T-Mobile: No To ATSC 3.0 Cellphone Mandate

Given the "detrimental effects" of including ATSC 3.0 chips and antennas in cellphones, the wireless carrier argues in a 10-page "white paper" that the FCC should not mandate that device makers install them. "The decision as to whether to include ATSC 3.0 in a device must be left to the market to decide."

Broadcasters are not asking the FCC to mandate that makers of cellphones install ATSC 3.0 tuners in them so that that they can receive broadcasts from stations that migrate to the new standard.

But T-Mobile is not taking any chances.

Yesterday, it submitted a 10-page white paper to the FCC asserting that, given the “the detrimental effects” that ATSC 3.0 tuners and antennas would have on phones and wireless service, whether to install them should be left to the market.

“Mobile reception of ATSC 3.0 is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of all the necessary physical characteristics of a mobile device,” the paper says.

“A new receive chain, including new antennas, filters and other materials, is required. ATSC 3.0 antennas can affect the device performance, especially in the 600 MHz band,” it continues. “The limited space in mobile devices precludes new ATSC 3.0 functionality and that physical space could be utilized for other, more beneficial purposes.

“Finally, ATSC 3.0 does not enhance the ability of emergency communications but may instead endanger reception of such transmissions.”


The paper says that the ATSC 3.0 circuity and antennas will:

  • Increase the size and cost of devices, rendering them “uncompetitive” with phones without ATSC 3.0 capability.
  • Degrade the wireless service.
  • Take up space in the phones that could be better used for other purposes like antennas for low-band 4X4 MIMO wireless reception, which is more robust and immune to interference.
  • Interfere will public safety applications of the wireless service.

Comments (3)

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Wagner Pereira says:

September 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Of course with OVER 50% of Florida with NO POWER and cell sites dying after 8-12-18 hours of generators running out of gas or battery dying, sure, lets not include chips! Then the other geniuses posting here who have preached give back spectrum over the last 10 years, roflmao. With so many dead cell sites and 4G lack of penetration in structures, working sites cannot get in people’s houses and have to go outside to make a call. Or worse, only 3G up making video (even still pics) virtually impossible to receive. And ACA Ass. Ted, tell us about those great ACA members with dead amps all over town with no power so people with power cannot get cable tv or internet.

Ellen Samrock says:

September 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

T-Mobile may have written a white paper but its motive is pretty transparent. If engineers can actually build a workable antenna into a smartphone that can accommodate lower band TV spectrum, it can probably pull double-duty and receive much, if not all, of FM as well. But, of course, both broadcast services are free and would bypass a wireless provider’s metered data plan. Such an idea would not fit the insatiable greed of T-Moblie and their competitors.

Ellen Samrock says:

September 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Here is a link to the offending T-Mobile white paper: https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1091193529723/ATSC%203.0%20Technical%20White%20Paper.pdf