The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoITT) has started a consultation process for suitable frequency bands for the upcoming 5G service in the country.
The ministry arranged an online discussion session in which officials of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Frequency Allocation Board (FAB), along with other stakeholders from the industry, were invited to have market reviews regarding the 5G launch and possible frequency bands for the service.
According to sources, the meeting discussed 6GHz and 3.5GHz bands for 5G service. Stakeholders were of the view that although 6GHz is suited to meet future 5G capacity needs, it is not favorable for the introduction of 5G in Pakistan. It is a much higher band, mostly suitable for wifi services.
The 3.5 GHz spectrum is suitable for the introduction of 5G because it is at a balancing point between coverage and capacity and it provides the perfect environment for the earliest 5G connectivity. Most of the Arab countries have also reserved a 3.5GHz spectrum for a 5G launch.
MoITT has identified several spectrum bands for 5G launch in the policy directives, which include phase-wise availability of at least 840 MHz (including the currently licensed spectrum), (B28/n28) 700 MHz, (B40/n40) 2.3 GHz, (B41/n41) 2.6 GHz, (B42-43, B52/n78) 3.5 GHz-3300 MHz-3415MHz.
According to policy guidelines, 3415–3600 MHz be made available after completion of re-farming and expiry of Wireless Local Loop (WLL) Licenses in 2024. Available spectrum in (B3/n3) 1800 MHz and (B1/n1) 2100 MHz will also be utilized for 5G launch. According to the ministry, mmWave bands (n257, n258, and n261, etc.) may be made available while its use shall be subject to market demand assessment.
According to the ministry, a discussion is an ongoing process that helps to understand global trends and market views. FAB will also be directed to make the maximum possible interference-free bandwidth available.