Preliminary study of future assignment of frequencies for 5G deployment

2/19/2018

Through this preliminary study the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) is beginning its assignment work of wide frequency blocks for 5G in the 3.4– 3.8 GHz and 24.25–27.5 GHz bands. The goal is to make spectrum in these frequency bands available for 5G deployment as of 2020, thus allowing Sweden to complete the European Commission’s 5G Action Plan.

Abstract of preliminary study:

There are today well-agreed targets for the development of 5G in Europe at the political level. However, it is up to the regulatory authority in each country to determine the best way to support this target based on the specific conditions of each country and with regard to local demands.

This preliminary study is important for PTS in order to assess how to best facilitate the desired development in a manner that is adapted to the demand and conditions in Sweden. It is based on an assessment of the national situation as well as the demands and needs for frequencies for 5G in Sweden. The study takes into account the European 5G plans. The concept of 5G coverage, which is very important in this context, is also clarified from a Swedish perspective. Furthermore, the preliminary study takes into account current results of international standardization and harmonization work. In this regard it is important to note that it is unclear, at the time of writing, how much of the 24.25–27.5 GHz band that will be allocated for 5G, due to the major coexistence issues with Earth Exploration Satellite Service (EESS) below 26 GHz.

The preliminary study propose the following regarding each frequency band.

The 3.5–3.8 GHz band

In the 3.5–3.8 GHz band, block licences are proposed in two different types of areas:

1) Predefined geographical areas with high population density and / or high demand; and

2) Smaller geographical areas located outside the predefined areas.

The licensing of frequencies in the 3.5–3.8 GHz band in predefined geographical areas with high population density and / or high demand, is proposed to be done through a selection procedure at one and the same time, preferably in 2019. This is so, although, the date of access for different frequency blocks would differ. An access plan for the frequency band should be announced in good time before the award.

For smaller geographical areas, block licences are proposed to be granted without a selection procedure. PTS proposes that the granting of these licences should start in 2019.

If a license holder after some period of time, tentatively between five and eight years, does not use or does not plan to use frequencies granted as block licences in predefined geographic areas with high population density and / or demand, PTS proposes that other actors may apply for licences for smaller geographic areas within these areas.

The 3.4–3.5 GHz band

The block licences in the 3.4–3.5 GHz band are proposed to be granted without a selection procedure in smaller geographic areas across the country. Their assignment is due to start in 2019.

The 26.5–27.5 GHz band

The preliminary study suggests that only 26.5–27.5 GHz will be opened for assignment in 2019. The assignment of 24.25–26.5 GHz is proposed to take place at a later date, after the technical conditions for the 5G usage in the band are clarified.

The assignment of the 26.5–27.5 GHz frequency range is proposed to be done by granting block licences in smaller geographic areas without a selection procedure starting in 2019.

In order to ensure protection of the existing fixed radio use below 26.5 GHz, each new transmitter in the 26.5–27.5 GHz band should be coordinated by PTS prior to deployment. The terms of coordination should apply during the time that there is valid licence for fixed radio in the geographical area to which the local block licence applies.

Another option is not to start the active work of assigning the entire 24.25– 27.5 GHz band until the international work regarding technical conditions for 5G in this frequency band is completed, since the results of this work will have direct implications to the size of the frequency range available for 5G in 24.25– 27.5 GHz band.