Study identifies potential for mid-band 5G spectrum

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According to a new Accenture study commissioned by wireless industry association CTIA, three mid-range spectrum bands offer the greatest potential for solving the spectrum imbalance facing the U.S. wireless industry. commercial wireless.

The report, Spectrum allocation in the United Statesanalyzes the current state of radio spectrum allocation, the growing need for licensed spectrum in the wireless industry, and the pathways to support mobile broadband and 5G network expansion.

“More licensed mid-band frequencies are needed to meet the growing demand for wireless networks,” said Tejas Rao, CEO of Accenture. “Commercial access to the bands described in our study would help scale 5G, giving more people access to the consistent, quality internet connectivity needed for things like online education, remote working and telemedecine.”

According to the study, the US wireless industry currently has access to 5% of lower midband spectrum, while unlicensed spectrum users have access to 7x and government users have access to 12x that amount. The study finds that the following three lower mid-spectrum blocks offer the greatest potential for 5G expansion:

  • 350 MHz in the 3.1-4.5 GHz band: The lower 3 GHz band provides reliable coverage and adequate coverage range, making it ideal for 5G data traffic. This band is adjacent to the recently auctioned 3.45 GHz band, which would help reduce costs for device manufacturers when developing products for a wider contiguous band.
  • 400 MHz in the 4.4-4.94 GHz band: The 4 GHz midband is a large block of contiguous spectrum that provides high capacity for 5G networks. It has been awarded to wireless operators in many other countries, meaning that a similar award in the United States would support international harmonization efforts, resulting in cost benefits.
  • 400 MHz in the 7.125-8.4 GHz band: The 7 to 8.4 GHz range is a large block of contiguous higher frequency spectrum. The capacity characteristics of this range make it ideal for serving densely populated areas such as urban centres, where traffic requirements are greater.

Allocating these three bands to commercial wireless use would give unlicensed users access to 1.19x and government users access to 1.34x the amount of spectrum as commercial wireless users.

“America has the leading 5G networks in the world, but with data growth doubling every year, we need a midband spectrum pipeline to meet demand,” said Meredith Atwell Baker, President and CEO. CEO of CTIA. “Midband spectrum is critical to building 5G networks due to its mix of capacity and range. This study details why balancing access to government and commercial spectrum is critical to maintaining and securing our leadership in the emerging 5G economy.

According to another recent report commissioned by the CTIA, other countries lead the United States with an average of 530 MHz of lower midband spectrum available for commercial wireless networks. Without government action, the United States is expected to continue to lag an average of 413 MHz five years from now.

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