Discussion Papers

No. 452: Spectrum Management: Spectrum policy to enable 5G campus networks in selected countries (December 2019)

Authors: Bernd Sörries, Lorenz Nett

(full version only available in German)


The new 5G mobile communications standard opens up new applications beyond voice telephony and mobile broadband compared to previous mobile communications technologies. Due to the technical features and functional characteristics of the new wireless technology and system architecture, it is presumed that 5G can be used in particular for business purposes in the areas of intelligent mobility, industry 4.0, intelligent supply networks, logistics, e-health or agriculture. The economic potential of the new standard is also seen here. In addition to offering telecommunication services based on 5G over a wide area, commercial users of so-called „campus networks" are expecting special significance in the digitization of value-added processes. 5G campus networks are discussed in a broader public, particularly in the context of industry 4.0 applications. Frequency assignments of the frequencies relevant for 5G are underway on the part of the frequency management authorities, mainly auctions in which national frequency usage rights are awarded. However, some frequency management authorities are specifically promoting the possibility of setting up independent, locally dedicated 5G networks, which are then referred to as 5G campus networks. For example, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK allocate spectrum rights locally. This allows companies to acquire frequency usage rights for use on their premises and to build and operate their own 5G campus networks with their own exclusive frequency usage rights as required. This could represent a paradigm shift in spectrum policy with the result that new suppliers and customers enter the mobile communications markets, which have so far been characterized by national applications.

The aim of this document is to present the frequency management policy of the national frequency management authorities in Europe, China, South Korea and the United States of America, aimed at enabling and promoting local dedicated private 5G networks. This information was primarily obtained through a survey of the frequency management authorities by the Federal Network Agency in cooperation with WIK.

It is evident that spectrum management in Europe is increasingly geared towards enabling companies and institutions to build 5G campus networks locally with their own spectrum usage rights. As pioneers in Europe, Germany and the United Kingdom are providing exclusive frequency usage rights locally for this purpose. The Federal Network Agency 100 MHz in the 3.6 GHz range, Ofcom in various frequency ranges (1,781.7 - 1,785 MHz paired with 1,876.7 - 1,880 MHz "the shared 1800 MHz spectrum", 2,390 - 2,400 MHz, 3.8 - 4.2 GHz and 24.25 - 26.5 GHz (indoor). Ofcom thus enables companies to use what they consider to be an optimal frequency portfolio from various frequency bands. Other frequency management authorities are still in the decision-making process.

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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