Total Telecom, an analyst firm specializing in the telecommunications industry, interviewed research director at Strategy Analytics, Guang Yang, on the topic of the unique characteristics of 700 MHz spectrum and what it could mean for 5G deployments around the world.
According to Guang, the majority of 5G networks globally are currently deployed in the C band, followed by mmWave and 700 MHz. Yet this balance is gradually changing. While the mid-band clearly remains the most popular for 5G, deployments of both mmWave and 700 MHz spectrum are becoming more common.
Undoubtedly, Guang reports, mid-band spectrum can provide excellent data experience for customers, but its range is relatively limited. A new focus will be needed if 5G services are to be deployed nationwide in a cost-effective way, and 700 MHz spectrum could present a solution. Guang explained that the band has significantly higher signal propagation and building penetration than higher frequency bands, which allows operators to provide nationwide coverage very cheaply. Guang also added that 700 MHz spectrum offers better indoor coverage, which is important for improving the customer experience, as over 70% of traffic currently takes place indoors.
Operators are quickly realizing the value of 700 MHz spectrum. For example, China Mobile and China Broadcasting Network recently issued a joint tender to purchase more than 480,000 5G 700 MHz base stations. China Mobile’s competitors, China Telecom and China Unicom, have also launched a joint tender for 5G base stations in the 2.1 GHz band, and will purchase about 230,000 base stations to improve their coverage. Local competition among Chinese operators is good news for Huawei, which was recently listed as the winning company in the China Mobile-China Broadcasting Network tender, with about 60% market share.
According to Guang’s predictions, Huawei will gain even more market share in this project.
As operators struggle to become the first to get national coverage, Total Telecom reports that there will be more low-band deployments globally in the years to come. Guang concludes by explaining that there will be more than 30 new countries auctioning or allocating 600 MHz or 700 MHz spectrum in the next one to two years.