FCC Chair Wants to Take 5G Higher

Against a background of increased international cooperation and competition on the development of 5G, the chairman of the FCC is proposing moving ahead with rules on how to use the higher-band frequencies expected to be occupied by the future mobile technology.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler published a blog post last week suggesting "flexible spectrum use rules for bands above 24 GHz" at the next agency meeting on October 22.

Bands above 24GHz, including millimeter bands between 30GHz and 300GHz, are considered prime prospects for new gigabit-speed 5G services, which are expected to arrive in 2020 or thereabouts.

For more on 5G, boogie on down to the dedicated 5G section here on Light Reading.

Wheeler writes that moving ahead on 5G spectrum will help the US keep the mobile lead he believes was established with the early -- but ongoing -- deployment of LTE on American soil, which Verizon Wireless started in 2009.

"Promoting flexible, dynamic spectrum use has been the bedrock that has helped the United States become a world leader in wireless," he writes.

There may be cause to be concerned that "lead" could be eroded as the 5G specification gets firmed up. Europe and China recently struck a development accord on 5G, but neither has yet signed a similar pact with the US.

For more on 5G:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

kq4ym 10/14/2015 | 1:05:37 PM
Re: US can do only high band 5G I wonder how much politics might be involved in the ITU and the bandplans suggested and set down eventually. With the differing requirement of the various regions, but some sort of uniformity necessary for it all to work, it's not an easy job I would guess figuring out just what frequencies to be allocated to all who seek them.
DanJones 10/6/2015 | 7:52:45 PM
Re: US can do only high band 5G Yes, the problem with that is that the traditional low-band 2G connections used for IoT/M2M in the US are going away. The networks are goimg to be shut down. Hence the scramble to develop a decent narrow band LTE interface for IoT now. Eventually they'll have to do this on 5G in the US too.
TV Monitor 10/6/2015 | 4:22:47 PM
Re: US can do only high band 5G Low band 5G as being proposed by Alcatel-Lucent(To be acquired by Nokia) is a low-latency radio interface optimized for machine to machine communications, NOT a high-speed data access interface. Chinese and Japanese low-band 5G proposals will provide 10 Gbits/s+ high-speed data access to end users, but they require 200 Mhz of bandwidth in traditional LTE bands to function. Considering how Verizon operates 2G, 3G, and 4G services with only 85 Mhz worth of bandwidth in the US, you can see how unrealistic this is for US wireless carriers. But this is not a problem in Japan and China, where respective governments are pledging to make Ghz worth of bandwidth available to telcos under 6 Ghz.

The big money is on high-speed data access for high-end users and not IoT, and the only way to achieve high-speed data access in the US is to go high-band 5G. It is the heavy data consumers streaming youtube and periscope videos who are willing to pay $150 a month for fat data plans, not machinese sending a few hundred bytes worth of data once an hour.

The truth is that there is not much money to be made on low-band IoT connection, and US wireless carriers starving of spectrum will use whatever additional low-band spectrum they gain through 600 Mhz spectrum auctions will use them for LTE services to relieve traffic congestions on their LTE networks, not low-latency IoT services few devices are compatible with anyway.
DanJones 10/6/2015 | 12:34:44 PM
Re: US can do only high band 5G I agree that the US is lacking in available low-band spectrum. I disagree that Wheeler is pushing a higher frequency only approach. He writes in the blog itself:

"The fifth generation of mobile networks could leverage both low-band and high-band spectrum to provide significantly greater wireless broadband speeds for consumers."

How are carriers going to get the spectrum?

600MHz auction? Re-using 2G and 3G spectrum too I would guess.

But yeah, we could see a mmWave high-speed overlay -- more like a WiFi zone -- for the first initial deployments in the US. LTE will still be doing most of the heavy lifting, as is natural in any initial deployment of a new cellular standard.

That's probably part of the reason there's increased urgency around retooling LTE to handle M2M and Internet of Things applications better, they know that low-band 5G won't be in place to handle those tasks any time soon. 
TV Monitor 10/6/2015 | 12:04:02 PM
US can do only high band 5G What the FCC is trying to do here is essentially go for a high-band only 5G strategy first proposed by Korean telco industry due to bandwidth restrictions in low-band. As you may be aware, the Korean strategy is to deploy 5G at 28 Ghz and use LTE as control planes, no low-band 5G in Korea.

In China, Japan and to a lessor degree in EU, there is a lot more bandwidth available in low band than it is in the US and this is why EU is trying to develop a 5G standard that's all inclusive across entire spectrum, not just high band. But this is not necessarily applicable to the US, whose spectrum landscape resembles that of Korea, and this is why the US application for 5G band to be considered at ITU is pretty much identical to Korean application.

Both China and Japan plan on low-band 5G only, because they have plenty of bandwidwith available under 6 Ghz, enough to allocate upto 200 Mhz of bandwidth per wireless carrier. This is not the situation in the US, so EU-China and EU-Japan deals have no relevance for the US. What the US needs to watch closely is the development in Korea, because Korean 5G standard's selected 28 Ghz band matches that of 28 Ghz that FCC intends to allocate for US 5G services.
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