The U.S. wireless sector has access to only 5% of the lower mid-band spectrum, whereas unlicensed users have access to seven times that amount and government users have access to twelve times that much, according to a recent Accenture report commissioned by the CTIA.
The study is part of a larger effort by CTIA and the wireless industry to make more spectrum accessible to enable the expansion of 5G networks and mobile broadband services.
Meredith Atwell Baker, president and CEO of the CTIA, called for more “balance between commercial and government and licensed and unlicensed” spectrum at the Mobile World Congress Las Vegas event on Wednesday. She also stated that Congress must “direct future auctions” and empower the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications Information Association (NTIA) to commercialize more mid-band spectrum.
CTIA Chairman David Christopher, EVP and general manager of alliances and 5G ecosystem development at AT&T, reiterated this sentiment. During his keynote address at MWC Las Vegas, Christopher urged the industry to build a “solid spectrum roadmap” for licensed spectrum.
Specifically, the Accenture study determined that the greatest potential lies within the following three bands:
- This band is next to the 3.45 GHz band that was recently auctioned and brought in over $21.8 billion in bids. Accenture observed that commercializing this band might reduce gadget manufacturers’ costs.
- 400 MHz in the range of 4.44 to 4.94 GHz. This mid-band spectrum is already allotted to wireless providers in numerous other nations; a similar distribution in the United States would result in international spectrum harmonization.
- 400 MHz in the range of 7.125 to 8.4 GHz. Because this spectrum has a higher frequency, it would be ideal for highly populated locations where more traffic and capacity are required.
According to the CTIA, designating these three frequency bands for commercial wireless use would result in unlicensed users having access to 1.19 times as much spectrum as commercial wireless users, while government users would have access to 1.34 times as much spectrum as commercial wireless users.
Source: Fierce Wireless