A new analysis of 5G across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has been published by industry association the GSMA. It has revealed wide disparities in 5G readiness across the region.
The report suggests that a planned approach to spectrum availability and management are key differentiators for the successful roll-out of high-speed 5G services between competing APAC economies, especially in 700MHz and mid-bands.
As the GSMA points out, the APAC region has been a leader in 5G deployment; Korea and Japan were among the first countries in the world to test and launch commercial networks. However, in other parts of APAC, 5G preparedness varies hugely and countries are faced with a number of issues, including a lack of spectrum availability, especially in the sub-1 GHz range, and cross-border coordination. In some cases, 5G spectrum is yet to be awarded.
Different demographics and economies across the diverse region mean that countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam will require enhanced or bespoke roadmaps. Meanwhile, India is moving ahead (as we have reported in these pages) with what is described as a robust consultation programme as it develops its plans for affordable connectivity.
The GSMA’s Roadmaps for Awarding 5G Spectrum in the APAC Region report outlines the necessary steps governments and regulators should take to enable efficient and effective availability of spectrum, including identification and clearance of spectrum; technology definitions and restrictions; spectrum valuation; and award design.
To reap the benefits of ultra-fast 5G networks, the report suggests, an average of 2GHz of mid-band spectrum alone is predicted to be required in the 2025-2030 timeframe, but in many cases, it adds, the current path to meeting such spectrum demand is unclear.