AGENCY – At the 3GPP RAN 96 plenary meeting held from June 6 to 9, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) completed the standardization work of the upper 6 GHz spectrum (U6G, 6425–7125 MHz) as an IMT licensed band for NR, numbered n104, as part of Release 17.
3GPP approved the RF specifications of this band for both network and user equipment, to provide a standard basis for the industry chain to develop products for this spectrum. At this meeting, a resolution was also introduced regarding the continuation of the on-going efforts to also specify the entire 6 GHz band (5925–7125 MHz) for IMT as part of Release 18. This marks a major milestone in making the entire 6 GHz band an IMT licensed band.
The mobile industry is the engine of digital transformation, fueled by mid-band spectrum such as 6 GHz. Mobile communications have become an important pillar for countries to implement their national growth strategies, and sustainable development of the mobile industry is key to national digital transformation.
The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) has been urging countries to release at least 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum by 2025 to 2030 to realize the vision for 5G data rates proposed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Ranging from 5925 MHz to 7125 MHz, the 6 GHz band is a crucial part of mid-band spectrum. Providing the advantages of low bands in coverage and high bands in capacity, it enables operators to provide ubiquitous 5G high-bandwidth services at a low per-bit cost, promoting continuous innovation of emerging 5G services and accelerating digital transformation in society.
Global efforts across the mobile industry accelerate the standardization process and ecosystem development of 6 GHz. Half a year after being initiated by the 3GPP at a RAN plenary meeting on December 17, 2021, the standardization of U6G as a new IMT licensed band was completed.
This is attributed to the joint efforts of global operators, equipment vendors, device and chipset vendors, and other industry partners. It also shows the mobile industry’s resolve to quickly promote U6G as an IMT licensed band. The RF specifications standardized for U6G will promote the industry chain to develop the mobile networks, devices, and ecosystem. Currently, field tests on 6 GHz IMT are well underway, paving the way to implement 6 GHz IMT’s pre-commercial deployment by 2025.
WRC-23 is a cannot-miss stage for 6 GHz to rise as a global IMT band. The next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) will be held in 2023, and provides a golden opportunity for governments to coordinate 6 GHz strategies and discuss how to develop the telecom ecosystem globally. The mobile industry has reached a primary consensus on how U6G will serve IMT.
At WRC-19, a resolution was made to designate AI 1.2 to U6G IMT in WRC-23. We are seeing more countries and regions recognize how important 6 GHz is in sustaining the mobile industry’s growth. We are confident more and more countries and regions will work together to promote U6G as a global IMT licensed band to accelerate digital transformation.