Report: Altice USA setting up CBRS small cell trials

Altice USA flag
Altice USA appears to be joining Comcast and Charter in trialing CBRS small cell technology. (Newsday)

Altice USA has issued requests for information on CBRS small cell products, along with a request for proposals on a trial of the technology, according to Multichannel News.

Altice reps have yet to respond to Fierce’s inquiry for confirmation and comment. But the interest in Citizens Band Radio Service shared spectrum band matches that of other top cable companies, including Comcast and Charter, which have the tech in trials.

The FCC is currently considering licensing rules around the CBRS band, an underutilized 150 MHz-wide patch of spectrum in the range of 3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz. The agency would allocate spectrum licenses on a much smaller geographic basis, and on a much shorter timespan, than cellular carriers typically use.

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Charter said its initial tests of fixed wireless services in the 3.5 GHz band show that it can provide 25 Mbps services at “significant distances.” Charter previously had disclosed that it is conducting tests of fixed and mobile services in the band, but the company has not yet offered any details on the results of those tests.

RELATED: Charter outlines ‘inside-out’ wireless strategy, urges FCC to adopt ‘county’-sized geographic licensing of 3.5 GHz

In addition to cable company trials, vendors are getting in on the act, too. In February, Ruckus Networks, the latest acquisition by pay TV setup and cable network equipment vendor Arris, announced a new line of products aimed at operators hosting fixed wireless services using the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.

The movement on CBRS small cell comes as Altice moves ahead on a wireless product developed on the back of its MVNO deal with Sprint.

RELATED: Altice’s Goei says operator ‘ahead of where we thought we’d be’ on Sprint MVNO integration

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei told investors last week that his company is ahead of schedule in terms of developing the wireless infrastructure and integration needed to execute on an MVNO agreement with Sprint established last year.

"In terms of where we are on the Sprint, let's call it densification of their network side—we’re probably ahead of where we thought we would be relative to when we signed the MVNO agreement,” Goei said to investment analysts during Altice USA’s first-quarter earnings call.

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