Spectrum Landscape for Mobile Services

Spectrum continues to be the resource in greatest demand to meet the voracious needs of a data-hungry mobile public. Exponential growth in mobile data demand, in conjunction with the spectrum needs of upcoming bandwidth-intensive applications envisioned for 5G, necessitate the availability of newly licensed spectrum pools. This paper reviews the potential spectrum resources below and above 6 GHz and notes that the allocated licensed and unlicensed spectrum below 6 GHz are currently being used for 4G and other broadband applications. This spectrum will not be repurposed for 5G for many years to come. It’s important that other licensed spectrum below 6 GHz be made available for 5G applications within the next couple of years. Additionally, examination of the potential spectrum bands across all bands shows that all spectrum is suitable for 5G applications and that action is needed now to ensure that adequate spectrum resources are made available to meet the demands of connected consumers.

Furthermore, studying the bands below and above 6 GHz shows that almost all new spectrum resources that have a potential to be used for 5G services are encumbered. These spectrum resources are mainly shared spectrum that require clearing and/or development of sharing mechanisms. This leads to the need for regulators and government agencies to take immediate actions in making sure that a reasonable amount of licensed spectrum, preferably with a good chance of global harmonization, becomes available for initial 5G deployments.

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