China’s authorities allocated spectrum in the 6GHz frequency band for 5G and 6G services, asserting it was the first country to reserve the resource expected by the mobile industry to enable future connectivity.

In a translated statement, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) highlighted the band was the only one with sufficiently-large bandwidth in the mid-range.

MIIT explained allocating 6GHz at this time is “conducive to stabilising the expectations of the 5G/6G industry”.

It also expects its move to promote the “global or regional division of 5G/6G spectrum resources” and provide the groundwork to promote mobile communications and industrial developments at home.

The decree reserving the allocation, which it claims as a world first, comes into force at the start of July.

In a blog published on the opening day of MWC23 Shanghai, GSMA head of spectrum Luciana Camargos highlighted China had identified the upper part of the band for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) systems.

“China’s efforts towards the 6GHz band don’t come as a surprise,” Camargos wrote, adding. “Conducive spectrum policies for the mid-bands, especially the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz, have helped China to deploy the world’s largest 5G networks with over 2.7 million 5G base stations by the end of April 2023 and to be on track to become the first country to reach 1 billion 5G connections in 2025.”

The GSMA has been pushing the case for the use of 6GHz by the mobile industry ahead of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 in Dubai later this year.

In a report issued earlier this year, the industry association noted countries would find it challenging to provide the 2GHz of mid-band spectrum needed by mobile networks by 2030 without using 6GHz, stating the band will enable growth of sustainable 5G capacity on existing sites.

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