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Let The 5G Spectrum Wars Begin

Let The 5G Spectrum Wars Begin

Just this week, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Google, and Dish Network all revealed their separate plans to acquire or roll out high band spectrum assets that many industry watchers expect will serve as the backbone in providing 5G wireless services. With this latest development, analysts are now seeing a potential battle for 5G spectrum as mobile operators and other tech firms compete for airwaves in order to be able to start selling ultra fast 5G networks

Here is the story so far -- Verizon Wireless has announced this week that it had already completed its acquisition of XO Communications, which was revealed earlier this year. Under the terms of this deal, the Big Red will look to lease XO’s 102 LMDS licenses in the 28 GigaHertz and 39 GigaHertz bands -- these are licenses that cover 188 billion MegaHertz POPs, equivalent to about 23 times as much as what FiberTower had (more on this later). There is a major reason for this move -- back in 2016, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States had stated that these were the specific bands that it would make full use of in testing its 5G offering.

As for AT&T, the major US wireless carrier has quietly bought FiberTower, which should provide AT&T the 24 GigaHertz and 39 GigaHertz bands, which cover 8.4 billion MegaHertz POPs. Right now, AT&T is already proceeding to commence a wide range of fixed wireless tests in a number of different spectrum bands.

Not to be outdone, Google has gained six additional fixed wireless markets to its Google Fiber coverage. Last year, the tech giant had purchased Webpass, a three year old fixed wireless provider that offers service to tens of thousands of mobile users across a number of markets in the US, made possible by providing fixed wireless service on licensed and unlicensed frequencies stretching across the 6, 11, 18, 23, 24, 60, 70, and 80 GigaHertz bands.

Lastly, Dish Network had a transaction with EchoStar that covered Sling TV and other assets. In this transaction, Dish has gotten hold of wireless spectrum licenses that cover four markets in the 28 GigaHertz band and other specific real estate properties. 

Why the sudden interest in high band spectrums? Years before when wireless tech was not that advanced, high band spectrums came with problems that providers were not ready to solve yet. But with the coming of new advances, players are now in a position to take full advantage of high band spectrums in order to push their respective 5G wireless services.