Russia’s 5G Plan to surpassing ‘Golden Band’ frequency challenges

Russian telecom industry strategy for 2035 excludes “golden band” 5G frequencies, favoring other frequencies for fifth-generation networks.

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The Russian government’s draft strategy for the development of the telecom industry until 2035 includes a prohibition on using the 3.4-3.8 GHz frequency range, also known as the “golden band”, for 5G networks. These frequencies are currently occupied by various services, including the military. The issue of using these frequencies for 5G has been a topic of discussion for several years but a resolution has not been reached.Despite the ban on the “golden band”, the strategy emphasizes that 5G development in Russia will still proceed using other available frequencies, such as the 4400-4990 MHz range.

Another unresolved issue is the transfer of the “digital dividend” frequencies, which were previously used for analog TV, to cellular operators for 5G. Broadcasters have yet to relinquish these frequencies, and the Ministry of Digital Development is currently discussing how to address this.The redistribution of these frequencies can only occur with the agreement of the broadcasters, as stated in a presidential decree. However, the broadcasters are seeking payment for the transfer, and the Ministry is discussing whether this restriction can be removed.

In June, it was reported that the Ministry of Digital Development proposed the creation of a single state-owned operator to develop 5G networks. This operator would receive the frequencies in the “golden band” free of charge, with the provision that special services, like the military, can disable the network when necessary.The Ministry has been tasked with further exploring this proposal for a single operator.