A total of 97 operators in 17 countries/territories currently hold public licenses enabling operation of 5G networks using mmWave spectrum, according to a new report from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
Also, 22 operators are known to be already deploying 5G networks using mmWave spectrum, while 13 countries/territories have announced formal plans with specific dates for assigning frequencies above 24 GHz between now and the end of 2021.
The 24.25–29.5 GHz 5G mmWave spectrum range is the most-licensed/deployed to date, with 123 operators in 42 countries/territories investing in 5G (in the form of trials, licenses, deployments or operational networks) across this spectrum range, the GSA reported.
GSA also said that a total of 84 announced 5G devices explicitly support one or more of the 5G spectrum bands above 24 GHz, up from 59 at the end of November 2019. The entity also noted that 27 of those devices are understood to be commercially available.
“5G mmWave spectrum offers large amounts of bandwidth to deliver far greater capacity, faster downloads and more subscribers, making it ideally suited for high data throughput applications such as video communications, video animations, data hungry applications such as virtual and augmented reality and the rapid deployment of Fixed Wireless Access,” said Joe Barrett, GSA president. “The global interest among both regulators and mobile operators in licensing high band spectrum is being mirrored in a growing device ecosystem with more vendors and form factors now supporting bands above 24 GHz. Despite the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to see 5G spectrum auctions proceeding across all bands, with over 40 countries still planning spectrum auctions before the end of 2020.”
High-band spectrum is suited to local area, “hot spot” coverage and supports 5G applications in places where high data throughput is required. High-band spectrum is also ideally suited to deployment in-building due to the band’s propagation characteristics. Lower power high-band spectrum can be efficiently deployed in-building to supplement Wi-Fi and provide seamless 5G coverage, GSA said.