As activity continues to increase in the advance of 5G infrastructure and services around the world, countries are beginning to eagerly reveal their proposed technical specifications and plans to deploy their services over the next few years. As they do, the wider industry is evaluating the most suitable spectrum bands for consideration.
This article takes a look at the current state of development and proposed spectrum bands that are being considered for 5G in key countries around the world.
The European commission has recently announced its ‘5G Action Plan’, designed to coordinate the efforts of European Union Member States in the deployment of 5G services.
Within the details of the ‘5G Action Plan’, the introduction of early network services is being scheduled to be available by the end of 2018. Large scale deployment is set to be introduced by the end of 2020 at the latest.
Both the RSPG (Radio Spectrum Policy Group) and CEPT (European Conference of Postal Telecommunications Administrations) have recognised the band 3400-3800 MHz as a key frequency range for the initial introduction of 5G services across Europe. The band’s radio wave propagation properties along with the bandwidth availability have been cited as the key reasons for this. They have also mentioned the 700MHz band, potentially to connect IoT (Internet of Things) devices across Europe.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States approved a set of rules back in July 2016, which enabled the speedy development and deployment of technologies that would ready them for the introduction of 5G services. The rules allowed the use of close to 11GHz of spectrum in the centimetre (cmWave) and millimetre (mmWave) bands for mobile and fixed broadband usage.
The FCC has outlined a number of bands they propose for various 5G services, these include 27.5-28.35 GHz, 38.6-40 GHz, 37-38.6 GHz, 64-71 GHz the 28 GHz Band (27.5 – 28.35 GHz). They have also mentioned the 600MHz band to connect IoT devices across the USA.
Japan has historically been a leader in innovation throughout the development of mobile services, and it seems that they are planning to rapidly move forward with 5G in much the same way as they have with previous technologies.
By using the Olympic Games (which are being hosted in Tokyo in the summer of 2020), as a targeted date to showcase their technological developments, Japan hope to deploy the very first commercial 5G network to meet agreed international technical specifications.
Within the national report titled “Radio Policies Towards 2020’s” which was published by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) in June 2016, the 3600-4200 MHz, 4400-4900 MHz and the 27.5 – 29.5 GHz frequency ranges were flagged as the key bands suitable for 5G services.
Field trials began back in 2017 in Japan, using similar bands proposed for final deployment. Larger-scale trials are continuing now and into next year with the Olympic Games still very much a target in reach for commercial deployment.
China are looking to deploy their commercial 5G networks within the agreed international technical specifications. Early trials are expected to utilise the 3400 – 3600 MHz band with further bands being studied for long term deployment, which include the bands 3300 – 3400 MHz, 4400 – 4500 MHz and 4800 – 4990 MHz. Also, for wider bandwidths, and to meet the demands of high peak data rates the 25GHz and 40GHz bands are being considered.
Across the world the race is on to develop and deploy 5G services. The first general 5G rollouts are expected in the bands within the ranges 3300–3400 MHz, 3400–3700 MHz, 3700–3800 MHz, 3800-4200 MHz and 4400–4990 MHz to respond to consumer demands for outdoor-to-indoor communications.
For early deployments of IoT and automotive applications, the frequency bands 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 5.9 GHz are very likely contenders.Get our latest news to your inbox!