Unleash millimetre wave, Nokia and Qualcomm tells Europe

Unleash millimetre-wave, Nokia and Qualcomm tell Europe

13 July 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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European governments and regulators should prioritise the supply of 26GHz spectrum to accelerate the much-needed rollout of 5G services across the European region and to enable its full potential.

A new report from spectrum specialist Plum Consulting, commissioned by Qualcomm and Nokia, says incentivising innovation by ensuring the availability of spectrum will provide an important basis for economic growth over the next decade.

Tony Lavender (pictured), managing partner at Plum Consulting, said: “The features supported by 5G will enable new devices, applications and business models. However, delivery of the full benefits of 5G for consumers, industry and enterprise sectors requires access to millimetre-wave spectrum.”

The GSMA estimates that 5G is expected to yield US$2.2 trillion in GDP between 2020-2034. Millimetre-wave – also called mmWave – applications will make up an increasing proportion of the overall 5G contribution to global GDP. The GSMA believes that it will represent a quarter of the cumulative total by 2034, equivalent to $565 billion.

Lavender said: “It is therefore important that national regulators consult on and define and implement the most appropriate regulatory framework, including spectrum sharing, as a priority to unleash the full potential of the 26GHz band.”

Plum Consulting says its research shows that 5G services based on millimetre-wave will be deployable quickly and effectively once more spectrum is made available. The consultancy is recommending national regulatory authorities to stimulate the market by making available 26GHz spectrum with the right licensing conditions to mobile network operators and for private industrial use.

Recommendations in the report from Plum Consulting include removing the barriers of entry to promote the use of 26GHz, including lowering its cost compared to other mobile bands, implementing tax incentives, tax deductions or special depreciation schedules for investments by operatorss and private network developers and including the use of award mechanisms that seek to encourage investment.

Plum notes that millimetre-wave is ideal where a cell radius of 500m or less is sufficient. The smaller physical size of network equipment provides advantages for site acquisition and deployments and indoor use.

Qualcomm’s Wassim Chourbaji, senior VP for government affairs for EMEA, said that 5G millimetre-wave “has the potential to be the catalyst to revolutionise ultra-fast connectivity to all – be it consumers, enterprise, auto, factories, agriculture, and more”.