Research by the GSMA revealed disparities in 5G readiness across the Asia-Pacific region, with the path to allocate sufficient spectrum unclear in many countries, especially in the 700MHz and mid-bands.

In a report, the industry association suggested a global average of 2GHz per country for mid-band spectrum is required between 2025 and 2030 to reap the benefits of the ultra-fast networks.

GSMA head of spectrum Luciana Camargos explained the most successful countries are those with a defined 5G deployment plan, noting “the key differentiator is spectrum management”.

The report outlines steps governments and regulators across the region should take to enable efficient and effective availability of spectrum.

A top priority is backing technology-neutral spectrum licences, which GSMA argues provides the necessary flexibility for mobile operators to deploy new generations based on market demand, service and network roadmaps.

The association stated the approach should apply to existing and new licences, and may require changes to a country’s underlying legislation.

A lack of licensing flexibility could lead to uncertainty and delays which may impact network investment and deployment, quality, costs and service availability.

It also highlighted a need for objectivity, transparency and accountability when allocating spectrum.

The GSMA recommended countries investigate the potential and plan to assign the 3.5GHz and 700MHz ranges, as well as more spectrum in the 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz legacy bands, noting there may be a need for refarming.