Amazon files application for CBRS tests in Sunnyvale

Amazon is among the many entities pursuing opportunities afforded by the Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) 3.5 GHz band. The company submitted a Special Temporary Authority (STA) application with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday for a six-month STA to conducts tests near its facilities in Sunnyvale, California.

The purpose is to “obtain sufficient data to determine whether to continue and expand its research into CBRS technologies at other locations,” the description states. The proposed start date for operations is August 19, with an end date of February 19, 2020.

Amazon explained that the tests in Sunnyvale will at no time involve the deployment of more than a total of 25 base stations and 50 mobiles. The tests initially will be conducted within a building, and the operational area for outdoor tests will be limited to a 5-kilometer radius of its corporate facilities in Sunnyvale.

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Amazon is among gobs of other companies that are eyeing the CBRS space. Last year, the company partnered with Federated Wireless, Athonet and Ruckus Wireless to build a private IoT network using CBRS to support things like real-time surveillance cameras and smart meters.

In November, the journal IEEE Spectrum reported on a curious set of CBRS test locations that suggested Amazon’s involvement in tests at various locations, including Sunnyvale, as well as Cupertino and Tracy, California.

Earlier this year, research analysts at the Wall Street firm Cowen noted that companies like Amazon and Google are interested in the CBRS band because it could ultimately enable them to build out an IoT platform that would feed back into their cloud platforms, creating a turnkey IoT solution that completely bypasses the incumbent wireless carriers. The analysts also noted that 5G is the first wireless generational technology being built to use the cloud.

Indeed, Google is setting itself up as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrator, along with the likes of CommScope and Federated Wireless. Earlier this year, Federated said it had already lined up a customer base that includes more than 25 companies spanning the telecom, energy, hospitality, education, retail, office space, municipal and residential verticals, with use cases ranging from network densification and mobile offload to private LTE and Industrial IoT.

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The CBRS Alliance last week marked another step in the path toward actual commercialization of the CBRS band, noting that full commercial service is now expected in or before September.