5G is not only a telecom standard: it is also a challenge for the competitiveness of companies in a globalized environment. Thus, a company operating in a country that has not deployed 5G will be less efficient than its foreign competitors. In each country, the race to deploy 5G networks is now on.
Unfortunately for them, the United States is leaving with a serious handicap in this race for competitiveness. Indeed, the frequency band selected for 5G is already used by the military in the United States. Impossible to change all military equipment… and impossible to use 5G in another frequency band without benefiting from the scale effect of global innovations.
By adopting the SAS (Spectrum Access Sharing) solution, the American administration has turned a weakness into a strength. Thanks to this solution, operators and the military can use the 5G frequency band without making any modifications to their respective equipment. In addition, the radio spectrum can be optimized between operators according to each other’s needs, allowing more telecom and data traffic with the same radio resource.
In order to strengthen the country’s competitiveness, the FCC (American telecom regulator) has also authorized the use of a frequency band that is currently free (CBRS: Citizen Band Radio Service). This will allow, thanks to SAS, the use of this radio band by several private operators (new entrants) in any standard (5G or other).
Faced with this American offensive, will Europe lose the connectivity competition? In fact, a radio spectrum sharing solution also exists in Europe and is standardized (LSA: License Spectrum Sharing). But despite the respective national interests, the incumbent operators have absolutely no interest in deploying such solutions, otherwise the competition would be able to establish itself on a long-term basis.
No one is a prophet in his country and after several months of testing, the SAS solution developed by the Paris-based company Red Technologies has just been approved by the FCC. This solution will be marketed on the American territory by Amdocs, its American partner. The first sales are expected in the second quarter of 2020.