Vodafone Group successfully tested connectivity in the upper 6GHz band during a trial in Spain, claiming to achieve download speeds double what today’s networks are capable of as it reiterated calls for a fair and balanced allocation of the spectrum.

The operator noted in a statement the trial was conducted by engineers in the country using a smartphone tuned to the anticipated amount of 6GHz spectrum band that will be made available in European countries, achieving download speeds of up to 5Gb/s and on average 2Gb/s in various indoor sites.

The latter was particularly important since around 75 per cent of mobile traffic comes from enclosed spaces such as homes, offices or cafes, it said.

Vodafone noted the technology’s potential to meet “comparable coverage levels” to today’s 5G networks, meaning the band can easily be deployed to existing mobile masts “when current bandwidth becomes exhausted”. 

Allocating the 6GHz band for mobile will guarantee faster connectivity for businesses and public services, according to Vodafone, and avoid a network capacity crunch in the next five to ten years. 

“Additional 5G spectrum would boost the digital transformation of businesses and public sector organisations, and support the European Commission’s ambition to have fast connectivity within reach of all populated areas by 2030,” said chief network officer at Vodafone Group Alberto Ripepi. 

Soaring demand 
Connectivity demands in Europe continue to rise by 30 per cent every year, driven by the number of devices connected to 5G, added Vodafone.

The allocation of the new 6GHz band will therefore enable “the industry to future-proof the progress of new services and technologies and the demands they place on the mobile network”. 

Vodafone’s trial comes ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference in Dubai next month, where national regulators and industry members will decide on the future use of the spectrum.

FCC recently opened up the use of the 6GHz band for wearables to encourage more uptake and development of AR and VR applications.