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GSMA makes generic 5G spectrum statement

Prism spectrum

GSMA has set out its soapbox and proclaimed to the world that everyone needs to be 5G friends if it is to work properly.

In the build up to the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019, the GSMA believes governments must agree on sufficient harmonised spectrum to enable the fastest 5G speeds, affordable devices and international roaming without cross-border interference. The team state 5G can create a hyper-connected society, though for the greatest level of efficiency standardization would be preferable.

“Although the mobile industry, academic institutions and international standards-making bodies are developing the technologies central to 5G, success will depend heavily on affordable access to the necessary amount of spectrum,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA.

“It is essential that sufficient new mobile spectrum is made available – and that operators are allowed to repurpose existing spectrum for 5G when required. Governments are central to the WRC-19 process to identify harmonised spectrum for 5G and incentivise the necessary network investment.”

Ultra-fast 5G services generally require such large amounts of spectrum with bodies already looking at higher frequencies than those traditionally used in mobile services. As most 5G services will be concentrated in urban areas, this would not necessarily be seen as a bad thing, however the GSMA has highlighted that use cases must be allocated to specific frequency ranges and standardized internationally to ensure success.

The GSMA has outlined the following:

  • Sub-1 GHz will support widespread coverage across urban, suburban and rural areas and help support Internet of Things (IoT) services.
  • The 1-6 GHz range offers a good mixture of coverage and capacity benefits, including spectrum within the 3.3-3.8 GHz range that is expected to form the basis of many initial 5G services.
  • Above 6 GHz is needed to meet the ultra-high broadband speeds envisioned for 5G; a focus will be on bands above 24 GHz.

Aside from agreeing the frequency ranges, governments also need to commit to investments in 5G networks including small cell sites and future-proofing networks for further advancements to make sure the industry does not get into the same challengers again.

In fairness to the GSMA, it is not wrong, but the same statement is made as every technological breakthrough is gaining momentum. The same was said for 3G, 4G, cloud, IoT, SDN, NFV etc. and who knows whether executives listen, but as a global association the GSMA is obliged to make predictably obvious statements occasionally.

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  • LTE Advanced Pro and Gigabit LTE: The Path to 5G

  • GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas

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