Licensed Mid-Band Spectrum Critical to 5G

Mid-band spectrum (1-6 GHz) is critical to 5G, as it provides both favorable propagation characteristics and wide channel bandwidth. Within the mid-band category, there are significant differences that determine how each specific band is deployed in wireless networks.

The higher mid-band (2-6 GHz) has large blocks of spectrum with wide channel sizes for super-fast 5G data speeds, but in-building penetration and propagation limitations restrict its broad-based deployment. Conversely, the lower mid-band’s (1-2 GHz) superior propagation characteristics and deployment flexibility provide far-reaching, economical 5G coverage.

New 5G technology solutions can combine these lower mid-band coverage benefits with higher mid-band deployments to deliver high-speed throughput over a broader coverage area. Other benefits of combined use of lower and higher mid-band spectrum include optimized latency and higher overall network capacity. Working together, the two spectrum categories will enable a cost-efficient, broad-based, and capacity-rich solution that supports the full suite of 5G services.

Working with industry-leading vendors, Ligado is demonstrating the usability and flexibility of its spectrum for 4G and 5G network deployments. In June 2020, 3GPP approved four work items for standardizing the Ligado spectrum for 4G, 5G-NR, 5G-NR Supplemental Uplink (SUL) and IoT in 2021. The four work items are:

  • LTE Band 24 modifications
  • Band 24 for 5G NR
  • Supplemental Uplink (SUL) band for 5G SUL operation
  • LTE-M and NB-IoT operations over modified LTE Band 24

3GPP standardization will spur the band’s incorporation into the ecosystem of chipset designers, device manufacturers, and equipment infrastructure providers, readying it for commercial deployment in next-generation networks.