The GSM Association (GSMA) has called on
governments to license the 6GHz band for
fifth-generation or 5G networks if they aspire to realize the full capabilities
of the next-generation technology.
“It is estimated that 5G networks need 2GHz of mid-band spectrum over the next decade to deliver on its full potential,” it said.
It has further urged governments to make at least 6425-7125 MHz available for licensed 5G; to ensure backhaul services are protected; and added that the bottom half of the 6GHz range at 5925-6425 MHz could be opened on a license-exempt basis with technology-neutral rules.
According to the association, the mid-band spectrum is essential for mobile
operators to deliver affordable connectivity for social inclusion, as well as,
to provide data speeds and capacity necessary for smart cities, transport, and
“5G has the potential to boost the world’s GDP by $2.2 trillion,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer for the GSMA. “But there is a clear threat to this growth if sufficient 6GHz spectrum is not made available for 5G. Clarity and certainty are essential to fostering the massive, long-term investments in this critical infrastructure.”
GSMA’s statement comes in the wake of divergent approaches to the 6GHz band taken by governments across the world.
For instance, China, according to GSMA, will use the entire 1200 MHz in the 6GHz band for 5G, while Europe has split the band, with the upper part reserved for 5G, and a new 500MHz tranche has been made available for Wi-Fi. Africa and parts of the Middle East are taking a similar approach.
On the other hand, the U.S. and much of Latin America have said that the
spectrum band will be offered to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies,
instead of 5G.
To be sure, the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023 will provide the opportunity to harmonize the 6GHz band across large parts of the planet and help develop the ecosystem, it added.