Boasting about validation of the industry’s first 5G carrier aggregation on 700 MHz and 4.9 GHz might not be the biggest humblebrag but remember who has access to this spectrum.
Most looking at this statement might find it slightly unusual. The 4.9 GHz spectrum is a band few around the world are looking at now or even considering in the foreseeable future. The US is, but that is of little use to state-owned vendor ZTE, but so are a few Chinese telcos.
Looking at the number of base stations which will be needed in China to ensure 5G works as intended, the estimates vary quite considerably. However, they are in the millions, an absurd amount of business should you be lucky enough to be selected as one of the vendors.
With this trial, perhaps ZTE has cast its gaze towards securing additional contracts with China Mobile and China Broadcasting Network, both of whom are trialling 5G in the 4.9 GHz spectrum band.
What ZTE is claiming today is to have validated 5G carrier aggregation on 700 MHz and 4.9 GHz spectrum bands. The team also happens to offer a 700 MHz + 4.9 GHz dual-band networking solution, to allow telcos to make better use of the 700 MHz spectrum licences for 5G connectivity.
In March, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) approved the release and refarming of certain spectrum bands.
|March release of spectrum licences in China|
|Operator||Spectrum band||Total allocation|
|China Mobile||2515 – 2675 MHz||160 MHz|
|4800 – 4900 MHz||100 MHz|
|China Telecom||3400 – 3500 MHz||100 MHz|
|China Unicom||3500 – 3600 MHz||100 MHz|
|China Broadcast Network||703 – 798 MHz||80 MHz|
Source: Light Reading
As it stands, only China Broadcast Network has access to the 700 MHz band, though it is in discussions with China Mobile regarding co-construction. China Mobile is also operating around the 4.9 GHz spectrum bands, so will be very interested in the trials being conducted by China Broadcast Network.
Alone, these two spectrum bands aren’t the greatest foundation for a China Broadcast Network assault on the 5G market. 4.9 GHz doesn’t offer the coverage and 700 MHz lacks the download speeds. But a carrier aggregation solution to marry the two is an interesting proposition.