The Polish Chamber of Information Technologies and Telecommunications has published its position on the distribution of frequencies for the 5G network. In practice, it changes the previous declarations of Polish operators. Based on this, the preferred solution is to separate 4 blocks in the range of 3.4 – 3.8 GHz, each with 100 MHz.
Less than two months ago, the Electronic Communications Authority published comments from Polish operators on frequency distribution plans in the 3400 – 3800 MHz range. The UKE president initially proposed two possible scenarios: 4 × 50 MHz and 4 × 80 MHz. Both solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. However, from the operators’ point of view, the most important thing is to analyze the potential problems related to migration until the final solution. This is, of course, the distribution of 4 blocks of 100 MHz each.
Already, all operators have stated that UKE should target the entire 3400 – 3800 MHz band for the needs of the 5G network. We would also benefit from this, as 5G blocks will allow Polish networks to achieve maximum efficiency. Therefore, the Polish Chamber of Information Technologies and Telecommunications, representing the interests of all Polish operators, requests that the adoption scenario of the 4,100 MHz block be considered.
UKE does not want to cancel current bookings for frequencies in the C band
Frequencies from 3400 MHz to 3800 MHz are often referred to as the C-band. They are currently used by some local operators and local governments. Most WiMAX-based systems are used here. Therefore, the Electronic Communications Department assumed that it would not cancel current reservations, but would only wait for them to expire. In practice, this means that the UKE president will not expand existing reservations in the 3.7 GHz band. They will also be the first to be allocated for the construction of a 5G network. However, none of the proposed scenarios is perfect. The 4 × 50 MHz variant is associated with a slower performance of the 5G network and subsequent switching (ie changing the backup frequencies).
In turn, the 4 × 80 MHz option means that initially only two operators will have frequencies that can be used throughout the country. The President of UKE would also like to see the 3400 – 3480 MHz band allocated to local needs when choosing this option. This means that Polish 5G networks will never reach the maximum data download speed provided by 100 MHz blocks.
Problem range 3400 – 3800 MHz
Hardly anyone understands that 3GPP has defined two separate bands in the C band:
- B42: From 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz,
- B43: 3600 MHz – 3800 MHz.
According to PIIT, telecommunications equipment manufacturers primarily produce devices that operate in one of these ranges. Therefore, operators who purchase radio modules and antennas adapted to a certain range will face the problem of switching to other frequencies. Of course, this will cover additional costs, and we, the customers of the operators, will already bear it in the end. For you, this also means a reduction in budget revenues, as the cost of replacing equipment will, of course, reduce the cost of individual frequency blocks.
The Polish Chamber of Information Technologies and Telecommunications also has a proposal to solve the problem of lack of the entire 3400 – 3800 MHz band. PIIT believes that a better solution than the options proposed by UKE would be to allocate problem frequencies, provided that their use will be limited in some areas. Such restrictions have already been used in the distribution of the 800 MHz band.
Block width and 5G network performance
Base station manufacturers have developed several solutions that will facilitate the establishment of a 5G network for operators who have problems with the allocation of broadband blocks. However, blocks with a width of 100 MHz each will allow you to achieve the maximum data download speed. In all other cases, it will be slower. How much?
The 5G NR (New Radio) system provides the following number of PRB sub-blocks.
This means that the 50 MHz and 80 MHz blocks offer 48% and 79% of the 100 MHz block capacity, respectively. It is also important to note that the combination of two blocks, each with 50 MHz (called aggregation within the range), yields a total of 266 PRBs, which is 97% of the capacity compared to a conventional 100 MHz block.
PIIT also refers to estimates that in large urban environments, operators with 60 MHz blocks will have to install 64% more base stations than those with 100 MHz blocks. The same goes for the 80 and 50 MHz blocks.
Therefore, the distribution of 100 MHz blocks would allow operators not only to build faster 5G networks, but also to plan the optimal distribution network for new transmitters.