The GSMA’s 5G spectrum positions offer a roadmap for regulators

15 February 2018

The GSMA’s key 5G spectrum positions focus on the areas where governments, regulators and the mobile industry should cooperate to make this next-generation network technology a success.

5G will support significantly faster mobile broadband speeds. The technology will also help enable the full potential of the Internet of Things.

From virtual reality and autonomous cars, to the industrial internet and smart cities, 5G will be at the heart of the future of communications. Today’s most popular mobile applications – including on-demand video – also stand to benefit from 5G by ensuring continued growth and quality.

The mobile industry, academic institutions and international standards-making bodies are busily developing the technologies that will be central to 5G. Despite that, the success of the services will also be heavily reliant on national governments and regulators.

Most notably, the speed, reach and quality of 5G services will be heavily dependent on governments and regulator support. They need to provide timely access to the right amount and type of spectrum, and under the right conditions.

The GSMA’s key 5G spectrum positions are:

1. Significant new widely harmonised mobile spectrum is needed to ensure 5G services meet future expectations and deliver the full range of potential capabilities.

2. 5G needs spectrum within three key frequency ranges to deliver widespread coverage and support all use cases. The three ranges are: Sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz.

3. WRC-19 will be vital to realise the ultra-high-speed vision for 5G with low cost devices.

4. Licensed spectrum should remain the core 5G spectrum management model. Unlicensed bands can play a complementary role.

5. There is significant potential for the coexistence of 5G and other wireless services in higher frequency bands. The latter is spectrum above 24 GHz.

6. Technology neutral spectrum licences are essential. They allow bands used for existing mobile technologies to be easily refarmed for 5G thus ensuring spectrum is used most efficiently.

7. It is important that governments and regulators successfully support the needs of 5G at international spectrum discussions including WRC-19 and its preparatory meetings. This is essential due to the lengthy timeframes involved in making new mobile spectrum available.

8. Governments and regulators need to adopt national policy measures to encourage long-term heavy investments in 5G networks.

Finally, click here to download the full position paper in English, French or Spanish.

There is also a new infographic. In addition to the positions, it details recent developments. Click here to download the infographic in English, French or Spanish.

And go here to find the GSMA’s 5G spectrum guide.