Zimbabwe Yet To Allocate 5G Frequency

Zimbabwe does not have the frequency for 5G and is currently discussing prospects of allocating such a frequency during an ongoing preparatory World Radiocommunication meeting in Harare today.

The actual World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 is set to be held in Egypt from October 28 to November 22 this year.

Addressing delegates yesterday, Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe Potraz Director-General Dr Gift Machengete said the meeting today will decide the allocation for the IMT 2020, better known as 5G.

“It is in final preparation of this crucial world event (WRC-19) that we meet here today in order for us to crystalize our national positions on the various issues and items that are on the Agenda of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019,” he said.

“Main issues to be discussed at the Conference will be the provision of the additional radio frequency spectrum to meet the rapidly growing demand for mobile broadband communications and in particular to meet the spectrum requirements for new generation broadband technologies including IMT 2020, otherwise known as 5G,”

According to Dr Machengete there are around 33 topics on the WRC-19 agenda, most of which are relevant if not vital to developing nations of the world such as Zimbabwe. He notes some of the considerations as follows;

“To consider spectrum needs and regulatory provisions for the introduction and use of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS)
take necessary actions, as appropriate, to facilitate global or regional harmonized frequency bands to support railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside within existing mobile service allocations,”

“To ensure, on the basis of ITUR studies, appropriate regulatory actions for high-altitude platform stations (HAPS), within existing fixed-service allocations; and agree on agenda items for inclusion in the Agenda for WRC 2023,”

“Given the foregoing it of crucial importance that we adequately prepare for the Conference as the outcomes are expected to be far-reaching in shaping the future of our citizens, society, and economy at large,” he added

One major highlight of the WRC-19 will be the identification of spectrum for 5G. As the envisaged anchor of emerging innovative services like automated driving, drones, precision Agriculture; Virtual Reality, remote medical surgery, and advanced 3D emerging and printing; 5G will have to support ultra-reliable communication, deliver very low-latency and support enhanced mobile broadband services. Needless to say, these stringent requirements will put tremendous pressure on spectrum resources that are already in short supply to support existing services.

It is therefore, important that there is a fine balance on protecting existing services and providing additional spectrum for growing and emerging services. While the mm-Wave bands that are included as candidate bands in the CPM-2 Report would suffice for the initial phase of 5G rollout, it is important to note that in developing countries the majority of citizenry live in small towns and rural areas. Deployment scenarios for such geography cannot be covered using mm-Waves as their propagation range is severely curtailed.

It is therefore imperative that Zimbabwe and the rest of the developing world push for an Agenda Item for 2023 that would seek the identification of lower and mid-frequencies for use by IMT. Such an identification would provide better coverage and network economics.

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