IMT Spectrum Demand: Estimating the mid-bands spectrum needs in the 2025-2030 timeframe

Monday 14 Dec 2020 |

IMT Spectrum Demand: Estimating the mid-bands spectrum needs in the 2025-2030 timeframe image

A report by Coleago Consulting Ltd.

The GSMA endorses the findings and conclusions of this report.

5G will bring major benefits to end users over the coming years. Starting with the existing trends and anticipating further evolution in the longer term, this report elaborates on the importance of making more mid-bands spectrum available for IMT as an essential means to achieve the 5G vision.

The report provides an analysis of the future spectrum needs based on area traffic density demand for the 2025-2030 timeframe, accounting for the 5G target minimum performance requirements. This report considers the spectrum needed to fulfil the user experienced data rates of 100 Mbit/s on the downlink, and 50 Mbit/s on the uplink, defined by the ITU-R for IMT-2020.

Additional mid-bands spectrum for 5G would enable mobile operators to deliver the ITU-R IMT-2020 specifications, notably the user experienced data rates of 100 and 50 Mbit/s on the downlink and uplink in cities, in an economically feasible manner. This report provides an analysis for eleven cities with a population density of 9,000 people per km2 or more, namely Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, and the Amsterdam – The Hague region. Our analysis concludes that in addition to building many more small cells, 1000 to 2000 MHz of additional mid-bands spectrum is required to deliver the 5G vision of downlink user experienced data rate of 100 Mbit/s across the city, i.e. citywide “speed coverage”, and also to satisfy the 50 Mbit/s uplink target. The selected cities have characteristics that also apply to a broad number of other larger cities.

In urban areas with a population density below 9,000 people per km2, mobile operators will also have to densify the network with small cells to deliver the 5G downlink and uplink user experienced data rates, but additional upper mid-band spectrum would reduce the need for cell site densification, thus delivering an environmental benefit.

Making available 1000 to 2000 MHz additional mid-bands spectrum for 5G-NR can also make a major contribution to achieving the European Union’s 2025 connectivity goal. The cost of reaching the European target of making 100 Mbit/s broadband available to 100% of households with FTTH amounts to €123 billion, with an estimated €53 billion of this in rural areas. If FWA using this additional 1000 to 2000 MHz of midbands spectrum is used in rural Europe instead of FTTH, this would result in a saving of €42 billion. Importantly, this additional spectrum would provide sufficient bandwidth to ensure that fibre-like speed FWA will also be able to address the needs for fixed connectivity as a long-term solution for rural areas.

The development of automated driving systems and connected vehicles is still in its infancy. The safety and environmental benefits that automated driving and connected vehicles will bring to society are significant but, to realise this vision, reliable high speed connectivity and capacity are required. Additional mid-band spectrum would materially reduce the cost of providing the required area traffic capacity along