European telcos seek more 5G-friendly terms for 26 GHz band

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Group and Telefonica are just a few entities that are concerned about where the 26 GHz band is currently headed in Europe.

In an open letter addressed to the European Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) and published by the GSMA, more than a dozen carriers and vendors are asking the ECC to take a friendlier approach to the 26 GHz band for 5G.

Signatories, including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung Networks and Huawei, note that the ECC is currently deliberating the use of the 26 GHz band for 5G, and a most recent draft proposes conditions that, if accepted, will severely constrain use of the band for 5G in Europe.

“These include restrictive emissions limits for mobile communications equipment, and other conditions that would constrain how 5G could be deployed in the 26 GHz band by licensees,” the letter said. “Such rules would prevent mobile operators from building the best possible 5G networks, and would de-incentivize the industry from building the types of dense networks that would enable the gigabit society.”

They added that in order to make 5G a success, the 26 GHz band should be as least restrictive as possible and flexible enough to create a ripe environment for growth and development.

They said the U.S. has taken a pragmatic approach to emission limits in the 28 GHz band, and Korea and Japan likewise, while other countries that are supporting the 26 GHz band, including the Middle East and China and other countries in APAC, are also favoring less restrictive conditions.

“Should Europe choose a more restrictive approach, as currently proposed, it will be placing itself at a significant disadvantage in the global 5G race and hamper its ability to compete effectively with other countries and regions," the letter said.

KPN, Orange, Telia, Turkcell, Hutchison Whampoa and EE Limited are also listed as signatories.

Among the millimeter bands in the U.S., the 28 and 39 GHz bands have been especially popular with carriers, but the FCC has put myriad bands into play. On Thursday, the commission will consider an item that would continue efforts to make available millimeter wave spectrum, in bands at or above 24 GHz, for 5G, IoT and other advanced spectrum-based services.

It will also consider seeking comment on making additional spectrum available in the 26 and 42 GHz bands for flexible terrestrial wireless use, sharing mechanisms in the lower 37 GHz band and earth station siting criteria for the 50 GHz band.

RELATED: Stratospheric-based services will help the U.S. win race to 5G: Elefante Group

Meanwhile, the Elefante Group on May 31 filed a petition for rulemaking that asks the FCC to establish a regulatory framework by which Stratospheric-Based Communications Services (SBCS) can gain access to the 22-23 and 26 GHz bands while operating compatibly with existing co-primary users. The group noted that the mobile industry has pressed for consideration of the 26 GHz band for commercial mobile operations.  

Elefante Group and Lockheed Martin said they’ve done an initial assessment of the prospects for sharing between SBCS and mobile operations and believe that IMT cannot share the spectrum without causing unacceptable interference or imposing unreasonable constraints on SBCS operations and, quite possibly, on federal incumbent band users. “Elefante Group and Lockheed Martin remain open to examine the feasibility of such sharing pursuant to advanced mitigation techniques, such as extremely high degree of dynamic coordination and information sharing,” the petition states.