What Is The 5G Frequency Band And How To Allocate The Spectrum

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1.5G Frequency Bands

5th generation wireless systems, abbreviated 5G, are improved networks deploying in 2018 and later and may use existing 4G or newly specified 5G Frequency Bands to operate. The primary technologies include: Millimeter wave bands (26, 28, 38, and 60 GHz) are 5G and offer performance as high as 20 gigabits per second; Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output – 64-256 antennas) offers performance “up to ten times current 4G networks;” “Low-band 5G” and “Mid-band 5G” use frequencies from 600 MHz to 6 GHz, especially 3.5-4.2 GHz.

The 3GPP Release 15 of December, 2017 is the most common definition. Some prefer the more rigorous ITU IMT-2020 definition, which only includes the high-frequency bands for much higher speeds.

Figure 1. Expected 5G Frequency Band Usage: Reproduced courtesy OFCOM

2.5G Frequency bands and channel bandwidths

From 3GPP TS 38.101-1, the following table lists the specified frequency bands of 5G NR and the channel bandwidths each band supports. Superseded bands are indicated by a grey background.

Table 1. Frequency Range 1

Band Duplex mode ƒ (MHz) Common name Subset of band Uplink (MHz) Downlink (MHz) Duplex spacing (MHz) Channel bandwidths (MHz)
n1 FDD 2100 IMT n65 1920– 1980 2110– 2170 190 5, 10, 15, 20
n2 FDD 1900 PCS n25 1850– 1910 1930 – 1990 80 5, 10, 15, 20
n3 FDD 1800 DCS 1710 – 1785 1805 – 1880 95 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30
n5 FDD 850 CLR 824 – 849 869 – 894 45 5, 10, 15, 20
n7 FDD 2600 IMT-E 2500 – 2570 2620 – 2690 120 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50
n8 FDD 900 Extended GSM 880 – 915 925 – 960 45 5, 10, 15, 20
n12 FDD 700 Lower SMH 699 – 716 729 – 746 30 5, 10, 15
n14 FDD 700 Upper SMH 788 – 798 758 – 768 −30 5, 10
n18 FDD 850 Lower 800 (Japan) 815 – 830 860 – 875 45 5, 10, 15
n20 FDD 800 Digital Dividend (EU) 832 – 862 791 – 821 −41 5, 10, 15, 20
n25 FDD 1900 Extended PCS 1850 – 1915 1930 – 1995 80 5, 10, 15, 20
n29 SDL 700 Lower SMH N/A 717 – 728 N/A 5, 10
n30 FDD 2300 WCS 2305 – 2315 2350 – 2360 45 5, 10
n34 TDD 2100 IMT 2010 – 2025 N/A 5, 10, 15
n38 TDD 2600 IMT-E 2570 – 2620 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n39 TDD 1900 DCS-IMT Gap 1880 – 1920 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40
n40 TDD 2300 S-Band 2300 – 2400 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80
n41 TDD 2500 BRS n90 2496 – 2690 N/A 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100
n48 TDD 3500 CBRS (US) 3550 – 3700 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 40, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100
n50 TDD 1500 L-Band 1432 – 1517 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80
n51 TDD 1500 L-Band Extension 1427 – 1432 N/A 5
n65 FDD 2100 Extended IMT 1920 – 2010 2110 – 2200 190 5, 10, 15, 20
n66 FDD 1700 Extended AWS 1710 – 1780 2110 – 2200 400 5, 10, 15, 20, 40
n70 FDD 2000 AWS-4 1695 – 1710 1995 – 2020 300 5, 10, 15, 20, 25
n71 FDD 600 Digital Dividend (US) 663 – 698 617 – 652 −46 5, 10, 15, 20
n74 FDD 1500 Lower L-Band (Japan) 1427 – 1470 1475 – 1518 48 5, 10, 15, 20
n75 SDL 1500 L-Band N/A 1432 – 1517 N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n76 SDL 1500 Extended L-Band N/A 1427 – 1432 N/A 5
n77 TDD 3700 C-Band 3300 – 4200 N/A 10, 15, 20, 40, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100
n78 TDD 3500 C-Band n77 3300 – 3800 N/A 10, 15, 20, 40, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100
n79 TDD 4700 C-Band 4400 – 5000 N/A 40, 50, 60, 80, 100  

 

 

n80 SUL 1800 DCS 1710 – 1785 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30
n81 SUL 900 Extended GSM 880 – 915 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n82 SUL 800 Digital Dividend (EU) 832 – 862 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n83 SUL 700 APT 703 – 748 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n84 SUL 2100 IMT 1920 – 1980 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n86 SUL 1700 Extended AWS 1710 – 1780 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20, 40
n89 SUL 850 CLR 824 – 849 N/A N/A 5, 10, 15, 20
n90 TDD 2500 BRS 2496 – 2690 N/A 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 90, 100

Table 2. Frequency Range 2

Band ƒ (GHz) Common name Subset of band Uplink / Downlink (GHz) Channel bandwidths (MHz)
n257 28 LMDS 26.50 – 29.50 50, 100, 200, 400
258 26 K-band 24.25 – 27.50 50, 100, 200, 400
n260 39 Ka-band 37.00 – 40.00 50, 100, 200, 400
n261 28 Ka-band n257 27.50 – 28.35 50, 100, 200, 400

3.Other Considerations for 5G Frequency Bands

These bands are usually available and can be quickly cleared for 5G use.

Table 3. High 5G Frequency Bands

Geographical Area 5G Frequency Band
Europe 3400 – 3800 MHz (awarding trial licenses)
China 3300 – 3600 MHz (ongoing trial)
China 4400 – 4500 MHz
China 4800 – 4990 MHz
Japan 3600 – 4200 MHz
Japan 4400 – 4900 MHz
Korea 3400 – 3700 MHz
USA 3100 – 3550 MHz
USA 3700 – 4200 MHz

4.Very High 5G Frequency Bands (MMW)

These bands will allow the deployment of hotspots providing very high throughput thanks to the large bandwidth available for operators:

Table 4. Very High 5G Frequency Bands (MMW)

Geographical Area 5G Frequency Band
Europe 24.25 – 27.5 GHz for commercial deployments from 2020
China Focusing on 24.25 – 27.5 GHz and 37 – 43.5 GHz studies
Japan 27.5 – 28.28 GHz trials planned from 2017 and potentially commercial deployments in 2020
Korea 26.5 – 29.5 GHz trials in 2018 and commercial deployments in 2019
USA 27.5 – 28.35 GHz and 37 – 40 GHz pre-commercial deployments in 2018

5.Lower 5G Frequency Bands (future considerations)

The bands 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.5 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz are considered for traditional coverage applications and new specific usages such as Internet of Things (IoT), Industry Automation, and Business Critical use cases.  However “refarming” will be required for most of these bands, hence the time required to have them allocated to 5G will be much longer than the higher bands.

If you have different opinions on 5G Frequency Bands And Spectrum Allocations, please leave your comments.

Learn More:

What is the Difference Between 5G NR and 4G LTE?

5G NR and List of 5G NR networks

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