700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz are “pioneer” 5G bands in European Union

While European regulators have articulated plans to auction millimeter wave licenses, all of the current and planned network activations are based on mid-band frequencies centered in the 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz range. European Union officials are also working toward spectrum harmonization for 5G across the continent.
In January, the European Commission announced it will spectrum harmonization efforts focused on the 3.6 GHz band for 5G. In a statement, the EC said the harmonization process of this spectrum band will enable member states to use this spectrum for 5G by the end of 2020, adhering to rules set out in the EU’s new Electronic Communications Code, which was cleared in December 2018.
“This band has been harmonized for wireless broadband services in the European Union since 2008. However, its use has been low and only a limited number of licenses had been issued. This amendment of the decision updates the technical conditions to make them 5G-ready as the 3.6 GHz band has been identified as the primary pioneer band for 5G in the European Union,” the EC said in a statement.
More recently, in May, the EC has adopted a decision to harmonize the radio spectrum in the 26 GHz band across the European Union for the future use with 5G technology. The decision finalizes the EU-wide coordination of all three pioneer bands (700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz) needed for 5G rollout in the member states.
Following this implementing decision, member states can set common technical conditions and subsequently allow the use of the 26 GHz band for 5G systems by December 31, 2020, in line with the European Electronic Communications Code. The harmonization of the 26 GHz band across Europe must be completed in all member states by the end of March 2020, while effective use of at least 1 GHz of this band will follow by the end of 2020.
This focus on 5G spectrum harmonization is a good thing, Lindsay Notwell, Cradlepoint’s senior vice president charged with 5G strategy and global carrier operations, said, particularly given the wide mix of licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum that will ultimately carry 5G traffic. “We need to be thinking about…the practical realities of band combinations and permutations,” he said. “We’re soon to get into six and seven [channel]carrier aggregation in LTE, let alone 5G/4G carrier aggregation. The number of combinations are just insane. If you want to be thorough in your testing, that quickly becomes unrealistic in terms of time and money.”

The European 5G Observatory, in a report published in June, tallied eight operators offering commercial 5G services in parts of seven countries:

  • Elisa in Finland and Estonia using 3.6 GHz
  • T-Mobile in Austria using 3.6 GHz. 
  • Sunrise and Swisscom in Switzerland both with holdings in the 700 MHz, 1.4 GHz and 3.5 GHz.
  • EE in the United Kingdom using the 3.4 GHz band
  • Vodafone in Spain using 3.7 GHz. 
  • Vodafone and Telecom Italia in Italy in 3.7 GHz. 


The post What’s the outlook for 5G spectrum harmonization in Europe? appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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