Much of the activity on 5G spectrum in the US to date has focused on millimeter (mmWave) spectrum, but it is not clear that mmWave spectrum will be suitable for mobile 5G network deployment in the near to mid-term future. High-band spectrum offers higher speeds and more capacity due to the amount of unused spectrum available at these frequencies, but mmWave is limited in geographic coverage needed for mobile deployments.
Low and mid-band wireless signals travel further and penetrate obstacles like buildings better than high-band spectrum. As per Ericsson’s June 2018 Mobility Report “In general, all the current 3GPP bands including low bands (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz and 900 MHz) and mid-bands (1.5 GHz, 1.7 GHz, 1.8 GHz, 1.9 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz) are being considered for 5G services in the future”.
Wireless 20/20 has published a 2019 update of its report Spectrum Strategies for 5G, examining the current state of the spectrum availability as it applies to 5G Fixed and Mobile Broadband deployments. This report focuses on the state of the sub-6GHz spectrum availability as it applies to 5G mobile deployments in the US. By asking “What spectrum bands will US operators use for Mobile 5G?”, this analysis examines not only the current spectrum holdings of the top 4 US mobile operators, but also, the potential availability of suitable spectrum for mobile 5G deployment in the US. This updated report provides an overview of the dependencies between the 5G applications, spectrum requirements and spectrum ranges in a way that may be attractive for the deployment of 5G Fixed and Mobile broadband services. The following chart presents the key potential 5G spectrum bands included in the 5GNR NSA specification and identified by 5G Americas.