Altice USA will conduct wireless testing in the 3.5 GHz band starting this September, as the cable operator readies to launch its own mobile service next year.
The FCC granted Altice special temporary authority to conduct tests in Jonesboro, Ark., and Deer Park, N.Y., operating between 3680 MHz and 3700 MHz, and 3650 MHz and 3700 MHz, respectively.
In its filings, Altice requested permission to conduct outdoor and indoor tests using experimental small cells and user equipment from Ericsson, Nokia, Arispan, and Arris’ Ruckus Wireless, testing a total of up to 66 small cells at the Arkansas location. The trials in New York will test up to 88 small cells and rely on the same equipment vendors, with the addition of Berkeley Varitronics Systems.
According to the STA application, Alice wants to “evaluate propagation characteristics for different type of set ups, data throughput performance, inter-cell mobility, and advanced Spectrum Access System functionality.”
“The obtained data will help us better understand the full potential of the technology and equipment utilized in these experimental operations,” Altice added.
Tests at both locations are expected to wrap up by the end of February 2019.
Altice plans to launch its mobile service in 2019, after signing an MVNO agreement with Sprint late last year.
During the operator’s second-quarter earnings call Dexter Goei said that utilizing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band may provide “good complementary capacity” to Sprint’s spectrum for Altice.
Altice will be the latest cable operator to delve into the wireless pool. Comcast launched Xfinity mobile in May 2017, while fellow cable giant Charter introduced its own wireless service in late June. Both operate under MVNO agreements with Verizon.