One of the objectives of 5G requires a massive use of frequency bands to allow both flexibility of use cases and large chunks of bandwidth allocated for very high throughput. Here is a summary of what frequency bands are considered so far for 5G.

Types of Bands

5G will work from the “usual” lower frequency bands up to very high frequencies where large chunks of bandwidth are available to allow very high throughput scenarios. This is really what makes it different from 4G/LTE:

  • Low Band (Sub 1 GHz) – Coverage Layer
  • High Bands (1 GHz to 6 GHz) – Capacity Layer
  • Very High Bands (Above 6 GHz and mmWave) – High Throughput Hotspots
5G Frequency Bands (credits: Ofcom/UK)

5G Frequency Bands (credits: Ofcom/UK)

Band Licensing per geographical area

Below is how the frequency bands are being organized for 5G per geographical area and the current progress of the allocation:

High 5G Frequency Bands

These bands are usually available and can be quickly cleared for 5G use.

Geographical Area 5G Frequency Band
Europe 3400 – 3800 MHz (awarding trial licenses)
China 3300 – 3600 MHz (ongoing trial)
China 4400 – 4500 MHz
China 4800 – 4990 MHz
Japan 3600 – 4200 MHz
Japan 4400 – 4900 MHz
Korea 3400 – 3700 MHz
USA 3100 – 3550 MHz
USA 3700 – 4200 MHz
Very High 5G Frequency Bands

These bands will allow the deployment of hotspots providing very high throughput thanks to the large bandwidth available for operators:

Geographical Area 5G Frequency Band
Europe 24.25 – 27.5 GHz for commercial deployments from 2020
China Focusing on 24.25 – 27.5 GHz and 37 – 43.5 GHz studies
Japan 27.5 – 28.28 GHz trials planned from 2017 and potentially commercial deployments in 2020
Korea 26.5 – 29.5 GHz trials in 2018 and commercial deployments in 2019
USA 27.5 – 28.35 GHz and 37 – 40 GHz pre-commercial deployments in 2018
Lower 5G Frequency Bands (future considerations)

Bands 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.5 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz are considered for traditional coverage applications and new specific usages such as Internet of Things (IoT), Industry Automation, and Business Critical use cases.

But refarming will be required for most of these bands, hence the time required to have them allocated to 5G will be much longer than the higher bands.

Sources:

http://www.gsma.com/spectrum/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GSMA-5G-Spectrum-PPP.pdf

5G Spectrum Bands


https://5g.co.uk/guides/5g-frequencies-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know/
http://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/6749-wrc-2015-and-the-impossible-task-of-achieving-a-delicate-balance