Charter Communications and Samsung will conduct lab and field trials evaluating 5G using 28 GHz spectrum and 4G LTE by using small cells and 3.5 GHz (CBRS) spectrum.
“These tests will provide critical information as Charter prepares to launch a mobile wireless service next year and bring new competition to that marketplace,” Charter said in a company statement posted on its corporate blog.
Previously coy about its wireless business development plans, Charter also noted that Craig Cowden, the company’s senior VP of wireless technology, is attending Mobile World Congress in San Francisco this week.
“Charter will emphasize an ‘inside-out' strategy, focusing first on wireless solutions inside the home and office, and then eventually expanding outdoors,” the company said in its statement.
“Charter will create a seamless connectivity experience by combining Wi-Fi with wireless 4G and 5G access technologies. Beginning in 2018, Charter will offer a mobile wireless service to its customers. Operating as a Wi-Fi-first MVNO, Charter will leverage its own pervasive residential, commercial and outdoor Wi-Fi to enhance the connectivity experience. After that, we hope to bolster the quality, speed and capacity of our wireless service using newly available spectrum, such as the 3.5 GHz band and millimeter wave spectrum.”
Like Comcast, Charter has an MVNO deal with Verizon, inherited when the company acquired Time Warner Cable. Charter has a joint-venture agreement with Comcast to share wireless development technology and business planning.
As for Cowden, Charter said he will push the company’s regulatory message at MWC.
“As we progress on wireless connectivity, it is increasingly important to ensure that the policy environment is favorable to make 5G and licensed small cells a reality for families and businesses across the country,” Charter said. “The FCC has just begun a rule-making proceeding to consider changes to the rules governing the 3.5 GHz (CBRS) band.”