A new analysis of 5G across the Asia Pacific (APAC), published by the GSMA, has revealed wide disparities in 5G readiness across the region. The report found that a planned approach to spectrum availability and management are key differentiators for the successful roll-out of high-speed 5G services between competing APAC economies, especially in 700MHz and mid-bands.
The GSMA’s ‘Roadmaps for awarding 5G spectrum in the APAC Region’ provides market analysis and a guide for 5G development in countries across the Asia Pacific. It outlines the steps governments and regulators should take to enable efficient and effective availability of spectrum.
To reap the benefits of ultra-fast 5G networks, an average of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum alone is predicted to be required in the 2025-2030 timeframe, but in many cases, the current path to meeting such spectrum demand is unclear.
The APAC region has been a leader in 5G deployment; Korea and Japan were among the first in the world to test and launch commercial networks. However, in other parts of APAC, 5G preparedness varies hugely and countries are faced with a number of issues including a lack of spectrum availability, especially in the sub-1 GHz range, and cross-border coordination. In some cases, 5G spectrum is yet to be awarded.
Different demographics and economies across the diverse region mean that countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam will require enhanced or bespoke roadmaps. Meanwhile, India is moving ahead with a robust consultation programme as it develops its plans for affordable connectivity.
“The most successful countries are those with a defined plan for 5G deployment. Across APAC, we see a wide disparity in countries’ readiness for 5G, and the key differentiator is spectrum management. This report will help governments and regulators in countries across the Asia Pacific to enable 5G in the most efficient way possible,” said the GSMA’s Head of Spectrum, Luciana Camargos.
5G roadmap recommendations
5G roadmaps outline the necessary steps, including identification and clearance of spectrum; technology definitions and restrictions; spectrum valuation (an important roadmap element), and award design.