LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 ASIA PACIFIC, SINGAPORE: Industry association GSMA tipped the increasingly popular 6GHz band to play a vital role in supporting 5G rollouts worldwide, but cautioned decisions at the 2023 World Radiocommunication Conference, and subsequently by national regulators, will play a major role in its future success.

In a report released at the event today (3 August), the GSMA recommends regulators aim to assign between 700MHz and 1200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band to licensed 5G use to maximise the benefits of the scarce resource and support operators in delivering the full capabilities of the technology.

The GSMA detailed the development progress of 6GHz IMT systems and the central role the band will play in delivering successful 5G rollouts.

It warned, however, countries risk damaging their ability to maximise the impact of stakeholders’ investments in 5G networks if they opt to allocate the full 6GHz band to unlicensed use.

Luciana Camargos, head of spectrum at the GSMA, stated 6GHz “is crucial for 5G expansion in many countries”.

“Without it, operators will often struggle to meet the predicted average of 2GHz of mid-band spectrum needed for 5G, impacting service quality.”

“Countries may, in consequence, lose out on the full societal and economic benefits of investment in modern 5G networks.”

The GSMA stated the 6GHz band is the largest remaining contiguous block of mid-band spectrum which can be assigned to licensed mobile in most markets.

“Harmonisation of 6GHz spectrum could therefore provide more bandwidth and improve network performance.”

“At the same time, the broad contiguous channels offered by the 6GHz range could reduce the need for network densification, helping governments to speed up access to 5G services.”