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Verizon-Led Team to Test Carrier Aggregation Over CBRS Band

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U.S. telecom giant, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Free Report) , recently formed a consortium to carry out the first use of CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) band 48 spectrum in an 4G LTE Advanced (LTE-A) carrier aggregation demonstration. The CBRS band comprises 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz shared spectrum. Historically these frequencies were primarily used by the U.S. government for radar systems.

Other members of this consortium are mobile chipset behemoth Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM - Free Report) , major telecom equipment vendor Ericsson AB (ERIC - Free Report) and Federated Wireless. The first demonstration was conducted in an Ericsson lab in Plano (Texas) using 2x20 MHz LTE carriers along with a 256 QAM modulation in the downlink. Qualcomm provided a Snapdragon LTE modem test device and Federated Wireless provided the spectrum management service with its spectrum controller.

Verizon is also planning to deploy small cells – both low power and high power – using the 3.5 GHz band. The company has long been involved in small cell densification and expansion of its dark fiber footprint strategy in relation to upcoming 5G wireless technology trials and launch.

Verizon is actively working with multiple vendor partners and testing 3.5 GHz equipment this year, both in lab and field tests. The company’s officials mentioned that they have already conducted infrastructure testing. Meanwhile, in March 2017, the FCC awarded AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) a license to test a 3.5 GHz network.

We believe that the increase in the adoption of small cells is because of the inconvenience of installing large towers in inaccessible areas. Verizon stated that the small cells will be used to augment its existing 4G LTE and upcoming 5G network and will primarily concentrate on high traffic locations like a business district or shopping mall. Verizon expects small cells to increase its voice capacity and data speeds as well as complement its current LTE infrastructure. However, providing emergency power backup remains a major headwind for small cells.

Price Performance of Verizon

Verizon’s shares have increased 7.26%, outperforming the industry’s gain of 1.17% in the last three months. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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