FWA firm tells the FCC that T-Mobile’s 5G signals intefere with its network

FWA firm tells the FCC that T-Mobile’s 5G signals intefere with its network


According to LightReading, fixed wireless access (FWA) provider Bloosurf is complaining that T-Mobile‘s 5G network is interfering with its service in Maryland. The FWA provider is asking the FCC to freeze the 2.5GHz spectrum licenses that T-Mobile had won in September 2022 via FCC auction 108. T-Mobile has had to wait to receive the licenses it won because Congress allowed the FCC’s auction authority to expire. Without this authority, the FCC could not turn over the licenses that T-Mobile had won at auction.

Bloosurf recently filed an application with the FCC and in the document, it wrote, “Bloosurf’s network provides a critical lifeline to local communities, including by offering voice/911 service to many of its customers and by providing broadband access where it is not otherwise available. However, due to co-channel interference caused by T-Mobile, Bloosurf customers have experienced CPE [customer premises equipment] disconnections and degraded broadband speeds. If customer CPE experiences a disconnection during an emergency, T-Mobile‘s harmful interference could put lives in jeopardy.” 

The FWA company wants the FCC to order T-Mobile to stop transmitting its 5G signal and it wants to block T-Mobile from receiving the 7,156 licenses for the 2.5GHz spectrum it won at auction. Bloosurf, founded in 2009, first discovered in 2020 that T-Mobile‘s 5G signal might be interfering with its FWA operations. Bloosurf offers a 4G FWA network over 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) spectrum across approximately 15 cell sites in Maryland.

Bloosurf tried working with T-Mobile to determine whether the latter’s signals were causing interference. But in the FCC filing, the fixed wireless firm said that T-Mobile tried to trick it into thinking that the nation’s second-largest wireless provider was not responsible for the interference.

“T-Mobile never revealed, either to the commission or Bloosurf, that it was transmitting on its 5G network from the sites near Bloosurf’s network,” Bloosurf wrote. “Rather, T-Mobile switched off its 4G transmissions but continued to operate its 5G network during the test. The interference to Bloosurf’s network continued unabated, misleading engineers to believe that the harmful interference to Bloosurf was not from T-Mobile‘s operations. The FCC should … stay the grant of T-Mobile‘s Auction 108 licenses due to T-Mobile‘s lack of candor regarding interference testing.”

Bloosurf is the 99th largest fixed wireless provider in the U.S. according to BroadBandNow while T-Mobile is the largest FWA provider in the U.S. with almost five million customers. That makes it the sixth-largest ISP in the U.S. after AT&T, Verizon, Charter Communications, Cox, and Comcast.


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