Or will the fledgling regulatory regime be indefinitely grounded?
Wenshuan Dang, a senior network architect at Huawei, told a conference in Munich on February 10 that 5G could “enable LSA”.
But while 5G remains an intractable and largely theoretical concept, Licensed Shared Access (LSA) is a real existing regulatory framework that is now on the cusp of either widespread adoption or terminal obscurity.
Many spectrum managers reckon that the only way to avert the spectrum crunch is through some sort of spectrum sharing. Licensed Shared Access (or “Authorised Shared Access”) was first invented by Nokia and Qualcomm as a way for non-commercial entities to share their spectrum while retaining their control over it.
The EU’s Radio Spectrum Policy Group released an enthusiastic report on LSA in November and CEPT has just launched a consultation on the technical conditions for 2.3 GHz, a band widely tipped to be used to pioneer LSA in Europe.
However, LSA is by no means the only way to share spectrum. Microsoft is betting that in the future spectrum will be accessed dynamically and academics praise the success of the unlicensed free-for-all that is Wi-Fi. At the same time, ultra-wideband remains a cautionary tale for those who invest in spectrum sharing.
Another risk for LSA is an undercurrent of ambiguity about its effectiveness. The day after the conference, the GSM Association said spectrum sharing can only ever be complementary to exclusive spectrum licences.
The question remains: will the combined support of the next generation of technology, the European Commission, Nokia and Qualcomm be enough to push the fledgling regulatory regime to the forefront of spectrum management?