ABI research thinks 5G is all at C

According to new findings from ABI Research, while the use of mmWave is one of the most distinguishing features of 5G, in the near term the C-Band is emerging with the most global consensus for the timely launch of commercial 5G network in 2019.

According to ABI Research's "Analysis of 5G Spectrum" report many of the lab and field 5G trials conducted by industry participants have focused on higher frequencies, but based on the recent regulatory announcements by about 20 countries, the C-band is the most common spectrum range identified for 5G.

ABI Research Senior Analyst Prayerna Raina said:

"In the long-term the whole breadth of the sub-1GHz to 100GHz spectrum range will be critical to address the various use cases and meet enhanced speeds, latency, reliability, and other 5G metrics in different usage scenarios. In the near-term, however, use millimeter wave for 5G services in 2019-2020 is limited due to technology challenges and global spectrum availability."

Since current cellular communication takes place below 6GHz, the use of higher frequency ranges for mobile broadband is unfamiliar territory for mobile operators. Key 5G antenna and base station technologies such as MIMO are currently deployed in the sub-6GHz range on a low order of 4 to 16 antenna elements in most cases. At higher mmWave frequencies, massive MIMO antennas are likely to feature hundreds of antenna elements, which brings its own set of challenges.