5G networks are poised to bring new super-fast mobile experiences to consumers and deliver a diverse range of wireless connectivity applications meeting the requirements of a range of vertical industries. Meeting these diverse user requirements will require a range of spectrum bands to be used, spanning from bands below 1GHz up to bands in the millimetre-wave portion of radio spectrum (being studied internationally based on bands specified in ITU-R Resolution 238, as agreed at World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015).
The report below represents the SPF’s views on the implications of 5G on spectrum policy in the UK, based on discussions that have taken place within the SPF during the first half of 2016.
The report describes the SPF’s views on priorities for 5G introduction into the UK market. The paper makes a series of recommendations on the spectrum needed for 5G and the policy actions to support these needs being met, with a call for action aimed at:
- Incentivising investment in next generation infrastructure;
- Ensuring the appropriate range of frequency bands becomes available to grow new UK market opportunities and economic benefits from 5G roll out;
- Ensuring the “5G readiness” of the forthcoming 3.4 – 3.6 GHz award so the UK can reap early benefits from 5G performance (e.g. ensuring that wide channel widths can be secured, and that complementary spectrum such as in 3.6-3.8GHz is explored for mobile use);
- Delivering a higher frequency pioneer band for the UK consistent with the European initiatives;
- Positioning the UK as a 5G leader in the international spectrum related studies
The report is available to download below.
In preparing this report, the SPF has noted an open issue relating to accommodating the wider channel widths needed for commercially viable 5G deployment within initial deployments; specifically, how wider contiguous channels (e.g. around 100MHz or greater) might be formed.
The SPF expects to publish further reports on the industry’s views on the spectrum implications of 5G in due course.
Launched at the request of Government, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum is the industry sounding board to Government and Ofcom on future spectrum management and regulatory policy with a view to maximising the benefits of spectrum for the UK. The Forum is open to all organisations with an interest in using spectrum and already has over 150 member organisations. A Steering Board performs the important function of ensuring the proper prioritisation and resourcing of our work.