By Anne Morris

5G will need all spectrum including mmWave

Panellists at MWC19 Barcelona agreed mmWave bands will be an essential requirement for future 5G networks, while also deciding that the topic is somewhat flawed.

Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of consultancy Northstream, moderating a session debating if 5G deployments in high-frequency bands are uneconomic, concluded that 5G is economic and viable.

Karri Kuoppamaki, VP of technology development and strategy at T-Mobile US, said 5G should be deployed in all frequency bands as they offer different characteristics to support the different requirements of 5G. For instance, lower bands are better for coverage, while mmWave can support 5G networks in traffic hotspots such as dense urban areas.

“None of these bands in and of itself is the answer to 5G,” added Kuoppamaki, noting that the frequencies will support particular aspects of 5G use cases, but no single band will support all aspects of all use cases.

Tiago Rodrigues, general manager of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), also pointed out that unlicensed spectrum will play an important role in 5G.

At the same time, Kuoppamaki and his fellow presenters pointed out that high-band frequencies have certain limitations because of their short propagation characteristics, and thus require the deployment of additional technologies to counteract these weaknesses.

For example, Chaobin Yang, president of the 5G product line at Huawei, made the case for massive MIMO as a method to improve the performance of 5G using mmWave frequencies.

Thomas Noren, head of 5G commercialisation at Ericsson, expounded the use of 5G carrier aggregation to benefit from the different strengths of high-band and low-band frequencies.

He also said dynamic spectrum sharing could be used as a technique to solve the introduction of 5G into 4G bands. mmWave can also be used in some standalone situations, such as for fixed wireless access, added Noren.