In order to support the growing demand for network capacity from consumers, not to mention all the new capabilities that 5G is expected to deliver, we’re going to need a whole lot more spectrum than is currently available.
Not only will more be needed but mobile networks will also require access to spectrum with much wider bandwidths than what we have now.
As such the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) is asking for proposals for additional spectrum bands/ranges to be studied, in time for a decision on which ones are used to be made at the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2019.
That should come about just in time to finalise plans before the anticipated roll out in 2020 and beyond.
In its call for proposals the NGMN notes that while additional spectrum above 6GHz is desirable, low frequency spectrum of below 6GHz is essential, for economical delivery of both current and future mobile services and so that should be the focus.
That means both finding ways to make more spectrum in those bands available and using the current spectrum more efficiently.
Whether above or below 6GHz it’s the bands closest to 6GHz which are a priority, as they are likely to deliver greater coverage of base stations. It’s spectrum in the 6-30GHz range which the NGMN sees as striking the best balance between availability and radio propagation characteristics.
But ultimately a wide range of frequency bands will be needed in order to deliver the similarly wide range of applications that 5G is expected to be used for.
As well as identifying which bands to use the NGMN also wants to identify the total amount of spectrum required and the minimum block size.
Useful white paper: NGMN 5G white paper