In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile, Spectrum

Though it has not be the case in the past, midband spectrum now seems to be emerging as a key underpinning for 5G services globally, and that might provide incentives for many parts of the U.S. ecosystem to agree on prioritizing new ways of using resources in the midband.

U.S. 5G spectrum has to focus on the sub-6-GHz ranges if U.S. mobile carriers are to take advantage of global supply chains organized around products for the sub-6-GHz spectrum, an advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Defense says.

The report, co-written by vice president of wireless at Google, Milo Medin, and tech venture capitalist Gilman Louie, makes the point that such a development hinges on use of spectrum sharing, as has been pioneered by Citizens Broadband Radio Service.  

The recommendations are sweeping, arguing that the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Defense “must flip their prioritization from mmWave to sub-6 GHz spectrum for 5G.”

That inevitably means “DoD must prepare itself for that future operating environment by focusing on co-existing, if not explicitly sharing, with civil 5G operations in those bands of spectrum.” That includes all assets in the spectrum ranges below 6 GHz, including about 500 MHz of spectrum used by DoD in the 4-GHz range already.

Focus should be on the 3.2-3.6 GHz and 4.8-5.0 GHz ranges.

The U.S. military, the authors note, will have to operate globally in sub-6-GHz spectrum internationally. So “DoD must prepare to operate in a sub-6 5G ecosystem, which will require a shift in strategy and a consideration of where DoD is willing to share bandwidth in the sub-6 realm.”

DoD must adopt a “zero-trust” network model, the study recommends. “Perimeter defense models have been proven to be ineffective, and 5G will only exacerbate this problem as more systems are linked into a common network.”

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