How national approaches to spectrum policy evolved in the past year
Oct 09, 2019 by Toby Youell


The last year has seen 5G become a reality in many countries, as national regulators have made significant progress in making spectrum available for 5G. Regulators have also found ways to share and/or liberalise spectrum, have continued their focus on coverage obligations, and have secured new market entry in their countries’ mobile industries.

PolicyTracker has revisited the spectrum profiles for the world’s most important economies to take account of developments over the last year. These new profiles are available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.

While all countries are unique, we are able to identify six clear trends:

  • 5G becomes a reality: Commercial 5G services are now available in several countries, typically for Fixed Wireless Access.
  • Bands for 5G: Regulators have long sought to make available mmWave frequencies and/or the 3.5 GHz band, but there is new focus on the 2.6 GHz and 4.8 – 4.9 GHz bands.
  • Spectrum sharing: The US, Germany, and the UK made significant progress in sharing prime mid-band spectrum.
  • Liberalization in the developing world: India and Brazil are working to introducing spectrum trading, among other reforms.
  • New entrants: Spectrum awards in Japan and Germany, and a potential trade in the US, could bolster the prospects for new mobile market entrants.
  • The importance of coverage obligations: Plans for spectrum awards under development appear to shift their emphasis to coverage over auction revenue.