The 5G spectrum coordination challenge seems bigger than ever for Russia’s neighbours
Feb 02, 2023 by Jonathan Watson


Spectrum decisions are national, but require coordination with neighbouring countries. All administrations have to make efforts to minimise potential interference between services.

This process, cross-border frequency coordination, is central to the World Radiocommunication Conference and the Radio Regulations.

But what do you do when you have a neighbour that is not interested in spectrum coordination or even appears actively hostile to it? This is the challenge faced by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Poland—six of the 14 states that share a border with Russia.

It’s a long-standing issue that has been made considerably worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The country is now widely regarded as a pariah state.

Russia’s 5G plans seem to be stuck between a government intent on using the 4.8—4.99 GHz band and an industry that would rather use 3.4—3.8 GHz and 700 MHz. This lack of clarity is a further complication for cross-border negotiations.

How do Russia’s neighbours value and sell 5G spectrum that may be unusable in certain parts of the country? For the most part, they are pressing ahead with their spectrum assignment plans.

A Research Note on the situation has just been added to our Spectrum Research Service. Subscribers to the Service can read it here.