4G Spectrum snippets – why LTE spectrum is important

Spectrum is the key resource in the mobile network game. It is what the operators paid billions of pounds (arguably too much too soon) each for during the 3G auctions. Users for the services weren’t there and nor were the handsets that would encourage bandwidth consumption.

It is a different game today. Don’t be surprised to see even greater sums of money paid for 4G spectrum. It would be commercial suicide for a mobile operator to not have any.

Spectrum when allocated is then divided into 20MHz bandwidth slots. 20MHz of spectrum allows for an 80Mbps data throughput using LTE. If you double this to a 40MHz slot you double the throughput. The higher the spectrum frequency you have therefore the more capacity your network can handle.

The downside is that the higher the spectrum frequency the lower the range and the harder it is to penetrate objects such as buildings. The lower frequencies are preferred for rural deployments – Vodafone in Germany used 800MHz for this. There isn’t a “right mix” of spectrum to own however. Vodafone operates in 30 markets and each market has different spectrum requirements.

That’s all folks…

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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2 Comments

  1. If they make a lot of money in the 4G auctions they could use it to get fibre to the 4G masts then they may actually be of some use? And as the masts are in rural areas to cover the whole country that means fibre could be made available for altnets who would provide connections that work for rural people? This would mean that everyone would get a decent connection and the competition would be very good for the market.

  2. they aren’t going to make alot of money in the spectrum auctions.
    mobile companies with the exception of voda aren’t doing brilliantly. hence why you see legal action on 4G

    my prediction is tht there will be dual spectrum strategies but maybe not for who gets 1800Mhz.

    1800 has a great balance between bandwidth for mobile broadband and reasonable penetration of buildings. not so good in terms of distance.

    800 is brilliant for distance and penetration but you won’t get much throughput.

    none of this is new, these issues date back to first generation mobile.

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