Ericsson DSS product being testing by Verizon, Swisscom, Telstra
As operators look to scale out 5G coverage in tandem with the availability of more and lower-priced handsets in 2020, dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) is a key feature. DSS allows LTE and 5G New Radio (NR) transmission in the same band at the same time. This lets operators avoid the time and expense associated with re-farming spectrum.
In the U.S., AT&T and Verizon have both discussed the role DSS will play in enabling an expansion of 5G from millimeter wave frequencies into lower bands, 850 MHz in AT&T’s case. Similarly, Swisscom is deploying DSS to reach its goal of covering 90% of the country’s population with 5G by the end of this year.
Right now all of this DSS activity involves Ericsson, whose Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution is the only commercially available product at the moment. In a Dec. 9 blog post, Nokia said it will have a DSS software upgrade for FDD bands ready to go sometime next year.
“The practical benefits of using DSS varies between operators due to their differing radio spectrum assets and their strategies for 5G services,” Nokia Bell Labs Fellow Harri Holma wrote. “For example, used in conjunction with higher frequency bands (3.5 GHz), 5G FDD with DSS can boost the end user experience with an additional low-band carrier. Similarly, outside of the 3.5 GHz band, DSS provides a flexible way to extend 5G services using an operator’s legacy frequency bands.”
Speaking last week at the Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon projected 200 million 5G subscribers by the end of 2020 and 2.8 billion connection by 2025. With DSS, he said, LTE bands “will basically get upgraded to 5G and you’ll be able to co-exist 4G and 5G devices in the same spectrum.”