The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has identified 23 countries that have auctioned or allocated C-Band spectrum for mobile broadband. C-Band refers to spectrum in the 3300 to 4200 MHz frequency range, which offers additional bandwidth for capacity and greater coverage than using mmWave spectrum.

The 23 to first auction or allocate C-Band spectrum for 5G were Australia, Austria, Czechia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain and the U.K.

Applications suited to C-Band include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), ultra-high definition (UHD) video, smart home, smart manufacturing, health care and drones. The 3300 to 4200 MHz band supports both mobile connectivity and fixed wireless access (FWA) applications.

The 5G Spectrum Auction Tracker, which GSA also announced, shows that Italian operators have paid the most per MHz per population for C-Band spectrum in recent auctions — more than double the final $/MHz/population of recent auctions in Germany and the U.K. The prices paid for C-Band spectrum have varied widely, with the amount operators prepared to spend in each market influenced factors such as competition, spectrum licensing terms, existing spectrum holdings and the amount spent by mobile customers in the country.

“C-Band spectrum has historically been made available around the world for fixed wireless services using legacy technologies, or has been allocated for satellite or government/military use,” said Joe Barrett, president of GSA. “While a few countries have made portions of C-Band spectrum available for LTE, with the advent of 5G, access to C-Band spectrum is being opened up to support mobile broadband services, often specifically including 5G."

The GSA 5G Spectrum Auction Tracker is a new information database from GSA and is available to all GSA members. Available during the first quarter of this year, it will be integrated into the GSA Analyser for Mobile Broadband Devices (GAMBoD) database, a unique search and analysis tool developed by GSA to enable searches of LTE and 5G devices and global data on mobile broadband networks, technologies and spectrum (NTS). The 5G Spectrum Auction Tracker database contains details about spectrum auction and allocation trends, including the prices of spectrum sold at auction or allocated to operators through administrative proceedings.

GAMBoD is a resource dedicated to promoting the success and growth of the mobile broadband (MBB) industry and ecosystem and is available to all employees of GSA executive and ordinary member companies and GSA associates who subscribe to the service.

"The momentum behind 5G spectrum, networks and devices gathered pace throughout 2019 and will accelerate further in 2020 — and the GSA’s new 5G Spectrum Auction Tracker database is the go-to industry resource for anyone who wants to understand the very latest both global and local status.” — Joe Barrett, president of GSA