Podcast: Ofcom says sharing the upper 6 GHz band is a “win-win” solution

In the latest PolicyTracker podcast, the regulator explains its innovative approach for the band and the steps needed to enable it.

| Richard Haas

The 6 GHz band is one of the most controversial issues in spectrum management. At the heart of the issue is a disagreement about who needs it most. The mobile industry argues that it is essential for the band to be assigned to mobile operators, while the Wi-Fi industry says unlicensed access would be better.

Regulators are left with a difficult decision to make. The US is allocating the entire band for unlicensed use, while China has recently allocated it to mobile services.

In the UK, Ofcom wants to pioneer a sharing solution that would allow both mobile and Wi-Fi to use the band.

In the latest episode of the PolicyTracker Spectrum Policy Podcast, we speak to Cristina Data, Ofcom’s director of spectrum policy and analysis, about this innovative approach.

Data says she believes sharing solutions will generate the biggest benefits for citizens and consumers. Yet she acknowledges that Ofcom can’t solve this problem on its own and that the regulator will need industry buy-in before sharing becomes feasible.

Data says there is already an acknowledgement from industry that sharing is becoming more important. This is especially true now that there is less “greenfield” spectrum that can easily be reassigned to communications services. If adopted, she suggests the 6 GHz sharing model could be applied to other spectrum bands in the 7—24 GHz range. Various bands in this range are currently being considered for 6G.

You can listen to the new podcast below. It is also available on all major podcast platforms. If you are a PolicyTracker subscriber, you can read our full story on Ofcom’s initiative here.


  • Richard Womersley says:

    It sounds a lot like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut:

    *indoor outdoor split (20 dB loss is nowhere near sufficient to isolate the two), geographical sharing (aren’t the mobile priority areas the same as those where demand would also be the highest for WiFi?), and use of databases and sensing. Why not just limit both 5G and WiFi to the same technical parameters, regulatory rules and power levels and allow co-existence to be achieved using polite protocols?

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