Nextel Firmly Rejects 2100MHz Swap

We’ve been regularly discussing the various proposals to solve the Nextel-Public Safety interference issues in the 800MHz band. Nextel proposes a swap for some frequency at 1900MHz (which is where PCS, GSM, and much of US mobile telephony takes place), while the CTIA and Verizon are pushing the FCC to relocate Nextel to 2100MHz. Well, Nextel CEO Tim Donahue sent a letter to FCC Chairman Powell indicating that 2.1GHz was an unacceptable proposal. Basically, higher frequencies are less desirable for range and penetration reasons, but Nextel will accept 1900 because there is wide choice of network and terminal equipment available at those frequencies. Nextel does not want to be the only operator running the 2.1GHz band. A telling factor is that the Public Safety agencies tend to agree with Nextel’s proposal to swap 800 for 1900 because they believe it will be the most expedient to actually get implemented. After Donahue’s letter, a Verizon Wireless spokesman accused Nextel of risking public safety by squabbling…ah…kettle to pot…that rings hollow when VZW’s position is opposed with the public safety agencies. Notwithstanding the complex and mystical political debate, the FCC can rule to force Nextel into any spectrum slice they choose, and are expected to make a decision by June. Techdirt expects the FCC will rule in favor of the 800 to 1900 swap proposal.

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