Dynamic spectrum sharing allows operators to avoid re-farming
Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) is a software-based functionality that allows a base station to simultaneously transmit LTE and 5G NR communications at the same time in the same band. This means operators can avoid the costly, time-consuming process of re-farming spectrum while still scaling out 5G coverage in mid- and low-band frequencies.
Ericsson is currently testing its DSS technology, called Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, in conjunction with operator Swisscom, which was an early-mover on 5G commercialization in the 3.6 GHz band. Swisscom, like its counterparts in the U.s., is looking to DSS to move from targeted 5G coverage to nationwide coverage.
In a test announced today, Swisscom, using Ericsson and Qualcomm equipment, made an over-the-air 5G data call using DSS. The operator is working to provide 90% population coverage with 5G by the end of this year.
Swisscom’s Head of 5G Patrick Weibel said DSS let’s the service provider “best leverage the existing frequency spectrum and infrastructure for 4G and 5G customers, depending on their needs. Spectrum sharing will ensure that Swisscom can provide extensive 5G coverage to its customers as soon as possible.”
DSS also underlines Verizon’s near-term 5G strategy. The operator is currently working to turn up millimeter wave-based 5G in 30 markets by the end of the year while also expanding its millimeter wave-based fixed wireless access 5G Home service.
Speaking In August on a quarterly earnings call, Verizon CEO Vestberg said dynamic spectrum sharing is “an important piece” of 5G. “Ultimately, 5G is going to be on all bands. And I have a high confidence that my team is going to be doing that well, continue to have the leadership in the market when it comes to network performance. There might also come up opportunities all the time where it could be added spectrum. But right now, to launch both capacity and coverage, we feel confident on the assets we have.”
Qualcomm has also called out the role of DSS in accelerating the transition to standalone 5G. Dean Brenner, vice president of spectrum strategy and technology policy, said dynamic spectrum sharing “accelerates and expands the 5G roll out instantly because we don’t have to do re-farming. We can immediately get 5G deployed into the legacy 4G bands.”
He said the non-standalone mode of 5G is the consensus route to initial launch but that maximum efficiency and performance comes with standalone. “DSS is a very important bridge to get there. DSS is pushing 5G coverage out as expansively as possible. So that means when the 5G core is launched, you’re already going to have this very, very broad 5G coverage. If you didn’t have DSS you have kind of two problems–you have to get to the 5G standalone core but you also have to get 5G built out.”
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