GSMA calls for 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum to lower consumer costs of 5G

The industry will need an average of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum this decade that will help in lowering consumer costs of 5G, according to a study of 36 cities published by the GSMA.
Huawei 5G base station in China
The study shows that policymakers should license 5G spectrum to mobile operators in harmonised bands, such as 3.5 GHz, 4.8 GHz and, 6 GHz to meet the ITU’s requirements by 2030.

GSMA asks regulators:

Plan to make an average of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum available in the 2025-2030 time frame to guarantee the IMT-2020 requirements for 5G;

Base spectrum decisions on real-world factors including, population density and extent of fibre rollout; and

Support harmonized mid-band 5G spectrum (e.g., within the 3.5 GHz, 4.8 GHz and 6 GHz ranges) and facilitate technology upgrades in existing bands.

The number of antennas and base stations needed will lead to higher carbon emissions and consumer prices, GSMA said. The additional spectrum will lower the carbon footprint of networks by two-to-three times while enhancing the sustainable development of mobile connectivity, according to the study by Coleago Consulting.

This spectrum will make 5G more affordable. Total costs would be three- to five-times higher over a decade in cities where a deficit of 800-1000 MHz would increase the number of base stations needed and increase deployment costs in each city by $782 million to $5.8 billion.

Mid-band spectrum availability also will enhance Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). The study shows that with the additional 2 GHz, five-times more households will be covered with each base station, allowing affordable high-speed internet to reach beyond the fibre footprint at a fraction of the cost.

The World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023 is a crucial opportunity to align global policies for mid-band solutions for mobile. This spectrum will ensure mobile operators can deliver the ITU targets of 100 Mbps download speeds and 50 Mbps upload speeds to meet future needs of consumers and businesses.