A lot of people think that 5G will have a marginal range because it only uses very high frequencies. But this is not true. The American branch of T-Mobile wants to launch a nationwide 5G network in 2020. Most coverage will be provided by base stations operating at low frequencies, i.e. in the 600 MHz band. The equipment that will enable this will be provided by Nokia.
Not so many operators have a comprehensive 5G network development strategy. Most telecoms are trying to launch new technology on frequencies that will provide ultra-fast data transfer. Of course, these are the aforementioned 3400 – 3800 MHz and 26 GHz bands. However, the use of such high frequencies also has drawbacks. The largest of them is a small range. Of course, base station manufacturers are already working on techniques that compensate for this inconvenience. The technique of forming antenna beams (beamforming) and architecture allowing for a denser arrangement of radio modules integrated with modern antennas will help. However, it will require installation of new equipment that is expensive. Therefore, the first high-speed 5G networks will be created only in large cities. And what about the less attractive (i.e. less profitable) areas for operators? Here, the rescue will be a 5G network operating at lower frequencies. For the American branch of T-Mobile it is a 600 MHz band.
5G on low frequencies will be more efficient than LTE
The new generation of mobile networks is not only faster Internet. 5G will also be used for the mass Internet of Things. What does it mean? Operators already use two IoT communication standards via the 4G network: LTE-M and NB-IoT. These two new technologies are used by sensors and other IoT devices that do not have much need for data transfer. However, there are many of them. How much? Imagine that in the future every electricity meter in your city will be equipped with an IoT module. In addition, sensors monitoring the level of air pollution will be deployed throughout entire urban agglomerations. These are just two of the many uses of the new technology. LTE networks may have problems handling very high number of IoT devices. That’s why operators are thinking about running 5G on low frequencies. It is true that they do not have too wide channels, but they are sufficient to handle IoT.