Home > Glossary > Spectrum bands

Spectrum bands

Spectrum bands refer to the range of frequencies that are used for communication purposes, such as for radio, television, and mobile phone networks. These frequencies are typically divided into a number of bands, each of which is assigned to a specific use.

What are the different bands in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum and their uses?

The radio frequency (RF) spectrum encompasses a range of bands that serve various communication purposes. It includes bands such as low frequency (LF), medium frequency (MF), and high frequency (HF).

  • Each band is designated for specific forms of communication, such as AM and FM radio, shortwave radio, and satellite communication. These bands operate at different frequencies and enable the transmission of signals over varying distances and propagation characteristics.
  • The LF band, for instance, is commonly used for long-range radio broadcasting, while the HF band is utilized for international shortwave communication.

Apart from traditional radio communication, the RF spectrum plays a crucial role in several other applications.

  • Television signals, mobile phone networks, and wireless networking heavily rely on specific frequency bands within the RF spectrum.
  • For instance, the very high frequency (VHF) band is commonly allocated for terrestrial television broadcasting, while the ultra high frequency (UHF) band is widely used for mobile phone networks and wireless communication systems. These bands offer efficient transmission and reception capabilities for the respective applications, ensuring seamless connectivity and reliable communication.
  • In addition to the RF spectrum, other spectrum bands are employed for specific purposes. The infrared spectrum, for example, is utilized in remote control devices, enabling wireless operation of various electronic appliances.
  • On the other hand, the visible light spectrum is employed in fiber optic communication, where light signals are used to transmit data over optical cables. This technology provides high-speed and secure communication for long-distance networks.

By utilizing specific spectrum bands, these applications optimize their performance and ensure efficient and reliable communication.

Overall, spectrum bands serve as a critical resource for diverse communication needs. The allocation and utilization of these bands are carefully regulated by government agencies worldwide to avoid interference and ensure efficient use of the limited available spectrum.

By understanding the various bands within the RF spectrum and their applications, it becomes possible to optimize communication systems and provide reliable connectivity for a wide range of services.

5G Bands and availability of Private 5G around the world:

5G, the fifth generation of wireless technology, operates on various frequency bands that determine its coverage, capacity, and speed. The frequency bands used for 5G deployment can vary across different countries and regions. Here are some commonly used 5G bands:

  • Sub-6 GHz Bands: These bands provide wider coverage and better penetration through obstacles. They offer a balance between coverage and speed. Sub-6 GHz bands include frequencies below 6 GHz, such as 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz. They are commonly used for widespread 5G deployment, especially in urban and suburban areas.
  • mmWave (Millimeter Wave) Bands: These bands offer ultra-fast speeds but have limited coverage and are easily blocked by obstacles. They operate in higher frequency ranges, typically above 24 GHz. mmWave bands enable extremely high data transfer rates, making them suitable for dense urban areas and high-capacity applications like augmented reality and virtual reality.

Availability of Private 5G around the world:

The availability of private 5G networks varies across different countries and regions, influenced by regulatory frameworks, spectrum availability, and market demand. Here is an overview of the availability of private 5G around the world:

North America:
5G networks have been gradually rolling out across North America, with estimates suggesting that up to 32 percent of mobile connections in the region will be on a 5G network by 2023.

  • In the United States, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, along with other smaller companies, offer mobile 5G options, and Verizon also provides 5G fixed wireless broadband internet.
  • In Canada, Rogers Communications has been deploying their 5G network since early 2020, covering over 1,500 communities, while Telus Mobility and Videotron have also introduced 5G services in specific locations.
  • In Mexico, América Móvil launched 5G services in 18 cities, and Telcel, owned by América Móvil, has expanded its 5G coverage to all users.
  • Puerto Rico’s Claro conducted 5G testing, and Altice in the Dominican Republic has expressed preparations for a future 5G network.
  • BTC in the Bahamas has announced plans for launching 5G, with expectations for its arrival.

South America:
The rollout of 5G in Central America has been relatively slow, with progress seen in some countries. In Honduras, Tigo has chosen Ericsson to modernize its radio access network, taking a step towards a 5G-ready network.

