Sennheiser has turned something as confusing as the Federal Communications Commission or FCC wireless spectrum auction into an easy-to-understand opportunity for its dealers. The audio and microphone maker is offering an upgrade path for 600MHz wireless users, creating a trade-in opportunity to convert non-compliant 600MHz wireless gear into frequency-compliant offerings.
After the FCC’s decision to phase out use of the 600 MHz band for wireless audio over the next few years, Sennheiser created the upgrade opportunity for its dealers and owners of equipment.
Free Resource: AV over IP — A Guide to Products and Solutions
Here’s the deal, according to a Sennheiser press release:
Between now and December 14th, Sennheiser will offer any owners of non-compliant wireless systems from any manufacturer a unique opportunity to trade-in their outdated gear for the latest Sennheiser FCC-compliant equipment through a special rebate program. The rebate program consists of a simple three-step program.
Here’s that three-step program:
Step 1: Wireless equipment owners should check eligibility for the rebate by checking for a printed sticker on the equipment that indicates its operating frequency range. If the printed information indicates operation in the 600 MHz range above 608 MHz, an upgrade is required to maintain FCC compliance.
Step 2: Consumers may purchase authorized wireless equipment from an authorized Sennheiser dealer. The following FCC forward-compliant models are eligible and their recommended frequency ranges are indicated:
- XS Wireless | Recommended Frequency Range: A
- evolution wireless G3 | Recommended Frequency Ranges: A1, A, G
- evolution wireless D1 | Frequency Range: 2.4 GHz
- AVX and SpeechLine Digital Wireless | Frequency Range: 1.9 GHz
- 2000 Series | Recommended Frequency Range: Aw
- 3000 / 5000 Series | Recommended Frequency Range: L
- Digital 6000 | Recommended Frequency Ranges: A1 – A4
Step 3: Consumers should send their outdated gear to Sennheiser to complete the rebate process. Following is a list of product series eligible for the promotion. A full table of eligible Sennheiser models and their trade-in values is available here.
- XS Wireless Series – $50
- evolution wireless D1 Series – $50
- AVX Series – $100
- evolution wireless ew 100 G3 Series – $100
- evolution wireless ew 100 G3 Portable Series – $100
- evolution wireless ew 300 G3 Series – $150
- evolution wireless ew 300 IEM G3 Series – $150
- evolution wireless ew 500 G3 Series – $200
- SpeechLine Digital Wireless Series – $200
- 2000 Series – $200-$400
- 2000 IEM – $200-$400
- 3000/5000 Series – $300-$600
- Digital 6000 – $300-$600
More on the FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction
Here’s what CI wrote about the FCC wireless spectrum auction back earlier this year:
Under the supervision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over 70 MHz of high-value, low-band spectrum in the 600-MHz range was sold by broadcasters and bought by mobile broadband providers.
In addition, another 14 MHz of unlicensed spectrum, intended as a test bed for wireless innovation, will become available for consumer devices and other new services. The auction generated $10.05 billion to broadcast television licensees who participated, much of which, the FCC reminded, would go toward deficit reduction.
The FCC’s positive spin aside, the complex auction — it involved first a reverse auction, in which broadcasters put up for bid the amount of spectrum they were willing to part with, followed by a forward auction that saw bidders, such as mobile carriers like Verizon and AT&T, vying for it — didn’t do the numbers it was initially expected to.
The original $40.3 billion target price would have been for 108 MHz of spectrum the FCC had wanted to repackage into 80 MHz of licensed spectrum on offer to interested parties. However, it was enough to give the next iteration of wireless devices, which now includes the Internet of Things (IoT) and cellular carriers’ expected 5G wireless initiatives, the runway they need to take off.
In the process, it also leaves professional wireless microphone users with considerably less of the extremely valuable 600-MHz range spectrum than they had before the auction (though more than they would have had the auction met its goals).