New research note on 26 and 28 GHz bands

The 26 and 28 GHz bands are of great interest to policymakers. Spectrum in the bands has been awarded in many countries.

| Jonathan Watson

The recently updated PolicyTracker Benchmark shows that between January 2022 and April 2023, the number of countries that had assigned or were planning to assign spectrum in the 26 or 28 GHz bands grew from 46 to 66.

Of these countries, there seems to be most activity in Japan and South Korea. In Japan, the government believes mmWave bands are “essential” to handle future data growth, while in South Korea, the government has taken back 28 GHz spectrum from licensees who were slow to use it.

South Korea plans to re-award the spectrum soon with less onerous rollout obligations.

The other countries covered by the research note are Hong Kong, India, Italy and the US. In Hong Kong, licences have been awarded for spectrum in both bands. In India and Italy, licences have only been awarded for 26 GHz spectrum. In the US, Verizon has been using the 28 GHz band (and 39 GHz) for “5G Ultra Wideband”.

The key challenge, as Magnus Ewrbring of Ericsson has noted, is to get the ecosystem going in these bands. “Over one-third of Verizon Wireless subscribers in the US have mmWave-capable devices,” he told a conference earlier this year. “I think in Asia there is the momentum and possibility to drive the ecosystem even further.”

The research note on the 26 and 28 GHz bands is now available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers.

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