EWA Files Ex Parte on 800 MHz Freeze in Mexican Border Region

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2021

On March 12, EWA filed an ex parte letter requesting the FCC to lift the almost 8-year-old freeze on 800 MHz Expansion Band/Guard Band (EB/GB) spectrum in the Mexican Border Region (MBR) noting the Transition Administrator’s recent certification that the 800 MHz rebanding program is complete and that Sprint vacated entirely any use of this spectrum during the Summer of 2020. Critically, EWA explained that while the FCC typically lifts the freeze simultaneously on Sprint-vacated and EB/GB spectrum, that was not necessary in this case since all incumbents have been assigned their replacement frequencies. Further, given the still-unresolved issues with the FCC’s database that identifies which interleaved frequencies are Sprint-vacated and subject to the rule that makes them available first to public safety and then to CII entities, it is not clear when that spectrum can be released. Consequently, EWA stated that there is no reason to delay releasing EB/GB frequencies to which that legacy reservation does not apply. Finally, EWA noted that any delay in lifting this portion of the MBR Freeze is particularly significant because it affects such a meaningful portion of the country, including markets as far from the Mexican border as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and even parts of Houston. EWA suggested that the EB/GB spectrum should be made available promptly for all qualified applicants especially for those that do not qualify for the reserved interleaved frequencies.