5G Americas has claimed that with 5G-Advanced about to be rolled out and 6G networks set for launch by 2028, developing a comprehensive roadmap for new commercially available spectrum is necessary to ensure the successful deployment of these future infrastructures.

The findings come from the 5G Americas white paper, The evolution of 5G spectrum, aiming to provide insights into the future of mobile networks, emphasising the critical role of licensed spectrum for the successful roll-out of 5G-Advanced and future 6G capabilities.

The analyst said balancing both licensed and unlicensed spectrum is vital for the mobile industry, emphasising that the upper mid-band spectrum, ranging from 7.125-15.35 GHz, is key to taking advantage of existing infrastructure for increased capacity.

5G Americas also stressed that identifying new spectrum is integral to a US National Spectrum Strategy pipeline, ensuring rapid commercialisation and sustained technological leadership.

“Releasing more licensed spectrum for the wireless industry is critical for US leadership in technology, mobile communications and the economy,” said 5G Americas president Chris Pearson. “An industry roadmap for more spectrum helps ensure effective deployment of future networks and drive the emergence of groundbreaking technologies.”

Work group co-leader Aleksandar Damnjanovic, principal engineer and manager at Qualcomm, said: “5G Americas supports the 7.125 to 15.35 GHz spectrum range, especially below 10 GHz, for licensed mobile operations for its balance in capacity and coverage.

“Opening bands in this range involves exploring relocations and sharing strategies,” he said. “Additionally, mmWave bands are important for deployments in dense locations like urban cores, transportation depots, busy streets and entertainment venues, and also for fixed wireless access deployments. Sub-THz bands offer very large bandwidths that may be suitable for specialised use cases.”

The report also noted that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)-2030 – looking at likely sixth-generation radio interface technologies to be approved by the end of the decade – has codified various usage scenarios that form the basis for spectrum needs. These scenarios highlight the necessity for high data rates and wide-area coverage for applications such as immersive experiences, next-generation healthcare monitoring, human-machine interfaces, and joint communication and sensing.

“In response to an expected fourfold cellular network traffic increase by 2028, the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference recently decided to identify spectrum in the 4.4-15.5 GHz range for future wireless technology deployments,” said work group co-leader Brian Olsen, senior manager for technology development and strategy at T-Mobile USA. “The wireless industry needs access to more spectrum to support new applications like XR, connected cars and the metaverse.”

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