Powered Evolution to 5G
5G-The compelling case to adopt and/or transition to LTE Band 41 in the 2.6 GHz spectrum band in Asia and globally.
Key reasons to adopt LTE Band 41
Adopting TDD for the entire 2.6 GHz band has a range of significant benefits inter alia:
- The shift from FDD to TDD technologies will enable better matching of current upload and download use patterns which are likely to become more asymmetric over time. Optimising frequency spectrum for use has significant economic benefits;
- TDD supports the use of new techniques such as massive MIMO technologies which offer around five times better spectrum utilisation. Spectral efficiency should be at the core of spectrum management decisions by Governments and regulators in relation to IMT spectrum;
- Elimination of the need for 10 MHz of spectrum to be used as guard bands in the band. This is not insignificant (approximately 5 percent of the band) in the context of ongoing IMT spectrum scarcity especially in spectrum below 3 GHz;
The LTE Band 41 network deployment will result in lower per MB/GB costs for MNOs and hence makes compelling commercial sense for MNOs in the context of relatively low Asian monthly ARPUs. Such lower costs will allow more affordable retail tariffs which is a regional Government policy objective;
- As historically unpaired/TDD spectrum has been priced below paired FDD spectrum on a per MHz basis in spectrum auctions, there are likely to be benefits for industry for the adoption of LTE Band 41. There are also benefits for regulators and Government in allocating/auctioning a homogenous block of 190 MHz spectrum rather than attempting to sell hybrid spectrum allocations. Importantly, larger block sizes of up to 100 MHz would improve integrated 4G+5G investment efficiency (by allowing say 40 MHz to be allocated for TDD LTE and 60 MHz for 5G) and this fact should be considered by regulators in their allocation decisions;
- The allocation or spectrum auction of a single 190 MHz TDD block strongly supports sector competition by enabling the allocation of efficiently sized blocks to around 3 to 5 MNOs (for example, three lots at 50 MHz and one lot at 40 MHz or three allocations of 40 MHz to the MNOs in a market plus 70 MHz which can be contested in any auction). Such lot sizes, while not optimal (100 MHz is optimal in the 5G context), are more than sufficient to provide future 5G services in this band; and
- TDD configuration of the 2.6 GHz band enables transition to 5G at lower capital cost and therefore enables more Asian and global consumers to participate in the upcoming 5G revolution. They can also participate sooner. In markets where the first 5G spectrum band – the 3.5 GHz spectrum band – is not available in the near term because it is currently allocated to satellite services and cannot be shared, the 2.6 GHz band is an alternative 5G band.