5G Spectrum Policy Position

5G Spectrum Policy Position

February 2, 2017



Position Paper

This paper updates the GSMA’s key 5G spectrum positions. It is available in English, French and Spanish, and focuses on the areas where governments, regulators and the mobile industry should cooperate to make 5G a success.

5G is expected to support significantly faster mobile broadband speeds and increasingly extensive mobile data usage – as well as to 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. 5G is also essential for preserving the future of today’s most popular mobile applications – like on-demand video – by ensuring that growing uptake and usage can be sustained.

Although the mobile industry, academic institutions and international standards-making bodies are busily developing the technologies that will be central to 5G, 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 regulators supporting 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 (e.g. satellite and fixed links) in higher frequency bands (e.g. above 24 GHz).
  6. Technology neutral spectrum licences are essential. They allow bands which are 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.

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