Dgtl Infra provides you with the future spectrum bands in the United States that could potentially become available for commercial use in the next 12+ months. We divide this report into specific spectrum bands within the following four groupings: Low-Band (<1 GHz), Lower Mid-Band (1 GHz to 3 GHz), Upper Mid-Band (3 GHz to 6 GHz), and High-Band (mmWave). For each specific spectrum band (e.g., 3.45 – 3.55 GHz), we outline the frequency (MHz), potential spectrum depth (MHz) to be auctioned, who the incumbent operators are, potential timing for the auction, and other relevant commentary.
This analysis is comprehensive, as shown by the product image. Specifically, this summary covers 20+ unique future spectrum bands in the United States. For example, we include Low-Band (e.g., 600 MHz), Lower Mid-Band (e.g., 2.5 GHz), Upper Mid-Band (e.g., 3.45 – 3.55 GHz), and High-Band (e.g., MVDDS / 12 GHz).
What is Spectrum and Why is it Important?
Spectrum is the lifeblood of the wireless industry. In order to build a fully operational 5G network, United States carriers need to have three layers of spectrum. Specifically, these include low-, mid- and high-band. Low-band is typically the first layer of coverage, as it provides much better coverage than mid- and high-band frequencies. Low-band comprises 4G/LTE frequencies that are re-farmed to be used in 5G through dynamic spectrum sharing. In the middle, are sub-6 GHz, mid-band frequencies such as 3.5 GHz, a global standard. Finally, millimeter wave spectrum bands comprise ultra-wide frequencies that are typically 24 GHz and higher.
Ultimately, all frequency bands will be part of 5G. Indeed, this means that United States carriers will be able to leverage their full spectrum portfolio and coverage capabilities. Carriers will have to combine their low-, mid- and high-band spectrum in order to deliver users the performance that they expect. Whether it is for video streaming, or advanced enterprise cases.
United States Carriers Deploying 5G Spectrum in a Layer Cake
The combined channels of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum together is what is known as a “layer cake“. Specifically, the layer cake is critical for the type of 5G services that customers can use on a ubiquitous basis nationwide, in urban, suburban, and rural environments. Indeed, it is the combination of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum that enables more capacity and an increase in speeds for customers.
For nationwide coverage of the United States, carriers need to implement 5G through the layer cake approach to spectrum. Firstly, low-band covers broad geographies and penetrates building well. Secondly, the populous areas use mid-band. Thirdly, when it becomes very dense, high-band / millimeter wave (mmWave) covers areas such as inside stadiums and event locations.