The shape of discussions on a possible future mid-band: 7/8 GHz
Jan 06, 2021 by Toby Youell


Bands6 GHz (2020)
LocationGlobal, US
Tags6 GHz, 7 GHz, 8 GHz, Department of Defense, United States, WRC-23

The FCC’s ongoing auction of the 3.7 – 3.98 GHz band, which has raised $78.5 billion and counting, appears to confirm mid-bands’ value for the mobile industry.

So what next for the mid-bands? Another high-profile band, 6 GHz, is the subject of a worldwide fight between advocates of mobile broadband and Wi-Fi. One of the venues for this discussion will be WRC-23, which will amend the international Radio Regulations.

That conference also contains a potential pathway for future mobile use of the adjacent 7/8 GHz bands. Negotiations on WRC-23’s agenda revealed significant support to study the band for mobile, although this support was not enough to secure an agenda item. A future agenda item might emerge as part of separate studies on the use of the 7125 – 8500 MHz for fixed wireless broadband.

Domestic discussions within the United States, however, are quite different.

In that context, industry is focussing on opening the band for commercial use. Beyond mobile, industry is also considering using the frequencies for fixed, fixed-wireless, or perhaps even low-power ultra-wideband applications. The Presidential Memorandum that mandated the still-pending Spectrum Strategy also identified future commercial use of the 7125 – 8400 MHz band. Whether and/or how it will made available, especially considering the Department of Defense’s current enthusiasm for Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, are open questions.

These discussions are set out in our new research note, Update on 7/8 GHz sharing.