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Industry Execs See Spectrum As Top 5G Challenge

Despite increased availability of key spectrum bands in many countries, panellists highlighted access to sufficient bandwidth on standard bands as the main challenge facing 5G rollouts.

Patrick Tsie, senior director of technical marketing at Qualcomm (pictured, second from left), said there are major policy issues in many countries which are limiting spectrum availability. Unlike 4G, which was rapidly deployed due to global harmonisation, he noted “we can’t hope for total harmonisation but it’s important to have it on at least a couple of bands.”

Europe is generally aligned, but Asia is all over the place with each going down a different path: “We need some kind of alignment in order to build up the ecosystem,” he said.

Zhang Dong, VP of 5G marketing at Huawei (pictured, far right), agreed spectrum is a limiting factor, with the amount available (particularly in the C band) not able to meet the performance requirements of 5G.

He added device availability is also a key challenge.

More spectrum

A critical issue regarding spectrum is to have affordable prices set by governments, said Cristian Gomez, director of spectrum policy and regulatory affairs at industry group GSMA , “So far prices have been too high in APAC,” he said, adding the challenge for the region is to secure midrange spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. Several trials of mmWave in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands leaves that spectrum in solid shape, he noted.

Kevin Yee, Singtel’s director of network architecture (pictured, second from right), considers the development of the entire ecosystem the most essential element, as 5G adoption will be use-case driven and will require collaboration and co-creation. – Mobile World Live

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