LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Philippe Poggianti, VP business development at Qualcomm France (pictured), argued European operators have yet to maximise their existing 5G spectrum, meaning they are unable to fully embrace mmWave and compete with the progress made in other key markets. 

Poggianti highlighted Japan and US as making great strides in complementing 5G services with mmWave along with a commitment by Indian operators, in particular Reliance Jio to use it for fixed wireless access.

In Europe, he sees momentum building, particularly in Spain and Italy, but he said the reality of 5G deployments “has been a bit different to Japan and US”, largely due to the complexity of the European telecoms ecosystem, with competition from a higher number of operators. 

Also central to the issue is the need for operators to achieve return of investment on existing mid-band 5G spectrum before turning focus to “specific hot zones”, or high-density areas where mmWave can complement mid-band. 

Poggianti noted Germany, the Nordics and UK are other European markets exploring mmWave, with an auction in the latter expected in 2024

As for China, Poggianti said while nothing has been publicly announced in terms of spectrum licences, the ecosystem is “rallying around trials” to use mmWave in places where network demand is high.