France claims first Licensed Shared Access pilot

The French Ministry of Defence has offered up the 2.3 GHz band it previously used to measure missile speeds for what it claims is the most technically extensive pilot of Licensed Shared Access yet.

LSA technology enables the owner of a block of spectrum to effectively sub-let bits it’s not using to other parties. This has the potential to dramatically improve spectral efficiency, which is considered to be a key ingredient to the eventual 5G standard.

The technology partners for this trial were Ericsson infrastructure, Qualcomm-powered devices and French startup RED Technologies’ dynamic spectrum management platform.

“This initiative touches the core of the French telecoms industry and has the potential to considerably enhance the consumer mobile experience in France as well as generate significant economic return,” said French Minister for Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire.

“Spectrum availability is a core condition for flourishing technology adoption and innovation. This LSA pilot is therefore a vital step towards the realisation of Europe’s Digital Single Market,” said Wassim Chourbaji, VP of Government Affairs at Qualcomm.

“Sufficient availability of licensed spectrum will be a key asset to allow the deployment of 5G services, with the expected capacity and QoS requirements. LSA is an agile technology approach to boost capacity. The combination of licensed and unlicensed bands is a key 5G technology development area” said Thomas Noren, Head of Radio Product Management at Ericsson.

As with many wireless technologies LSA has been a bit of a slow burner. The GSMA released its position on the matter (together with the US equivalent – Authorised Shared Access) almost three years ago and hasn’t seen fit to update it since. The 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands are the main focus for shared access as they’ve already been identified for mobile use but in many countries are still being used for other purposes.

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