Ofcom starts process to lay ground rules for 5G
5G promises a lot namely that mobile broadband services may have 10 Gbps to 50 Gbps on the way within five to six years, or at least that is what the PR people would have us believe.
5G is set to be the big buzzword for a year or two and Ofcom is clearly onboard and as guardian of the spectrum has a responsibility to police how the spectrum is sliced up. While it is very early in the life of 5G, after previous 3G and 4G auctions we feel it is reasonable to presume an auction will be held eventually.
Seeking input and guidance on what operators might want from 5G is clearly important, but we are a bit worried about the way Ofcom is wording 5G communications, mainly that various monorail sales people may have been doing the rounds, i.e. promising way more than what is possible. The physics of the radio spectrum above 6GHz is such that almost any building material or body part will block the signal, meaning that 5G in that part of the spectrum will be more suited to HDMI cable replacement for in room communication.
5G is likely to use chunks of lower frequency spectrum to provide 50 to 100 Mbps type speeds when really mobile, with the Gigabit and faster speeds only kicking in when close to an advertising hoarding or in a stadium/public area which has been wired with the necessary advanced waveform antenna.
Update 2:30pm After input from Ofcom who have highlighted the early nature of this call for input from industry and also that Ofcom has not made the suggestion of any auction at this stage we have adjusted the wording of our second paragraph to make it clear any auction talk is our own opinion and based on how mobile spectrum has been handled in the past. The previous headline "Ofcom starts to eye up revenue from 5G auction" was also objected to by Ofcom has been reworded to a more neutral one.