In our previous blog, we talked about the dramatic opportunities in 5G that lie just over the horizon. 5G has captured the popular imagination, and with the first 5G iPhone handsets set to arrive later this year, the excitement is only expected to grow. MarketWatch predicts that the global IT infrastructure market will experience a CAGR of 50.51% between 2020 and 2025. But not all 5G technologies are alike, and it’s up to operators to make smart investments that they can deploy quickly and cost-effectively, so they can maximize ROI fast.
NSA 5G, in low/mid bands, delivers a strong balance of performance and range for dense urban areas, but it will require a significant investment to cover large areas. Given the expected investment costs, planning and placing new 5G sites accurately will be increasingly important. In many cases, it will be easiest for mobile operators to start by installing 5G on existing sites.
Getting a quick win. What is 5G Dynamic Spectrum Sharing?
Many operators are finding that Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in 5G (DSS) is an attractive technology that lets them take advantage of their existing infrastructure, without compromise performance of 4G customers. Part of 3GPP Release 15, it lets operators allocate portions of the 4G LTE spectrum that they are already using to 5G NR – this means that 4G LTE and 5G NR users can coexist in the same frequency band/channel at the same time. By simply performing a software upgrade, they can use existing RAN (as long as they are 5G capable) to deliver 5G services.
DSS is an elegant way to enable operators to bring new 5G users on board gradually, as more and more of their customers adopt the technology—while continuing to support legacy 4G customers. In the past, when operators wanted to upgrade to a new technology, they would have to do Spectrum Re-farming i.e. move old users off a part of the spectrum and reserve the block for new users—even if they were limited in number.
The 5G opportunity from DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing)
With Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in 5G, operators can deploy both 4G and 5G on the same block of spectrum, and dynamically allocate the right amount to different types of users based on demand. This lets them sidestep the issue of switching over LTE spectrum to 5G before it’s fully needed. Instead, they can scale their 5G capabilities as their adopters increase.
The flexibility of DSS is driving its popularity as a pragmatic solution for mobile operators. In April, Verizon announced plans to deploy the technology this year, and European operator Swisscom has also spotlighted DSS as a key part of its plan for nationwide 5G coverage. As 5G technology continues to mature in the marketplace, solutions like DSS can help operators take immediate advantage of lower 5G Infrastructure Cost, while buying some additional time to make new investments in infrastructure for the long term.
Our 5G experts will be on in hand at MWC2020 in Barcelona. Book a meeting to learn how Dynamic Spectrum Sharing can enhance your 5G business plan.