FCC is merely considering these proposals at the moment but, if either are adopted, it could permanently change the mobile broadband landscape. First up, the commission is considering reassigning the 2GHz band from MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) to AWS (Advances Wireless Service). If adopted, the new rules would clear the way for Dish to launch its LTE network and enter the 4G market. It will also irk AT&T, which has been trying to tie up the spectrum following the collapse of the T-Mobile merger, most likely because the carrier hoped to use the 2GHz band itself.
Secondly, and perhaps even more important, is a proposal that would place new interoperability rules on the 700MHz spectrum used by both Verizon and AT&T for their LTE service. Until now concerns over interference have kept most 700MHz devices from being able to hop between the different blocks of spectrum. This is a particularly big issue for small and rural carriers which own some chunks of real estate in the band, but lack the buying power to convince big OEMs to make handsets for their networks. Obviously, there's still some haranguing to do before either of these proposals become law and you can bet AT&T will do its best to derail both efforts. Still, it's a good sign to see the FCC even taking up the issues. You can watch the entire debate at the source link.
[Tower photo via Shutterstock]
Update: As one of our tipsters has pointed out, it appears that the interoperability rules would only apply to the lower 700MHz band occupied by AT&T, not the upper band used by Verizon. Alas, that means we won't have Big Red and Ma Bell playing nice with their LTE anytime soon.