In-building wireless infrastructure provider Airwavz Solutions, Inc. and Globalstar, Inc. announced their agreement to offer Band 53 for in-building wireless wireless services this week. Under the agreement, Airwavz gained rights to lease Globalstar’s Band 53. Meanwhile, Globalstar will look to further develop the spectrum and supporting the ecosystem for in-building services and for mission critical applications.
Band 53 resides in the 2.5 GHz range—just above Wi-Fi and below Sprint’s 2GHz spectrum. Airwavz is currently conducting trials and has signed trial agreements with a handful of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) on the infrastructure side. The company is also working to get all the necessary LTE components built so Band 53 can begin testing in an LTE environment.
Airwavz Solutions has exclusive rights to use Band 53 inside of commercial real estate properties, which is the company’s primary focus. The company has two pilot programs in the CRE sector planned, which are expected to begin in July and August, with another one not too far behind. Airwavz is looking to roll the band out on Internet of Things (IoT) smart building services and devices first before moving to mobile phones, which poses a bigger challenge.
One reason why Airwavz went into this agreement is it recognizes commercial real estate owners are going to need an alternative to the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) to serve their tenants as buildings become “smarter” and in-building IoT devices become more prominent. Currently, network technologies such as distributed antenna systems (DAS), D-RAN, Wi-Fi and fiber-optic networks are supporting in-building services. However, there’s a need for new technologies to be developed in order to address the anticipated rise of IoT devices and the millions of connections needed for smart-building applications. Globalstar’s Band 53, which received 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approval last December, is well designed to meet future in-building wireless connectivity demands.
“Obviously CBRS is making a big push and they’re wrapped into IoT, smart building and private LTE,” Airwavz Solutions President Mark Horinko told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “I’m afraid there’s not going to be a lot of participation in licensed CBRS for commercial real estate—I don’t think it’s going to be affordable. We just feel that bringing a licensed product in concert with CBRS can provide a higher performing system in terms of mission critical applications, whether they’re smart building or private LTE services. (The band) is a licensed product that enables us to provide those SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) that CBRS and the general authorized access (GAA) will never be able to do.”
The terrestrial Band 53 holds physical, regulatory, and ecosystem qualities that separate it from other 5G spectrum allocations. With favorable characteristics like low interference, high capacity and nationwide availability, the band is ideal to support next generation in-building services as the CRE industry experiences a technological transformation.
“With FCC authorization, 3GPP approval of Band 53 and the growing support of the ecosystem, Globalstar is primed to offer terrestrial spectrum to enable high capacity indoor and outdoor applications,” Globalstar Executive Chairman Jay Monroe said in a statement. “We are working closely with Airwavz to deliver the next wave of innovative wireless services.”