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Qualcomm to Seek FCC's Approval for Antenna Pattern Testing

Zacks Equity Research

Qualcomm Inc. QCOM recently appealed to the U.S. telecom regulator, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to conduct limited antenna pattern testing of satellite antennas designed for use in the 12.2-12.7 GHz frequency range. The company estimates a span of nearly six months for conducting tests from Jul 1 to Dec 30, 2017.

The filing stated that the antenna testing requires a wider separation distance to gather distant field data due to the frequencies and antenna opening size. Since this can’t be done in Qualcomm’s anechoic chamber, the company had to seek permission to do the same in an external environment, outside its facility in San Diego. 

The plan calls for a single, low-power continuous wave (CW) form measurement signal to be transmitted from one site at a fixed orientation. The equipment under test is a receiving antenna located on another building, with its orientation to be moved in a process to evaluate the antenna pattern.

The original request for a single frequency in the range of 11.7--12.7 GHz was granted by the FCC in Mar 2017, effective through Sep 2. For the 12.2--12.7 GHz band, the FCC instructed Qualcomm to work with the Broadcast-Satellite Service (BSS) operators to obtain their consent for the same. Eight test frequencies have already been agreed with these operators.

The 12.2--12.7 GHz band has been the subject of wider debate among companies seeking access. The 12.2–12.7 GHz band has also been grabbing the attention of companies that were dissatisfied with their services in the band, in case the band became accessible for 5G mobile services. 

Qualcomm has been successful in receiving the letter of consent from AT&T Inc T DIRECTV and DISH Network Corporation’s TV, though the company is awaiting response from EchoStar Corporation SATS. No information has yet been revealed by Qualcomm as to what purpose will the antenna serve.

On a similar note, in Mar 2017, small-sized U.S. wireless service provider United States Cellular Corp. USM also submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a six-month special temporary authority (STA) to conduct trial runs in the 3.5 GHz band in some areas of Maine and North Carolina. T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS applied to the FCC for an experimental radio license to test 3.5 GHz equipment in Washington State.

Price Performance and Zacks Rank

Over the past three months, Qualcomm’s share price has gone down 1.25% and failed to beat the Zacks categorized Wireless Equipment industry’s gain of 3.80%.

Qualcomm is the largest mobile chipset manufacturer using baseband technology globally. Currently, Qualcomm is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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