The mid-band spectrum is critical to 5G but the United States trails other countries in mid-band availability, according to a 2018 Analysys Mason study, which shows other countries plan to make over four times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the US by 2020.
Next-generation 5G networks rely on a mix of high-, mid- and low-band spectrum. Low-band spectrum carries signals over long distances and was the foundation for the first four generations of wireless networks. High-band spectrum travels much shorter distances, but offers the greater capacity required for data-intensive applications. Mid-band spectrum blends the attributes of both, delivering high capacity across larger geographic areas.
In 2018, Analysys Mason compiled the mid-band spectrum plans of 13 countries, including the United States, to produce a report for US wireless industry association CTIA.
Among the key findings of a 2018 compilation of mid-band spectrum plans in 13 countries around the world suggests that by the end of 2020:
- On average, countries included in the study will make 4 times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States.
- Japan is planning to make ten times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States.
- China is planning to make more than seven times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States; the United Kingdom is planning to make nearly five times more licensed mid-band spectrum available.
“Resources available to US operators are improving, but spectrum in the mid-band remains limited compared to other leading 5G markets,” said Janette Stewart, a principal with Analysys Mason and the lead author of the report, “Mid-band spectrum will be key to wider-area 5G coverage.”