Mid-band tapped for 5G launch followed by millimeter wave
Millimeter wave frequencies are a key piece of the low-, mid- and high-band spectrum mix that will support 5G over time. But you’ve got to start somewhere. In the U.S., AT&T and Verizon opted to start with millimeter wave, Sprint is going with 2.5 GHz and T-Mobile is going with 600 MHz. Outside of the U.S., the majority of early commercial and auction interest has focused on the mid-band with millimeter wave set to follow.
In China, where the country’s three mobile operators are expected to turn up widespread commercial service in 2020, the initial focus is also in the mid-band. Departing from that timeline, China Unicom announced in April it would In December 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued nationwide 5G trial licenses in Dec. 18, which the carriers are using for a wide-range of trial activity covering both consumer and enterprise use cases.
China Mobile, the country’s largest operator, has been approved to use spectrum in the 2.515 GHz to 2.675 GHz and the 4.8 GHz to 4.9 GHz ranges for its nationwide 5G trials. The 2.5 GHz spectrum will include frequencies to be re-farmed from China Mobile’s existing TD-LTE spectrum.
China Telecom was allowed to use the 3.4 GHz to 3.5 GHz frequency range to carry out 5G trials in mainland China. Under the agreement with the Chinese government, China Telecom will return its 2.635 GHz to 2.655 GHz spectrum over the same timeframe.
China Unicom said it has been approved to use the 3.5 GHz to 3.6 GHz frequency band for a nationwide 5G trial rollout until June 2020. The telco said that it will gradually cease to use the frequency in the 2.555 GHz to 2.575 GHz range that it had been using for 5G trials and progressively return it to the MIIT.
On the millimeter wave front, government regulators have identified candidate bands– 24.75–27.5 GHz and 37– 42.5 GHz, although allocation plans haven’t been crystalized.