Guang Yang, the research director at Strategy Analytics, in an interview with Total Telecom talked about the unique characteristics of the 700 MHz spectrum and what the spectrum could mean for 5G deployments worldwide.
According to Guang, the majority of 5G networks globally are currently deployed in the C-band, followed by the mmWave and 700 MHz band. Yet, this balance is gradually shifting. While the mid-band clearly remains the most popular for 5G, deployments of both mmWave and 700 MHz spectrum are becoming increasingly common.
Undoubtedly, mid-band spectrum can provide an excellent data experience for customers, but its range is relatively limited. A new focus will be needed if 5G services are going to be delivered on a nationwide scale cost-effectively, and the 700 MHz spectrum could present a solution. Guang explained that the band has much better signal propagation and building penetration than higher frequency bands, allowing operators to provide nationwide coverage in a very cost-effective way. Guang also added that the 700 MHz spectrum provides better indoor coverage, which is important to improve user experience as more than 70% of traffic today takes place in an indoor environment.
Operators are quickly coming to realize the value of the 700 MHz spectrum. For instance, China Mobile and China Broadcasting Network have recently issued a joint tender to purchase more than 480,000 700 MHz 5G base stations. China Mobile’s rivals, China Telecom and China Unicom have also launched a joint tender for 5G base stations in the 2.1 GHz band, and they will purchase around 230,000 base stations to improve their coverage. The local competition between Chinese operators has been great news for Huawei, which was recently announced as the largest winner for the China Mobile–China Broadcasting Network tender process, with around 60% market share. Guang expected Huawei will achieve an even higher market share in this project.
With operators battling to become the first to achieve national coverage, Total Telecom reports that there will be more low-band deployments globally in the coming years. Guang concludes that there will be more than 30 new countries auctioning or allocating the 600 MHz or 700 MHz spectrum in the next one to two years.
Click here to read the interview with Total Telecom.