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The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will eventually support a new LTE band

In the long run, carriers can save money, expand their networks, and speed up 5G deployment with LTE band 48.

Published onJanuary 4, 2019

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3 screen

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL already support a robust number of LTE bands. That number will soon go up by one, thanks to a software update that will introduce LTE band 48 support.

We’re not sure when the software update will arrive. Google requested a change to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s FCC filings back in November 2018, with the addendum made public yesterday.

For the uninitiated, LTE band 48 is also known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS). The LTE band is split into three tiers, with the first reserved for Navy radar and other carrier-aircraft communication.

The second tier can be made available to others when not fully utilized. Companies can bid to use the second tier. Lastly, the third tier operates as unlicensed spectrum that can be shared.

The 'Google sharing bandwidth' and CBRS story: What's actually happening in the wireless space
CBRS spectrum

It’s that third tier that Google and U.S. carriers are strongly looking at. LTE band 48’s third tier allows carriers to share airwaves and dismisses the necessity for carriers to acquire their own spectrum licenses.

In the long run, carriers can save money, add capacity to their networks for improved speeds and reliability, and possibly speed up 5G deployment if they use that third tier.

In April 2018, Verizon announced it would target CBRS-compatible devices and service by the end of 2018. FCC approved Verizon’s application to conduct year-long CBRS tests in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Florida with several smartphones.

NEXT: 5G is almost here — Here’s what you can expect from Verizon

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