Wireless providers pan 5G as they fight for spectrum

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The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is denigrating the benefits of 5G as it lobbies to retain access to spectrum presently used for fixed broadband in rural areas.

In a statement issued following Vodafone’s announcement of plans to launch 5G services by year end, WISPA chairman Mike Smith said the advantages of 5G were “very much in the future,” while WISPs were “solving the connectivity issue for rural New Zealand here and now.”

According to Smith “It makes no sense to slow or reverse the progress made in connecting our major export sector, just so that some online games will work a nanosecond faster or city people can connect their home air conditioning to their car GPS.”

He said WISPA was seeking a clear assurance from broadcasting, communications and digital media. minister Kris Faafoi that no decision would be made to reallocate spectrum until the issues had been thoroughly aired in public.

In a blog post on its website, WISPA said around 70,000 businesses and homes receive broadband through Wireless internet service providers, or WISPs. This number is increasing daily, and there was “a real risk of the government reallocating some of the spectrum that WISPs are currently using efficiently for our rural customers, so the big mobile phone companies can use it for 5G.”

A specific concern for WISPs is retention of the general user radio licence (GURL), used by most of its members.

“We especially call on the government to make sure there is full, well-publicised consultation before any changes are made to the GURL regulations to fit a proposed 5G rollout – that is all frequencies from 0 – 300GHz,” WISPA said. It has produced a brochure to promote its case.

The initial band for 5G is expected to be 3.5GHz. Radio Spectrum Management’s consultation on technical arrangements of the 3.5GHz band closed on 29 July. Its discussion document said the plan was that the whole 3.5GHz band should be synchronised to a 5G-specific frame structure and timing requirement, and an enforcement mechanism for the implementation of this synchronisation solution had been proposed.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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