British telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced that it will make over 6 GHz of mmWave spectrum available.
The spectrum will span the 26 GHz (24.25-27.5 GHz) and 40 GHz (40.5 GHz-43.5 GHz) bands and deliver large increases in speeds and capacity.
Tony Eigen, VP of Marketing at Baicells, said: “Many countries, including the US, are already seeing the clear performance benefits of mmWave. Data from Ookla in the US revealed mmWave is achieving extraordinary speeds – almost 1.6 Gbps median 5G download speed.
“However, mmWave does have some known challenges, but can still have a key role in the ongoing roll-out of wireless networks.”
The main challenge for mmWave is that it has a limited range and can be easily blocked by obstacles. Early users with mmWave-supported devices and networks often find there are limited locations where they can take full advantage of the speed and capacity advantages.
“mmWave networks, therefore, need to be densified to provide reliable coverage, requiring significant investment. Operators are, therefore, likely to want to acquire mmWave spectrum for enterprise private network deployments, to connect high volumes of devices that need high bandwidth connectivity, such as the industrial IoT and smart healthcare across a controlled environment,” explains Eigen.
“MmWave technology may also be used in high-traffic areas, such as Oxford Street or sports stadiums, which is what some US operators have started to do, to provide high-speed coverage to large numbers of users. In addition, some operators are using mmWave as a last mile alternative to economically extend broadband access to homes or businesses in lieu of deploying fixed network facilities like fibre.”
Ofcom believes that taking a proactive approach to making mmWave available will drive investment in faster and better quality services and innovation.
Furthermore, the regulator says that making the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands available for new uses at the same time will “maximise this spectrum’s potential” to benefit people and businesses.
A consultation has been opened by Ofcom that calls for proposals on the design of auctions for citywide and local mmWave licenses. Responses can be submitted using this form.
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