Original Article posted on Law360.com

Volkswagen and T-Mobile USA Inc. have thrown their support behind an automotive association’s request that the Federal Communications Commission allow a new cellular-based car communication technology to share the spectrum band used for auto safety purposes.

In separate comments posted Wednesday, both companies championed the cellular vehicle-to-everything technology, or C-V2X, standing behind a November petition by 5G Automotive Association that the agency consider letting the communication system work in the band alongside the long-favored, radio wave-based one.

T-Mobile said it was all for the rework of the 5.9 GHz band, arguing that allocating a portion of it for the new cell technology would help the U.S. stay ahead of increasing consumer demand to be connected everywhere they go. And it will help the nation keep pace with countries that have already taken the C-V2X plunge, the carrier said.

“Regulators in China recently adopted an allocation for C-V2X in the 5.9 GHz band, and policymakers in other regions of the world are contemplating similar actions,” T-Mobile said. “If the commission does not permit C-V2X deployment in the U.S., America risks falling behind as this technology continues to progress.”

The carrier also touted Ford’s recent pivot toward the technology as another reason the agency should grant the auto association’s petition.

“A grant of the waiver request will help ensure America’s leadership in C-V2X,” T-Mobile said. “This is particularly true given the recent announcement from Ford Motor Company — America’s second largest automotive manufacturer — that it will equip all of its vehicles with C-V2X beginning in 2022.”

Volkswagen agreed with the carrier that emerging technologies like C-V2X and a related 5G-based technology, called 5G-V2X, can benefit the public if they’re given a place within the 5.9 GHz band, but urged the agency to ensure that the radio-based technology — called dedicated short-range communication — retains its seat at the table.

“The 5GAA petition provides further proof that emerging technologies like C-V2X and 5G-V2X could provide additional benefits to the public good if allowed to share the 5.9 GHz ITS-RS spectrum,” the automaker said. “It is our position and belief that this deployment must not create any interference or latency for DSRC communications and must meet protocols developed by the FCC before introduction.”

Volkswagen said it has been at the forefront of the development of both C-V2X and DSRC, and the agency should ensure companies have the “certainty and flexibility they need to continue their deployment plans.”

–Additional reporting by Nadia Dreid. Editing by Amy Rowe.