In a development applauded by the wireless industry, the FCC on Wednesday granted T-Mobile USA special temporary authority (STA) to conduct tests of wireless network operations in the 1755-1780 MHz as well as in the 2155-2180 MHz bands to ascertain the extent to which commercial wireless services may share those frequencies band with incumbent federal users. The 1755-1780 MHz band has long been coveted by the wireless industry as a prime source of spectrum for advanced mobile broadband operations. With the backing of wireless association CTIA, industry officials have called on the FCC to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band in combination with Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)-3 channels in the 2155-2180 MHz band. While acknowledging the feasibility of repurposing federal channels in the larger 1755-1850 MHz band for commercial wireless use, a report issued last March by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) cites the estimated high cost of relocating incumbent government users ($18 billion) and the need for some government agencies to remain on these channels indefinitely in advocating continued discussion among federal agencies and the private sector regarding these and other challenges. In its STA request, T-Mobile asserted that the purpose of the proposed testing is to determine the suitability of the aforementioned bands “for commercial mobile services, [and] in particular the effect of existing federal government operations on the use of this spectrum for mobile Long Term Evolution services.” The STA granted by the FCC permits T-Mobile to conduct tests throughout the country as long as it obtains the consent of affected government users and coordinates spectrum usage in advance with such agencies. Announcing the FCC’s action, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proclaimed that the agency “hopes to facilitate commercial mobile broadband services” as he pledged to “continue to collaborate closely with key government agencies . . . as well as private sector partners to gain greater spectrum efficiency and unlock the many potential benefits of government-commercial spectrum sharing.” A T-Mobile spokesman remarked: “our ability to test in this band represents an important milestone in bringing new spectrum resources to market.”