To improve 5G spectrum's usage efficiency, 3GPP has brought up several solutions with dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) being one of the major technologies expected to be used when transitioning from 4G to 5G. The technology is expected to be adopted by the enterprise market in the second half of 2020, according to Digitimes Research's study of 5G networks.
Since 5G requires high numbers of cell deployments, telecom carriers will have to spend significant amounts related developments, including the high costs of obtaining 5G licenses.
In Taiwan, the first-round biddings on 5G spectrums totaled NT$138.08 billion (US$4.55 billion), much higher than the NT$40-50 billion expected by market observers. The sum is nearly NT$20 billion higher than the first-round bidding amount for 4G spectrums.
The high costs may also deter adoption of 5G by emerging applications that have lower margins and could hamper the development of the 5G sector. Therefore, 3GPP has been offering solutions under three major categories: licensed spectrum, unlicensed spectrum and shared spectrum, looking to enhance 5G's usage efficiency.
Within 3GPP's Release 15 (Rel-15), DSS will allow carriers to simultaneously serve both 4G and 5G users, instead of needing to clear out all 4G users in the spectrum before being able to support the next-generation network standard. With the network mode that combines 4G with 5G, the technology will help accelerate carriers' paces in the deployment of 5G standalone networks.
However, for DSS to be implemented into a 5G network, chips, and equipment will all need to support the technology, but so far only modem chips supplied by Qualcomm and MediaTek are able to support it. With more telecom carriers and equipment suppliers to soon release DSS solutions that support FDD/TDD, the commercialization of DSS is likely to take off in the second half of 2020.
Bidding results of 3.4-3.6GHz 5G spectrums (NT$b)
Total bandwidth released
Costs per MHz
Costs per capita for each MHz (NT$)
Source: Governments, compiled by Digitimes Research, January 2020