4G Americas calls for ITU-R to step up on 5G

5G spectrum demands assessed by 4G Americas

A co-authored white paper on potential 5G spectrum requirements has called for the ITU-R to step up on 5G, and make sure technical standardisation and 5G spectrum identification and harmonisation proceed in a co-ordinated way.

A paper from 4G Americas calls on ITU-R to make sure it identifies frequency bands in a timely manner, and also that it acts as a key driving body for 5G standardisation (bold text below by Inside5G). Standards development and spectrum studies need to proceed in a co-ordinated way, the paper said, meaning that the ITU-R would be very well placed to bring together 5G technology standardisation and spectrum requirements.

The paper said:

ITU-R, through its World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15) process, could give a significant boost to paving the way for 5G by making timely decisions on the following matters:

  • Agreeing on creating an agenda item for WRC-19 on consideration of spectrum for IMT-2020 (5G)
  • Agreeing on consideration for studies of a range of frequencies proposed by regional groups from within which a set of globally harmonized bands could be identified for 5G
  • Consideration of ranges/bands that could accommodate various use cases and applications envisaged for 5G systems

ITU-R could also play a vital role by bringing together the 5G expertise from around the world (standards developing organizations, research entities, regulators and academia) and expertise within ITU-R (Working Party 5D) to complete development of 5G (IMT-2020) standards according to ITU-R-agreed timelines. Developments of such standards need to be accompanied by studies on spectrum matters. ITU-R Working Party 5D, as the focal point of these studies, could bring together technological aspects of 5G with identification of globally harmonized bands for consideration at WRC-19.

The paper said the range of potential 5G use cases necessitated the availability of both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands above 30GHz and 50GHz, although there is no specific recommendation as to where the industry should head to in terms of particular bands. It also identifies a few key technical challenges (antenna diversity, transmit/receiver integration) thrown up by designing systems to work in those differing frequency domains.

Additionally, there is a useful table collating the current status of proposed spectrum bands for 5G in key countries – the bands being proposed and how and when regulators are looking for comments, before submitting confirmed regional proposals.

Exclusive spectrum license environment to be retained for 5G

As an aside – in a section headed: Protection Of Incumbents, the paper reasons that the spectrum licensing regime that has fostered 4G investment would work equally well for 5G.

However, the paper argues that spectrum sharing could be deployed where some spectrum (satellite, military) is partially available on a geographic or temporal basis, or not cleared in time for commercial 5G operation.

In other words, operators should be given exclusive license rights to their “own” 5G spectrum, and also be allowed to “share” spectrum currently reserved for other activities.

You can see the whole paper for free and without registration here.