By now it's been been widely reported that 470-608 MHz will be the legal territory for wireless microphones and in-ear monitors in the UHF band in the United States. All the details on the auction results are available here.
What this means is that in time, wireless systems operating in 608-698 MHz will no longer be legal in the US. When that will occur is subject to some debate, since the legal 39 month window following the auction close date doesn't necessarily prevent auction winners from testing and beginning to deploy systems in that band, so some areas may be affected sooner than others. (I guess if I bought something for billions of dollars I'd be eager to flip the switch too).
In fact, T-Mobile has been making a lot of noise about beginning operations in the 600 MHz band as early as this year. In his sweet T-Mobile leather jacket, CEO John Legere discusses the spectrum auction and his company's plans:
“Once winning bidders start testing equipment, operating a wireless microphone or intercom in that spectrum will be illegal. T-Mobile, the biggest winner of the auction, has already announced plans to start testing immediately. T-Mobile spent $8,000,000,000 on auction and their shareholders demand that they make use of the spectrum immediately. They have announced that they intend to be in business across the United States by the end of 2017. Like it or not, this is going to have a horrendous negative impact on production wireless operations.”
So what does this mean in your area? To lookup the results specific to your area, take at look at Radio Active Design's cool FCC TV Repack online resource.
So... what's your plan for your 600 MHz gear?
In addition to the UHF band, there are numerous options available now for migrating equipment. There is no magic bullet and choosing frequency bands is a matter of balancing tradeoffs in performance, audio quality, channel count among others. We're compiling data and tracking the wireless category closely. Checkout our three question survey below, we'll be sure to circle back with results and continue to follow this transition as it develops.
And as more devices compete for less spectrum, better RF system design and management will be more important than ever. For an overview of how to improve and optimize your wireless system, be sure to get in touch with us and we can steer you in the right direction based on your needs.