Arqiva believes acquiring an additional 28GHz spectrum licence leaves the UK company well positioned to deliver 5G services once standards are finalised by 3GPP.

Managing director of telecoms and M2M, Nicolas Ott, said the purchase of the Region A licence for 2x112MHz from intelligent managed services provider Luminet stands the UK-based communications infrastructure and media services provider in “good stead” to deliver a 5G-based fixed wireless access (FWA) wholesale service to operators in the country.

Although the licence covers central and Greater London, an Arqiva announcement claimed it bolsters the company’s existing national spectrum ownership, and leaves it well placed to benefit from trials of the 28GHz spectrum band currently underway in the US, Japan and South Korea covering FWA deployments.

Ott said the “FWA component is set for a headstart thanks to the drive from major global fixed line and mobile operators as both a substitute and a companion to traditional fibre services”.

Arqiva plans to conduct what it claimed will be the first pre-standard 5G FWA field test in London in the coming months in partnership with Samsung. The trial will cover the potential of the 28GHz band to deliver ultra-fast, high bandwidth services on wireless networks.

Fibre alternative
“5G FWA is an exciting opportunity to deliver true ultrafast broadband above 500Mb/s to millions of households; this is especially relevant in the UK where so few households are connected by fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). FWA has the ability to become a truly alternative technology to deliver fibre-like services,” Ott explained.

Arqiva is betting 3GPP standards due to be released in March 2018 will pave the way for FWA to be the first commercial release of 5G technology.

Sasha Williamson, CEO of Luminet, said the company took a “strategic business decision” to sell the spectrum. The company will now focus on expanding its London network and enhancing its “focus on wholesale” for its UK connectivity and computing services.

A Luminet company representative told Mobile World Live terms of the deal prevent it disclosing the price paid.