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LTE Advanced: Authorized Shared Access (ASA)

To meet the growing traffic demand, operators will need much more spectrum in the years ahead. In the past new spectrum was made available by the traditional licensed model or unlicensed approach. However, there are cases when the spectrum can’t be cleared within a reasonable timeframe, or at all locations and times. A new licensed model, called Authorized Shared Access (ASA), will allow operators to access the underutilized spectrum on a shared basis without interfering with incumbent spectrum holders.

The ASA licensee enjoys exclusive spectrum rights of use where and when the spectrum is not used by the incumbent. This framework provides a predictable quality of service to the incumbent as well as the ASA licensee. It can potentially unlock hundreds of MHz of high-quality spectrum for mobile broadband services, offering more opportunities for spectrum aggregation and supplemental downlink.

The ASA model is well suited for small cells. Small cells can be deployed geographically closer to incumbent spectrum users due to their lower transmit power. In addition, initial ASA targets are higher bands (such as 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz) ideal for small cell usage as the radio propagation is mostly suitable for local area coverage.

ASA takes advantage of existing mobile technology and 3GPP standards and allows cost-effective deployment using available LTE infrastructure. There will be no special impact on the device side beyond implementing the ASA frequency band. European and US regulators are now leading the development of ASA model and targeting harmonized spectrum to ensure economies of scale.