To meet the unprecedented demand for mobile broadband services, LTE-A and 5G networks will take advantage of different types of spectrum bands, namely, exclusively licensed bands, license-exempt bands, and shared bands. In the future, the role of shared bands is likely to increase as the new means to respond to the growing traffic demand. The new Licensed Shared Access (LSA) regulatory regime offers the potential for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to gain access to new spectrum bands under conditions that resemble exclusive licensing while guaranteeing the incumbent spectrum users’ rights. In Europe, the LSA work is currently focused on the 2.3–2.4 GHz band as the first application where a 100 MHz can be made available to MNOs on a shared basis. The new LSA approach has attracted great interest from industry and is under standardization by ETSI RRS (Reconfigurable Radio Systems). It is claimed that the net present values of the benefits from deploying LSA in the 2.3–2.4 GHz band over the period 2015–2030 in Europe span a range, from EUR 6.5 billion to EUR 20 billion (Plum Consulting).
Despite of all the interest from the telecommunication industry in LSA, as an enabling technology to unlock additional spectrum for LTE in Europe, the topic was so far not addressed by the FLEX and even the FIRE program. However, there is a clear need of LSA experimentation with real LTE equipment, able to validate the latest protocol specifications produced by ETSI and ensuring no risk of interference with incumbent services (PMSEs, radars, etc).
In this context, the main objective of this project is to test the latest ETSI specifications of LSA using new software modules and existing LTE equipment provided by two FLEX testbeds (EURECOM and NITOS). The outcome of this project will have a great impact on stage 3 of the LSA standardization in ETSI. Moreover, the experiment will contribute towards a benchmarking of LSA technology in two different EU countries: France and Greece.