China becomes spectrum exceptionalist
Jun 16, 2021 by Toby Youell


Tags2.6 GHz, 4.9 GHz, China, USA

Spectrum managers have typically valued international coordination. Not only do radio emissions not respect borders, but a single country cannot possibly demand enough radio equipment to push down prices to make them widely affordable. When these problems are successfully solved, and countries move together on spectrum management, great things can happen.

Near-global spectrum harmonisation of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, for example, allowed GSM to flourish in the 1990s. Global availability of the 2.4 GHz band for unlicensed services enabled global deployments of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

A recurring exception to this principle has been the United States. The world’s largest economy is big enough and rich enough to pursue its own spectrum policy. Its 2G networks used the 850 MHz band, for example.

According to our newly-updated profile of spectrum policy in China, we can add that country to our select list of spectrum exceptionalists. While many countries around the world, even the US, focus on the C-Band for their 5G strategies, China Mobile is focussing on 2.6 GHz and 4.9 GHz.

Although 200 MHz of the C-Band is licensed to two smaller competitors, they are also expected to share access to 100 MHz of the band. And while much of the world is looking to make at least part of the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed technologies, China is exploring licensing the band for future 5G and/or 6G. While many countries have made mmWave bands available for 5G, China is yet to do so.

Our China profile is available as part of PolicyTracker‘s Spectrum Research Service (SRS). The SRS also includes newly updated profiles of both Australia and Japan.•