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European Commission to harmonize 26 GHz band for 5G deployments

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a decision to harmonize the radio spectrum in the 26 GHz band across the European Union for the future use with 5G technology.

The decision finalizes the EU-wide coordination of all three pioneer bands (700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz) needed for 5G rollout in the member states.

Following this implementing decision, member states can set common technical conditions and subsequently allow the use of the 26 GHz band for 5G systems by December 31, 2020, in line with the European Electronic Communications Code.

The harmonization of the 26 GHz band across Europe must be completed in all member states by the end of March 2020, while effective use of at least 1 GHz of this band will follow by the end of 2020.

The harmonized technical conditions seek to ensure spectrum usage by multiple 5G networks, while mitigating interference risks and ensuring compatibility with incumbent radio services within the 26 GHz band and in adjacent bands, the European body said in a statement.

All member states can now authorize European 5G pioneer bands at the national level, under common technical conditions. The 26 GHz band will also be a key discussion at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-19) later this year and member states can take a common position based on EU-harmonized technical conditions.

“The 26 GHz frequency band offers the highest amount of spectrum and thus the largest capacity of all three ‘pioneer bands’, identified at the EU level for initial 5G deployment pursuant to the 5G Action Plan. Its harmonization therefore paves the way to a significant enhancement of available bandwidths to spectrum users enabling ultra-high wireless broadband speeds,” the EC said.

“With the rollout of 5G systems in the 26 GHz frequency band, Europe is set to move towards gigabit-speed wireless broadband, whereby new types of applications, such as connecting objects and devices, will be just one of the major innovations.”

The commission said that the first services that are likely to be deployed in the 26 GHz band will be Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) services for high capacity, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), high-definition video communications, virtual, augmented and mixed realities.

“The Commission’s implementing decisions for the harmonization of spectrum for wireless broadband electronic communications services are based on the principle of technology and service neutrality. Therefore, no exclusive use for 5G is mandated for the 26 GHz band. 5G will rely in its progressive deployment on the other two pioneer bands in the European Union (700 MHz and 3.6 GHz) until 2020 as well as on further spectrum – both in existing EU-harmonized bands below 6 GHz and new spectrum in the so-called millimeter-wave bands,” the commission said.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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