Wireless & Mobile Landscape

U.S. 3.5 GHz CBRS Forecast: The Disruptive Spectrum's Final Rules

In April 2015 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) for shared wireless broadband use of the 3550-3700 MHz band (commonly called the 3.5 GHz Band). In late October 2017, and in response to months of petitions and comments, the FCC announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) asking for public comment on multiple aspects of the proposed rules. This announcement not only delayed the final rules, but also injected a great deal of uncertainty around what the final CBRS rules would actually be. After a year of deliberation, the FCC finalized the rules for CBRS in October 2018.

This market study updates two prior iGR market studies published in 2017 on CBRS and:

  • Provides an explanation of how the CBRS licensing scheme works as currently defined
  • Discusses how the technology elements of the new band work
  • Identifies the likely use cases of CBRS
  • Discusses some of the recent developments from the major players in the CBRS ecosystem.

This market study also provides an updated forecast from 2017 to 2022 of the total number of CBRS nodes expected to be deployed in the U.S. The forecasted number of nodes is categorized by Outdoor WISP, Outdoor non-WISP, Inside Commercial, and Inside Residential.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is CBRS?
  • What are the different license types of CBRS?
  • How does the licensing scheme work, as currently defined? What is the potential impact of the current definition, as compared to the previous rules?
  • Who are the likely adopters of CBRS?
  • What is the current state of the CBRS market?
  • How many CBRS nodes of the following categories – outdoor WISP, outdoor nonWISP, inside commercial, and inside residential – are expected to be deployed in the U.S. between 2017 and 2022?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Mobile backhaul providers, including telcos and cable MSOs
  • Wired and wireless backhaul vendors and solution providers
  • Mobile OEMs, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Wired and wireless infrastructure vendors, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Financial and investment analysts.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
    • What is CBRS?
    • CBRS Use Cases
    • Delay in 2017; Decision in 2018
    • Installed CBRS Nodes Forecast
    • What this Means
  • Methodology
  • Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)
    • Overview
    • CBRS Band
    • Incumbent Access (IA) Users
      • WISPs
    • Licensing Rules per October 2018 Report and Order
    • Priority Access Licenses (PALs)
    • General Authorized Access
    • CBRS Access Considerations
  • CBRS Organizations
    • WinnForum
    • CBRS Alliance
  • CBRS Components
    • Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC)
    • Spectrum Access System (SAS)
      • Who are the SAS Administrators?
    • CBRS Devices
      • Who is Providing CBRS Devices?
    • End User Devices
  • Current Deployment Timeline
  • Recent CBRS Activity
  • Potential CBRS Business Models
    • Potential Use Cases
    • Impact of In-building CBRS Signal Penetration
  • CBRS U.S. Market Forecast
    • Small Cell TAM
    • Modeling Potential CBRS Deployments
    • WISPs, Outdoor Deployments
    • Non WISPs, Outdoor Deployments
    • In-Building CBRS
    • Residential CBRS
    • Summary
  • CBRS Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • Alphabet
    • American Tower
    • AT&T
    • Baicells
    • Boingo
    • CableLabs
    • Charter Communications
    • Comcast Corporation
    • CommScope
    • Corning SpiderCloud Wireless
    • Crown Castle
    • Ericsson
    • ExteNet Systems
    • Federated Wireless
    • Fujitsu Network Communications
    • Intel
    • ip.access
    • Ligado Networks
    • Mavenir
    • Nokia Networks
    • Qualcomm
    • Rise Broadband
    • Ruckus Wireless, an ARRIS Company
    • Samsung Electronics
    • Sercomm
    • Sprint
    • T-Mobile US
    • Telrad Networks
    • US Cellular
    • Verizon
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: CBSD Categories
  • Table 2: Small Cells Total Addressable Market, 2017-2021
  • Table 3: CBRS Nodes Deployed by WISPs, 2017-2022
  • Table 4: CBRS Nodes Deployed by Non-WISPs, 2017-2022 (cumulative)
  • Table 5: CBRS Nodes in Commercial Buildings, 2017-2022 (cumulative)
  • Table 6: Residential CBRS Nodes, 2017-2022
  • Table 7: Total CBRS Nodes Deployed, 2017-2022 (cumulative)

List of Charts and figures

  • Figure A: Total Installed CBRS Nodes in the U.S., 2017-2022
  • Figure 1: Simple View of Backhaul and a Mobile Operator’s Network
  • Figure 2: Mobile Network Architecture with Fronthaul and Backhaul
  • Figure 3: Overview of CBRS Band
  • Figure 4: Census Tracts, Chicago
  • Figure 5: U.S. Counties
  • Figure 6: Partial Economic Areas
  • Figure 7: Interaction of ESC and SAS
  • Figure 8: SAS Interaction
  • Figure 9: In-building Penetration at Different Frequencies
  • Figure 10: Small Cells Total Addressable Market, 2017-2021
  • Figure 11: CBRS Nodes Deployed by WISPs, 2017-2022
  • Figure 12: CBRS Nodes Deployed by Non-WISPs, 2017-2022 (cumulative)
  • Figure 13: CBRS Nodes in Commercial Buildings, 2017-2022
  • Figure 14: CBRS Nodes – Actual Deployments, 2017-2022 (cumulative)
  • Figure 15: Total CBRS Nodes Deployed, 2017-2022

For additional information on the U.S. 3.5 GHz CBRS Forecast: The Disruptive Spectrum's Final Rules market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.