  • Costa Rica’s Grupo ICE has expressed support for 5G, but the availability of a network remains uncertain.
  • Tigo Guatemala launched the first 5G network in the country in July 2022, starting with service in Cayalá.
  • Chile’s Entel and Argentina’s Movistar have partnered with Ericsson for their 5G deployments, while Vivo and Claro have also introduced 5G networks in Brazil.
  • Telefónica Colombia conducted trials, and Tigo in Paraguay has prepared its network for 5G with Ericsson’s assistance.
  • Millicom/Tigo is also working on bringing 5G-ready LTE technology to Bolivia.
  • SETAR in Aruba has been prepared for 5G since mid-2019 through a partnership with Nokia, providing full coverage on the island.

5G technology has been gradually rolling out across various countries, transforming the way people connect and communicate.

  • South Korea, Japan, and China were among the early adopters, with SK Telecom, LG Uplus, KT, NTT DOCOMO, au, SoftBank, Rakuten Mobile, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom launching 5G services in their respective countries.
  • In Qatar, Ooredoo and Vodafone introduced 5G services in late 2018, while Kuwait witnessed the deployment of 5G by Zain, Ooredoo, and STC.
  • The United Arab Emirates also joined the 5G revolution with offerings from Etisalat and du.
  • Oman saw Omantel and Ooredoo providing 5G services, and Nepal witnessed Worldlink and Nepal Telecom launching 5G.
  • India, Indonesia, and Brunei are in the process of preparing for 5G deployment, while Turkey and Georgia are actively working on their 5G networks.
  • Additionally, countries like Vietnam, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have either introduced or are exploring 5G services through various network operators.

It’s important to keep in mind that the availability and coverage of 5G services may vary within each country, and it is recommended to consult local network operators for the most up-to-date information on 5G availability in specific areas.

Several European countries have seen the rollout of 5G networks.

  • In Norway, Telenor, Telia Company, and Ice have launched 5G in cities like Oslo, Trondheim, and Bodø.
  • Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Telefónica Germany’s O2 have initiated 5G coverage in cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Cologne.
  • The Czech Republic has witnessed 5G services from Vodafone, O2, and T-Mobile in cities like Prague and Brno.
  • In France, Bouygues Telecom first began offering 5G services in December 2020, starting off in 20 major locations across the country. 5G is also available from Free Mobile, SFR, and Orange.
  • In the United Kingdom, EE, Vodafone UK, and other providers like Virgin Media and O2 offer 5G services across multiple cities.
  • Italy has 5G networks from Vodafone, TIM, Iliad, and WindTre.
  • Switzerland’s Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt have established 5G networks in numerous towns. Spain has 5G networks from Vodafone Spain, Telefónica, Orange, and MasMovil in cities like Madrid and Barcelona.
  • Additionally, Austria, Finland, Russia, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Channel Islands, Cyprus, Belarus, and Romania have telecom operators that have launched or are planning to launch 5G networks.

Several African countries have embraced the deployment of 5G technology, revolutionizing connectivity across the continent.

  • South Africa has witnessed the introduction of 5G services by Vodacom Group, Rain, and MTN Group Limited in locations such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and more.
  • In Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and Airtel have launched 5G networks in cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.
  • Senegal is upgrading its network to roll out LTE in collaboration with Free and Ericsson.
  • Gambia saw the launch of its first 5G network by QCell, while Egypt, Morocco, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Togo, Zimbabwe, and Botswana are also making progress in implementing 5G infrastructure through partnerships and deployments with various telecom operators.

These advancements demonstrate the growing presence of 5G technology throughout Africa, improving connectivity and enabling the development of innovative digital services across the continent.

Other Regions:
In Oceania, the major countries have experienced a limited rollout of 5G in 2019, with greater availability arriving in 2021, and ongoing rollouts as of 2023.

  • In Australia, Optus launched 5G for mobile and home use in November 2019, with coverage in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Telstra enabled 5G technology in areas of the Gold Coast in August 2018 and expanded to other cities like Adelaide and Perth. Vodafone also offers 5G services in specific areas.
  • In New Zealand, Spark NZ switched on their network in September 2019 and expanded to Palmerston North for both fixed and mobile access. Vodafone also provides 5G in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown. 2degrees launched their network in limited areas of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch in February 2022.