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Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: the key to a quicker 5G rollout?

31 Jan 2020Innovation

Last month, Vodafone, in conjunction with Ericsson, Huawei and Qualcomm, achieved a significant 5G milestone that will help accelerate the deployment of the latest mobile standard worldwide. In our VIP lab in Düsseldorf, we demonstrated the world’s first 5G dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) on a combination of two low spectrum bands.

DSS allows network operators to deliver both 4G and 5G within the same spectrum, enabling a smooth transition between the two technologies and therefore a more cost-effective rollout. While the technology has already been demonstrated, the unique aspect of last month’s test was the simultaneous use of two low frequency bands (700MHz and 800MHz) on a 5G non-standalone device. 800MHz was used as the “anchor band” while 700MHz was shared dynamically between 4G and 5G, allowing operators to seamlessly allocate spectrum resources according to demands on the network. The test used equipment from Ericsson and Huawei, alongside Qualcomm’s X55 mobile test platform.

This is a world first in cellular radio. 2G, 3G and 4G standards were initially rolled out on dedicated blocks of spectrum, which meant that re-allocating for the next generation was an extremely slow – not to mention expensive – process. With dynamic spectrum sharing, this can be done overnight with a simple software upgrade.

For operators, this technology means they will be able to unleash the potential of 5G quicker, both for consumers and in industry, and ensure coverage over a wider area than ever before. It will also lay the foundations for the future technologies that will rely on 5G.

But how does DSS benefit for the end-user? Most importantly, it means better 5G coverage, with lower latency and higher quality (in addition to faster download speeds) for consumers sooner. DSS on low bands will also be significant in enabling low latency applications and deeper in-building coverage.

Dynamic spectrum sharing will no doubt play an integral role in ensuring a seamless global rollout of 5G and this test is a significant step towards offering this next-generation connectivity for all. Through industry collaboration such as these, we can make that leap sooner, revolutionising the lives of consumers and enabling business innovation across the globe.