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Report: 5G-Advanced/6G nets need more spectrum

January 25, 2024

By Colin Mann

Developing a comprehensive roadmap for new commercially available spectrum is necessary to ensure the successful deployment of future mobile networks, according to a report, The Evolution of 5G Spectrum, from trade body 5G Americas, which  provides insights into the future of mobile networks, emphasising the critical role of licensed spectrum for the successful rollout of 5G-Advanced and future 6G capabilities.

“Releasing more licensed spectrum for the wireless industry is critical for US leadership in technology, mobile communications and the economy,” asserts Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas. “An industry roadmap for more spectrum helps ensure effective deployment of future networks and drive the emergence of groundbreaking technologies.”

5G Americas says that balancing both licensed and unlicensed spectrum is vital for the mobile industry. The upper mid-band spectrum, ranging from 7.125-15.35 GHz, is key to leveraging existing infrastructure for increased capacity. 5G Americas emphasises identifying new spectrum integral to a US National Spectrum Strategy pipeline, ensuring rapid commercialisation, and sustained technological leadership.

“5G Americas supports the 7.125 to 15.35 GHz spectrum range, especially below 10 GHz, for licensed mobile operations for its balance in capacity and coverage,” says work group co-leader Aleksandar Damnjanovic, Principal Engineer/Manager at Qualcomm Technologies. “Opening bands in this range involves exploring relocations and sharing strategies. Additionally, mmWave bands are important for deployments in dense locations like urban cores, transportation depots, busy streets, and entertainment venues, and also for fixed wireless access deployments. Sub-THz bands offer very large bandwidths that may be suitable for specialised use cases.”

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)-2030 has codified various usage scenarios that form the basis for spectrum needs. These scenarios highlight the necessity for high data rates and wide-area coverage for applications such immersive experiences, next generation healthcare monitoring, human-machine interfaces, and Joint Communications and Sensing (JCAS).

“In response to an expected fourfold cellular network traffic increase by 2028, the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference recently decided to identify spectrum in the 4.4-15.5 GHz range for future wireless technology deployments. The wireless industry needs access to more spectrum to support new applications like XR, connected cars, and the metaverse,” conludes work group co-leader Brian Olsen, Senior Manager, Technology Development and Strategy at T-Mobile USA.

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