Santa Clara Convention Center to evaluate firsthand the advantages of employing it to manage telepresence robots (Watch the video here).

Nokia achieved a significant milestone in October of 2018, when it became one of the first vendors to complete FCC certification of its CBRS product line. In March 2019, Nokia became the first approved Certified Professional Installer (CPI) Training Program Administrator for the CBRS band. CPIs are required for the installation of certain types of CBRS devices and Nokia provides end-to-end services to aid installation of CBRS.

 In April 2019, the FCC approved the first set of ESC’s and in July 2019 completed the laboratory testing of SAS’s. With the start of Initial Commercial Deployment (ICD), we are in the final stages of field testing prior to commercial launch.

“More than three years back, Nokia extended its innovative portfolio of small cell radios with CBRS and shipped thousands of them. We’ve worked closely with  multiple SAS providers and are very pleased to begin initial commercial deployments both to help mobile operators enhance network capabilities using CBRS and to help enterprises leverage private wireless/cellular networking for their industry 4.0 connectivity requirements.”  Mark Atkinson, SVP, 5G and Small Cells Business Unit, Nokia

Now that ICD has begun and commercial launch is imminent , the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud, which incorporates the Nokia Flexi Zone Multiband CBRS product line, can enables enterprises to fully unleash the innovation potential of the CBRS spectrum by creating their own private, secure connectivity bubble.

Nokia CBRS solutions are already widely employed across a variety of use cases including capacity augmentation by wireless service providers, enterprises, entertainment venues, and fixed wireless broadband access providers with thousands of radios shipped. It is truly turning out to be a spectrum that will unleash innovation and Nokia is leading the way.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokiaindustries using #CBRS #OnGo #privateLTE #IoT

Rajiv Porayath

About Rajiv Porayath

Rajiv is with the North America Business Development team at Nokia and the co-chair of the Business Working Group at the CBRS Alliance, where he works to develop business use cases with industry participants to commercialize and accelerate the adoption of the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum. He can be reached at

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