The GSMA, a global telecommunications organisation, has alerted that regulators which set aside core 5G spectrum assets for private use by vertical industries risk slowing operator deployments, reducing coverage and hampering performance of the new technology across their countries.
A paper by the association, which outlined the mobile industry’s position on the use of 4G and 5G spectrum for vertical industries has observed that in the 5G era, regulators faced pressure for access to spectrum in key bands from a range of business sectors.
These assets, GSMA warned, would have wider consequences for national access, noting the situation would be “especially grave” in countries with a shortage of accessible mid-band spectrum.
Privately-licensed allocations, the association says, risk being underused and compromised fair spectrum allocation processes.
Instead, the GSMA urged authorities to allow mobile operators to meet the growing needs of industry.
“Mobile operators already support verticals and can deliver private networks with dedicated spectrum where needed.
“Regulators can also tailor their normal award approach to meet the needs of verticals without undermining 5G more widely,” it said.
GSMA cited a recent move in Finland, where authorities assigned the whole of the 3.5GHz band to mobile operators, with a regulatory framework in place providing the base for effective collaboration.
Other viable options highlighted include carefully planned spectrum-sharing policies for those wanting to build private networks, or spectrum leasing. It also cited the importance of using unlicensed spectrum for numerous verticals.
The process of allocating spectrum to industries varies from market to market. France, for example, is set to exclusively allocate to mobile operators, while German authorities were heavily criticised by incumbent Deutsche Telekom for creating an artificial shortage of 5G spectrum by reserving allocations for private business.
It is not clear yet what the attitude of the Nigerian regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would be towards spectrum allocation for 5G networks.
The NCC had set in motion the process of awarding spectrum for 5G networks, though the process may be slowed by a probe initiated by the Nigerian senate on fears that the new technology pose health challenges.
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