T-Mobile has recently requested the Federal Communications Commission to set aside 36GHz of spectrum in the 95GHz to the 275GHz frequency range for use as backhaul for 5G networks. The network operator claims in its recent filing to the FCC that setting aside the necessary spectrum for 5G backhaul will help the United States maintain its leadership in wireless technologies, which in turn, could help create jobs and generate income for the country. A recent study claimed that losing the leadership position in wireless technology could result in job losses in the carrier industry, and it could also negatively impact other industries like mobile applications.
The carrier noted that the frequencies above 95GHz are suitable as backhaul for 5G networks due to a couple of reasons. One of the key advantages of the spectrum is its ability to support bandwidths of up to 5GHz. Wider bandwidths are capable of delivering higher data speeds, allowing the carrier to use this frequency as backhaul in locations where it is not feasible to connect base stations or small cells with fiber optic lines. Furthermore, the ability to support higher data speeds is important, as the carrier estimates that subscribers in the United States will consume, on average, around 22GB of data per month by 2022. In addition, the frequency can be transmitted over short ranges and it also supports narrow beamwidths. Both of these factors reduce interference, allowing the frequency to be repeatedly used within the same area as backhaul for the cell sites. T-Mobile also stated that the carrier should consider the potential of the spectrum above 95GHz for a possible mobile service in the future.
In order to fully utilize the spectrum above 95GHz as backhaul for 5G, the network operator has also requested the regulator to modify antenna standards for the frequency. Among the proposed changes include increasing the maximum gain of the antennas. The modifications that T-Mobile proposes will allow the carrier to satisfy the aesthetic requirements imposed by municipalities in the deployment of small cells for 4G LTE and 5G networks and it will also enable the network operator to utilize the spectrum for mobile service once the necessary technology and equipment are available.