It’s well-known that mid-band spectrum is essential within the on-going digital evolution because it strikes a superb technical trade-off between protection and capability. With out sufficient spectrum, ubiquitous 5G connectivity elementary to the digital economic system won’t materialize.
In his revealed paper entitled “Optimizing IMT and Wi-Fi mid-band spectrum allocation: The compelling case for six GHz band partitioning in Asia-Pacific,” Scott Minehane referred to as on policymakers, regulators, and cell community operators (MNOs) in Asia Pacific to allocate sufficient mid-band spectrum for each IMT and Wi-Fi companies. Findings on this paper have been additionally offered within the ITU Regional Radiocommunication Seminar 2021 for Asia-Pacific.
What Scott failed to say is that neither WRC or ITU-R WG 5D have permitted the usage of 6 GHz (C-band spectrum) for terrestrial IMT (3G, 4G, 5G) as that band is NOT within the proposed revision to ITU-R M.1036. After 4.800-4.990 GHz, the subsequent band in M.1036 is 24.25-27.5 GHz.
In the USA in April 2020, the FCC made an enormous 1200 MHz of bandwidth out there on this band for Wi-Fi and different unlicensed applied sciences similar to 5G New Radio/ITU M.2150 in unlicensed bands (not an official ITU-R commonplace).
Nonetheless, right here is Minehane’s case for six GHz as revealed earlier this week in Telecom Evaluation Asia:
In Asia, the place greater than 4.3 billion folks reside in areas topic to monsoons and frequent heavy rainfall, C-Band spectrum is essential as it’s not prone to rain attenuation. Nonetheless, with C-Band being the popular spectrum broadly utilized by satellite tv for pc operators within the area, many nations do not need sufficient 3.5 GHz band to allocate to cell operators as a way to assist superior 5G and future 6G deployments.
As cell knowledge consumption surge in populous capital cities similar to Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, and Phnom Penh, there’s a actual risk that spectrum demand would outstrip spectrum provide within the close to future. The truth is, the GSMA has projected that nations require 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum over the subsequent decade to ship the total potential of 5G networks.
With spectrum demand on the rise, and competitors for frequency bands intensifying, the 6 GHz band has been recognized as the perfect substitute for 3.5 GHz due to its good propagation properties and enormous contiguous bandwidth of 1200 MHz. Comparatively, mmWave is an unwell match within the area as rain attenuation leads to vital path loss. Commercially, using 6 GHz for 5G deployment can be extra viable (then mmWave) as capex and opex prices are foreseen to be a lot decrease.
Noting that there isn’t any one-size-fits-all strategy for the 6 GHz band allocation in a heterogeneous area just like the Asia Pacific, Minehane mentioned, “The secret’s having a personalized strategy for the 6 GHz band within the Asia Pacific, the place emphasis is positioned on the early partitioning of the 6 GHz band between IMT and Wi-Fi, as that is the biggest remaining single block of spectrum which may very well be allotted for cell companies within the mid-band.”
Partitioning of the 6 GHz band for IMT and Wi-Fi would stability competing calls for for spectrum. To safe the short- and long-term financial advantages of each companies, Minehane proposed allocating 500 MHz of the decrease 6 GHz band (5925-6425 MHz) for Wi-Fi and 700 MHz of the higher band (6425-7125 MHz) for IMT.
“Making about 700 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum out there for IMT companies is an efficient begin in the direction of future-proofing 5G superior and 6G companies. Furthermore, sufficient IMT spectrum fosters wholesome competitors within the sector, the place say 3 to 4 suppliers prioritize delivering superior buyer companies and experiences to distinguish themselves,” mentioned Minehane. “From an financial perspective, IMT companies additionally generate higher advantages than Wi-Fi companies.”
Amid uncertainties in how new applied sciences unravel within the long-term, diversification of the 6 GHz band affords flexibility in future decision-making. Aside from addressing the spectrum calls for set out by the GSMA, Minehane really useful making provision for extra IMT spectrum because it affords the pliability to be upgraded to the longer term 6G or switched to Wi-Fi. Nonetheless, switching from unlicensed Wi-Fi use to licensed IMT makes use of will likely be unimaginable owing to the proliferation of user-based gear.
Minehane famous that allocating the complete 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi to bridge the digital divide is futile, as low band spectrum is most suited to ship connectivity to the underserved in rural areas.
Apart from, higher, sooner, and safer experiences with 4G or 5G, compounded with extra reasonably priced, limitless knowledge plans end in customers utilizing much less Wi-Fi and knowledge offloading. In South Korea, for example, about 52% of cell knowledge site visitors was dealt with by 5G. In Canberra, supported by Australia’s largest free public Wi-Fi community, Wi-Fi utilization declined sharply when costs in cell knowledge dropped even in the course of the pandemic. Equally, enterprises are more likely to rely extra on 5G than Wi-Fi 6.
Efficient spectrum administration is instrumental to financial restoration, development, and resilient. One of many largest challenges regulators face is the refarming of spectrum to faucet onto the potential of rising improvements. To this finish, regulators have to formulate a long-term spectrum roadmap and technique to chart progress. One other problem is maintaining spectrum auctions reasonably priced, in order that operators can put money into upgrading community infrastructure.
Regardless of these prevailing challenges, Minehane pressured that collectively, the area is forward-looking. Particular person nations are stepping up on initiatives and interesting in ongoing dialogues to debate spectrum administration approaches. The 3GPP has additionally launched into standardization work to develop the 6 GHz band ecosystem.
Concluding, Minehane expressed hopes that policymakers would improve IMT spectrum allocations and maximize the worth created by key spectrum within the years and a long time to return.