The advocate for the USA’s big mobile operators, the CTIA, recently asked Analysys Mason to benchmark the availability of mid-band spectrum in the US in comparison to other economies. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the CTIA’s campaign to auction a portion of the 6 GHz band, the study found that the US did not have enough mid-band spectrum in the pipeline.
The study defined “mid-band” as 3 – 7 GHz, but perhaps a sunnier picture would have emerged if it also included the 2.6 GHz band.
This band, we argued in a recent profile, is becoming more important for 5G. One reason for this is its support in China; whose largest operator now has access to 160 MHz of the band.
Another reason is that in many countries much or all of the 3.3 – 3.8 GHz band is already assigned to other services.
Whatever the motivation, we counted 27 countries with plans to award the band.
The band will likely be crucial for 5G in the US too. Sprint’s assets, set to become more clearly defined in an upcoming auction, are a major motivation for its merger with an insurgent T-Mobile.
Our 2.6 GHz band profile is available here to Spectrum Research Service subscribers.