Mid-band dominates 5G in emerging markets | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
Spectrum assets will determine the strategies, investments, and deployment for each aspect of the terrestrial telecommunication and satellite industry within the 5G market in emerging territories, says a study from ABI Research, warning of fundamental technological issues that could hamper deployment.
Qualcomm 5G Snapdragon26 JUly 2021
The report, Emerging Markets Broadband Objectives: Spectrum Requirements, forecasts that approximately 90% of 5G cell sites in emerging markets will be operating support a combination of sub-6 GHz bands by 2026, with sub-6 GHz bands providing the best-in-class coverage while catering for sufficient capacity in emerging markets. Yet while millimetre-wave (mmWave), with its larger amount of bandwidth, can meet very high-capacity demand use cases, ABI believes that its poor propagation characteristics and cost of deployment puts it in a disadvantage compared to sub-6 GHz bands for 5G deployment.

“5G mmWave will have its role to play in urban and suburban downtown locales in developed markets and perhaps commercial business districts in emerging markets but the reality is, emerging market telcos will need the coverage and capacity characteristics of the sub-6 GHz bands for 5G,” explained Dean Tan, research analyst at ABI Research. “Not only does sub-6 GHz has sufficient capacity to meet demand, but also can propagate over a longer distance and is not attenuated by rain.”

In its spectrum survey of 32 emerging markets, ABI found that by 2023 at least half of countries of countries will have allocated the low band (<1 GHz) spectrum for 5G while about 87% countries will have allocated the mid bands (1 GHz to 6 GHz). This stands in comparison with 34% and 12% countries for 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands respectively by 2023.

ABI noted that for any market, it was fundamental that end-users have affordable handsets for a whole range of disposable income profiles. For emerging markets, it added, it was important that smartphone sales can be sustained at about US$100 to increase inclusivity. While it noted that there will be disposable income strata that can afford multi-band/mmWave handsets, ABI stressed the reality was that handset vendors will need to focus on the sub-6 GHz bands to keep bill of material costs down. The analyst expects 5G handset shipments supporting the sub-6 GHz band in emerging markets to grow to nearly 600 million by 2026 at a CAGR of 22.7% from 2020.