Europe to harmonize spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band for future 5G services

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The EC announced it will harmonize spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band for the future deployment of 5G technology. In a statement, the EC said the harmonization process of this spectrum band will enable member states to use this spectrum for 5G by the end of 2020, adhering to rules set out in the EU’s new Electronic Communications Code, which was cleared in December 2018.

“This band has been harmonized for wireless broadband services in the European Union since 2008. However, its use has been low and only a limited number of licenses had been issued. This amendment of the decision updates the technical conditions to make them 5G-ready as the 3.6 GHz band has been identified as the primary pioneer band for 5G in the European Union,” the EC said in a statement.

The body added that the 3.6 GHz band has no exclusive mandate to be used for 5G, and highlighted that the decision to harmonize the band was based on the principle of technology and service neutrality.“5G will rely in its progressive deployment on the other two pioneer bands in the European Union (700 MHz and 26 GHz) until 2020 as well as on further spectrum – both in existing EU-harmonised bands below 6 GHz and new spectrum in the so-called mm-wave bands,” EC’s statement added.The EC said it decided to harmonize the band for 5G technology after receiving positive feedback from member states that are part of its Radio Spectrum Committee.

Once the Electronic Communications Code comes into force, “radio spectrum will be assigned and coordinated even better at EU level than at the moment so that Europe can become a leader in the rollout of 5G networks”, the EC said.This announced spectrum harmonization process is expected to be complemented by similar harmonization initiatives in the 26GHz and 700MHz bands, which are ongoing, the body added.The European Commission’s action plan, announced in September 2016 and confirmed by the EU member states in December 2017, targets the commercial rollout of 5G in one major city in every member state by 2020, as well as coverage of the main urban areas and transport routes by 2025.

In addition, 35 “5G cities” have been identified across 14 countries and are set to receive 5G coverage by 2020.Some of these cities where 5G services will be tested include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bari, Berlin, Bristol, Espoo, Ghent L’Aquila, London, Lyon, Madrid, Malaga, Marseille, Matera, Milan, Oulu, Paris, Patras, Prato, Stockholm, Tallinn and Turin.