Mid-Band Spectrum Auctions Impact the 5G Landscape

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mid-band spectrum has been in high demand by mobile and wireline operators both to support 5G rollouts and to underpin private networks for industrial customers.
  • As recipients of CBRS spectrum are leveraging the technology for real-world deployments now, while the C-Band auction was recently completed on January 18, vendor activity and customer deployments will rapidly advance in 2021.

U.S. operators have been investing in and building out infrastructure for their 5G cellular networks for several years. They have already launched 5G services for both consumer use cases such as fixed wireless access (for broadband internet) and smartphone-based immersive gaming as well as for enterprise use cases such as high-volume or real-time IoT, AR/VR, and industrial private networks. They have primarily leveraged licensed spectrum bands in the high-band (e.g., mmWave bands from 24.25 to 29.5 GHz) and low-band (generally below 1 GHz) ranges. But operators are now vying to gain highly coveted spectrum in the mid-band, as it offers the best of both worlds, supporting high speeds and low latency, as well as the ability to cost-effectively spread networks out beyond dense urban settings. In the U.S., T-Mobile gained Sprint’s legacy 2.5GHz assets during the merger, and it is making the most of its ‘layer-cake’ approach to 5G which spans all three types of spectrum, but even the Un-carrier is bidding to get more mid-band spectrum to improve on this key differentiator. Continue reading “Mid-Band Spectrum Auctions Impact the 5G Landscape”