mmWave Bands – Global Licensing and Usage for 5G
This report provides a snapshot of the global usage of spectrum above 24 GHz for 5G services. It is part of a series of reports which separately also cover spectrum bands below 1 GHz and between 1 GHz and 6 GHz.
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· ninety-seven operators in 17 countries/territories hold public licences (many of them regional) enabling operation of 5G networks using mmWave spectrum.
· twenty-two operators are known to be already deploying 5G networks using mmWave spectrum.
· thirteen countries/territories have announced formal (date-specified) plans for assigning frequencies above 24 GHz between now and end-2021.
· eighty-four announced 5G devices explicitly support one or more of the 5G spectrum bands above 24 GHz (though note that details of spectrum support are patchy for pre-commercial devices), up from 59 at the end of November 2019. Twenty-seven of those devices are understood to be commercially available.
 Although not technically correct, GSA uses the widely adopted term “mmWave” for frequencies above 24 GHz
5G deployments in mmWave bands
mmWave spectrum bands are being explicitly opened up to enable provision of 5G services.
The 24.25–29.5 GHz range covering the overlapping bands n257 (26.5–29.5 GHz), n258 (24.25–27.5 GHz) and n261 (27.5–28.35 GHz) has been the most-licensed/deployed 5G mmWave spectrum range to date.
· One hundred and twenty-three operators in 42 countries/territories are investing in 5G (in the form of trials, licences, deployments or operational networks) across the 24.25-29.5 GHz spectrum range.
· Seventy-nine operators are known to have been licensed to deploy 5G in this range.
· Twenty-one operators are understood to be actively deploying 5G networks using this spectrum.
Band n260, covering 37–40 GHz, is also used, with 33 companies in six countries/territories investing in networks using this spectrum. Of those, 32 hold licences (with the majority of those 32 based in the USA and its territories). Three operators in the USA have launched 5G using band n260.
Awards and assignments for mmWave spectrum (2015 onwards)
Table 2 lists the recent (post-2017) auctions/assignments of mmWave spectrum designed for 5G usage that have taken place. In addition to usage for 5G, mmWave spectrum has also historically been awarded for fixed point-to-point, point to multipoint and some FWA/MMDS usage; those historic assignments are not listed here.
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