It is understood that WRC-19 closed on Nov.22, with a number of high frequency bands identified for IMT. These bands are in the millimeter wave range: 24.25-27.5, 37-43.5, 45.5-47, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz. They will complement mid frequency spectrum in the 2-10 GHz range, and low frequency spectrum below 2 GHz, and will enable the deployment of 5G networks around the world for provision of ultra-fast 5G mobile broadband in outdoor and indoor hotspots, as well as for high capacity fixed wireless access to the home. In addition, WRC-19 agreed to study a number of IMT mid frequency bands in the run up to WRC-23, including the 6425-7125 MHz band.
The 6GHz opportunity: WRC-19 agreed to study the frequency band of 6425-7125 MHz for IMT
Mobile communications have delivered substantial economic growth and prosperity all over the world. Increased broadband penetration yields GDP growth, the deployment of 5G networks will further extend this growth, which will provide enhanced mobile and home broadband, Internet of Things on a massive scale, and reliable and low latency communications for useful applications in several industries.
Mobile data usage has increased sharply in the recent years, the report highlights facts and trends that indicate data usage as high as 150 GB per user per month by 2025 in the most advanced markets, To ensure the full IMT vision, 5G will require spectrum in low frequency bands below 2 GHz, in mid-bands from 2 to 10 GHz, and in high frequency bands above 24 GHz.
While studies for IMT identification have been proposed in the range 3.3-10.5 GHz, the 6-7 GHz band has been specifically proposed by several regions and groups of countries. This wide range of frequencies has the advantage of mid-band propagation characteristics and is therefore suitable for high capacity citywide coverage.
Mid-band spectrum offers higher capacity than low-band (sub-1GHz) and greater coverage than high-bands (millimeter waves). Drivers for mobile data usage in general and 5G use of mid-band spectrum in particular can be group into five areas: Mobile broadband and citywide video consumption, mobile networks for safe and smart cities, mobile networks for Industry 4.0, fixed wireless access, and national connectivity goals.
The 6425-7125 MHz band is an attractive solution to complement the current mid-band spectrum for IMT and it is of particular interest for countries which require higher capacity to meet future data demand, in countries where millimeter waves are not an option, and in countries where it has been difficult to re-farm sufficient wideband channels in the mid-band spectrum.
The 6425-7125MHz band also presents several other promising characteristics: there is a good balance between coverage and capacity in the band (comparable to the 3-5 GHz band), the outdoor to indoor coverage is comparable to the 3-5 GHz range, the band can support large contiguous blocks (up to 1200 MHz is potentially available when considering the whole tuning range).
The frequency band 6425-7125 MHz has a primary allocation to Mobile Service in all Regions in the Radio Regulations. The other services with primary allocation in the band, namely the Fixed Service (FS) and Fixed Satellite Service (FSS), need to be considered for coexistence with IMT.
The combination of favorable propagation characteristics and the opportunity for wide channelization makes the 6 GHz band uniquely well suited for IMT.