5G Spectrum
March 23, 2018


Mobile network operators around the world are experiencing huge growth in mobile data traffic and forecasts suggest that over the coming years it is set to rise even more dramatically.

In the populated areas where traffic density is extremely high, many operators are already facing capacity challenges. 

The notion “capacity crunch” where operators face obstacles to fulfill demand with a satisfactory quality of service can be eased through providing additional spectrum or building additional capacity sites to compensate for the traffic.

But at the same time, operators are now finding it extremely hard to build new traditional macro cell sites, especially in built up areas due to the current high cell densities and other factors.

Thus, the temporary or terminal solution is to get more spectrum and build 4G small cell solutions to contain the capacity in built up areas and at high traffic places.


• The drivers for high network capacity :
1. Availability of spectrum while accounting for the cost of acquisition and operation.
2. Demand in terms of the traffic that is driven through the network.
3. The variety of services that can suffer high load in a network across all hours of a day.
4. The multiplexing capability of the Internet Protocol (IP).
5. In semiconductor technology, the computational ability provided by the advances increases processing power and decreasing storage cost.


5G Spectrum Requirements:

• Many needed spectrum bands are between 3 GHz and 100 GHz; however, these bands are in regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are assigned to other services, for example, radiolocation, fixed services (point-to-point links), satellite communication, and active and passive earth exploration.

• The region from 3 GHz to 30 GHz has high and heavy usage by many of these services.

• In some scenarios that involve indoor or short range access, new procedures for spectrum sharing will be needed that allow the benefit of greater coordination between service providers, without severely affecting the utilization efficiency and the achievable capacity, Spectrum Sharing will, therefore, need to be addressed.

3GPP “5G/NR” Bands

Spectrum challenges in 5G:

• Mobile data volumes to be supported by 5G mobile access will dramatically increase, and requirements on coverage, reliability, and low latency will be strengthened.

• With an ambition to deliver 1000 times higher traffic capacity and 10 to 100 times higher typical user data rate, 5G will require significantly more spectrum and wider contiguous bandwidths than what is currently available or anticipated for mobile and wireless communication systems until 2020.

• The future plans for 5G will put greater demands on capacity so current use cases for mobile broadband need to expand into improved support of video and massive machine connectivity. This is driven by extreme use cases for MBB such as VR, large scale surveillance, autonomous vehicles, next-generation backhaul, moving networks, haptic feedback for remote operation of machinery, etc.



• Sufficient amounts of spectrum need to be available in low spectrum bands in order to satisfy the requirement for seamless coverage of the 5G services xMBB and mMTC.

• Additional spectrum below 6 GHz is crucial to cope with the mobile traffic in urban and suburban areas, and in medium density areas as well.

• Spectrum above 6 GHz is essential for enabling wireless access in high density usage cases. In other words, to fulfill the high contiguous bandwidth demand for xMBB, and for wireless backhaul solutions for high capacity ultra-dense small cell networks.

• The most demanding use cases related to xMBB services, such as the ones associated with dense urban information society, need between 1 GHz and 3 GHz of bandwidth.

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