Wednesday, 18 March 2015

6GHz and small cells will have greater emphasis on 5G.

UK watchdog Ofcom is calling for industry input on the use of “very high frequency spectrum” to deliver so-called 5G services. 

It noted that 5G is likely to use large blocks of spectrum to achieve the fastest speeds, which are “difficult to find at lower frequencies”. Higher bands, above 6GHz, will therefore be important. The regulator said that it expects lower frequency bands will be needed for wide-area coverage, while the higher-frequency range will provide increased performance and capacity at specific locations. 

The growing use of small cells will also support the use of different spectrum bands, because the power and coverage requirements are different to those of macro sites, making higher bands more viable. And other new technology developments may make spectrum above 6GHz viable for mobile services, it continued. 

Ofcom has already started looking at the use of spectrum below 6GHz that could be used for mobile applications, including 5G. Noting that the launch time frame for 5G services is uncertain, Ofcom said that it is important that it “does the groundwork now to understand how these frequencies might be used to serve citizens and consumers in the future”. 

Spectrum above 6GHz currently supports various uses, the regulator said, from scientific research to satellite broadcasting and weather monitoring – and “one of Ofcom’s core roles” is managing spectrum taking into account current and future demands. The closing date for responses was 27 February 2015.

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