I was preparing a quick note on Cavalier Wireless’ ex-parte meeting with staff from Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski’s office when I thought about how granular the FCC could get with the interoperability issue in the 700MHz band. The FCC has a docket opened, WT Docket 12-69, to address promotion of operability in this portion of the spectrum.
Cavalier, who met with the FCC on 8 August 2012, wants the agency to move with haste on the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which came out last March. Cavalier wants the FCC to focus on technical and competitive issues surrounding interoperability.
By interoperability Cavalier would like a ruling that says all mobile devices for the 700 MHz band should be able to operate all over the 700 MHz band. It appears that Cavalier’s customers have handsets that won’t operate in the blocks of spectrum AT&T and Verizon operate it and without roaming agreements, these customers won’t be able to speak to a larger population of AT&T and Verizon wireless consumers.
I don’t have a problem with the FCC determining the rules of the road for infrastructure, i.e. signal propagation, power requirements for antennas, rules on interference, etc., but ordering what type of car can run on the road is another story. An independent, non-governmental body came up with operating standards for the bands of spectrum. Let private parties continue to make decisions on what type of hardware to provide to carriers and determine the frequencies these handsets can operate on.
Handset providers and wireless carriers should maintain their autonomy of contracting for mobile devices.