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GSMA warns regulators on 5G spectrum priorities

The successful rollout of 5G services relies on timely access to the right amount and type of spectrum in the next year, warns the GSMA in an industry position paper, aimed at influencing the World Radio Communication (WRC-19) conference next year. The operators body says that governments around the world have started to auction spectrum for 5G networks, but variations in how much spectrum has been assigned, the onerous conditions imposed – and the cost of access to that spectrum – means the speed, reach and quality of 5G services could vary dramatically between countries. Several key considerations for governments and regulators, are set out, including that 5G needs wider frequency bands to support higher speeds and larger amounts of traffic. Regulators that make available 80-100 MHz of spectrum per operator in prime 5G mid-bands (e.g. 3.5 GHz) and around 1 GHz per operator in vital millimetre wave bands (i.e. above 24 GHz), will best support the fastest 5G services. The GSMA says 5G needs spectrum within three key frequency ranges to deliver widespread coverage and support all use cases: sub-1GHz spectrum to extend high-speed 5G mobile broadband coverage across urban, suburban and rural areas and to help support internet of things (IoT) services; from 1 to 6 GHz to offer a good mix of coverage and capacity for 5G services; and above 6 GHz for services such as ultra-high-speed mobile broadband. Further, it is essential that governments support the 26 GHz, 40 GHz (37-43.5 GHz) and 66-71 GHz bands for mobile at WRC-19. “A sufficient amount of harmonised 5G spectrum in these bands is critical to enabling the fastest 5G speeds, low-cost devices and international roaming and to minimising cross-border interference.” Naturally, it warns against setting high auction reserve prices, and also says regulators should avoid setting aside spectrum for verticals in key mobile spectrum bands; “sharing approaches, such as leasing, are better options where vertical industries require access to spectrum”. Read more

  • Tuesday, 20 November 2018

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