DECEMBER 21, 2020 – In recent years, the operation of 3GPP technologies in unlicensed spectrum has gone from being a perennial talking point to what is now a key element of mobile network densification strategies. Operators across the globe are increasingly rolling out LTE RAN infrastructure operating in unlicensed spectrum – using the 5 GHz band – to expand network capacity and deliver higher data rates, particularly in dense urban environments. These implementations are largely based on LAA technology which aggregates unlicensed channels with anchors in licensed spectrum to maintain seamless and reliable connectivity.
However, the practical applicability of unlicensed spectrum is not limited to the capacity enhancement of traditional mobile operator networks. Initiatives such as MulteFire, CBRS, and sXGP make it possible for enterprises, neutral hosts, and other new entrants to build and operate their own cellular networks solely in unlicensed spectrum. Furthermore, in conjunction with the availability of new license-exempt frequencies such as the recently opened 6 GHz band, the introduction of 5G NR-U in 3GPP’s Release 16 specifications paves the way for 5G NR deployments in the unlicensed spectrum for both licensed assisted and standalone modes of operation. Given 5G’s inherent support for reliability and time-sensitive networking, NR-U is particularly well suited to meet industrial IoT requirements for the automation and digitization of environments such as factories, warehouses, ports, and mining sites.
Despite ongoing challenges, SNS Telecom & IT estimates that global investments in LTE and 5G NR-ready RAN infrastructure operating in unlicensed spectrum will reach nearly $500 Million by the end of 2020. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 40% between 2020 and 2023, eventually accounting for $1.3 Billion by 2023. These findings are part of a new research report on LTE and 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum.
For further information concerning the report please visit: https://www.snstelecom.com/unlicensed
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