5G Americas announced the publication of a white paper “Mid-Band Spectrum and the Co-Existence with Radio Altimeters” detailing the current status of commercial availability of spectrum for 5G use around the world and highlighting 5G wireless communications co-existence, as it relates to commercial aviation.
As the fifth generation of cellular wireless, 5G has grown to 172 networks around the world providing service to 298 million subscribers, there is a growing need to support additional demands for 5G by expanding the commercial availability of low-, mid- and high-band radio spectrum. The U.S. and many other countries are deploying mid-band spectrum in the 3300 to 4200 MHz range. Yet the aviation industry in the U.S. is currently raising concerns regarding the effect of 5G deployed in the 3700 to 3980 MHz range on radio altimeter use in aircrafts and helicopters in the nearby 4200 to 4400 MHz range, which is 220 MHz away in frequency.
Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas, said, “Low-, mid- and high-band spectrum is all very important for 5G to fulfill its full potential. Globally, the number of 5G network deployments is rapidly increasing in mid-band spectrum. Many nations around the world that are using spectrum in the 3300 to 4200 MHz range have been successfully operating 5G networks—and have done so without reports of interference to radio altimeters.”
In the U.S., military and federal systems have operated near the altimeter band for decades without incident. The U.S. government has identified, approved, allocated and auctioned the 3700 to 3980 MHz “C-Band” without any constraints, yet the U.S. later sought additional comment on possible interference at the insistence of the aviation community. The recent 5G Americas white paper explains the studies submitted by the aviation industry. These studies raise interference concerns, but as the 5G Americas white paper explains there are significant shortcomings in the studies. For instance, these studies are overly conservative in evaluating real-world conditions while ignoring the lack of interference events in Japan, South Korea, Europe, as well as with existing federal systems in the U.S.
The white paper was developed and written by a 5G Americas technical work group that comprised of specific engineering experts and was led by project leaders from Nokia and Ericsson. The white paper includes the following topics:
• Overview of current spectrum landscape, with focus on North America
• Specific review of mid-band spectrum for 5G
• Discussion of co-existence of 5G in C-Band with radio altimeters
According to Prakash Moorut, head of Spectrum Standardization at Nokia, “Today, there are approximately 105 network operators around the world that are using mid-band spectrum in either the 3300 to 4200 MHz range or 3300 to 3800 MHz range, with some additional interest in deploying the 4400 to 5000 MHz range. It is therefore important to continue the momentum of harmonized spectrum around the world to align with increased demand for 5G use.”
Noman Alam, director 5G Solutions at Ericsson added, “Governments around the world continue to work hard to make spectrum available across all three frequency ranges—low, mid and high—including the recent allocations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Mid-band spectrum is one of the swaths of critical spectrum for 5G.”