Large quantities of new radio 5G spectrum (5G NR frequency bands) have been allocated to 5G in order to enable its increased throughput when compared with 4G. For example, in July 2016, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) freed up vast amounts of bandwidth in underused high-band spectrum for 5G. The Spectrum Frontiers Proposal (SFP) doubled the amount of millimeter-wave unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz and created four times the amount of flexible, mobile-use spectrum the FCC had licensed to date.In March 2018, European Union lawmakers agreed to open up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bands by 2020.

As of March 2019, there are reportedly 52 countries, territories, special administrative regions, disputed territories and dependencies that are formally considering introducing certain spectrum bands for terrestrial 5G services, are holding consultations regarding suitable spectrum allocations for 5G, have reserved spectrum for 5G, have announced plans to auction frequencies or have already allocated spectrum for 5G use.

5G Spectrum

Unlicensed spectrum

MNOs are increasingly using unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz (GHz) frequency bands. 5G networks will need to tap into the vast amount of spectrum available in these unlicensed bands to offload traffic in heavily congested areas and provide connectivity for billions of IoT devices. Advancements in Wi-Fi, LTE in Unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U), License Assisted Access (LAA), and MulteFire, among others, provide better quality and regulated access to unlicensed spectrum.

FR1 : The 5G frequency bands for FR1 defined by 3GPP are 450 MHz to 6 GHz.

FR2 : The 5G frequency bands for FR2 are 24.25 GHz and 52.6 GHz,although no bands above 40 GHz are defined in 3GPP Release 15 Standards.This latter range is almost entirely in mmWave range.