Mexico, Colombia Launch Consultations on Unlicensed 6 GHz Use
Friday, February 05, 2021 | Comments

The telecommunications regulators of Mexico and Colombia launched consultations considering whether to allow unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band.

In Mexico, the frequency range between 5.925 and 7.125 GHz is used for fixed satellite service, fixed service and mobile service. Additionally, in the 6.445 – 6.775 and 6.785 – 7.115 GHz bands of spectrum, there have been concessions granted to radio relay operations used for rail transport communications.

The Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) launched its consultation on the spectrum in November 2020 and it ended in January 2019. The purpose of the consultation was to gather public feedback on the best way to use and allocate the 6 GHz spectrum in the band. Find more information on Mexico’s consultation here.

Meanwhile, the Colombian regulators ANE and MINTIC launched a consultation of their own seeking comment on proper use of the band. That consultation concluded on 18 January. Find more information on the consultation here.

As part of the public feedback, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) released two studies that it said show that both countries’ economies could benefit over the next 10 years from allowing unlicensed use in the band.

The two new studies assessed the economic value of unlicensed use of the band in Mexico and Colombia, by assessing the impact on service quality, coverage, affordability and the impact on different applications and use cases. The methodology relied upon in the study identified the different sources of economic value, estimated them independently and then aggregated within a single value. Its findings revealed a significant early economic impact following the allocation of 1,200 megahertz in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use.

Some of the sources of value include enhanced broadband coverage and improved affordability, increased speed by reducing Wi-Fi congestion, enhanced deployment of municipal Wi-Fi and deployment of free Wi-Fi hotspots, which provide for internet access for households that cannot purchase a broadband plan. All this while ensuring that existing incumbent services can continue to thrive in the band because incumbents can coexist with Wi-Fi 6E, the new generation of Wi-Fi that operates in the 6 GHz band.

In the case of Mexico, the cumulative economic value between 2021 and 2030 associated with enabling license-exempt access to the 1,200 megahertz in the 6 GHz band amounts to US$71.96 billion in GDP contribution, US$56.18 billion in producer surplus to Mexican enterprises, and US$ 22.13 billion in consumer surplus to the Mexican population, according to the report. The total contribution amounts to US$150.27 billion to the Mexican economy over the next 10 years.

In the case of Colombia, the cumulative economic value between 2021 and 2030 associated with enabling license-exempt access to the 1,200 megahertz in the 6 GHz band amounts up to US$39.69 billion in GDP contribution, US$9.93 billion in producer surplus to Colombian enterprises, and US$9.31 billion in consumer surplus to the Colombian population, the report said. The total contribution amounts up to US$58.93 billion to the Colombian economy over the next 10 years.

“License-exempt use of the entire 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi will be critical to address current pressing bandwidth demands for end users, new applications and industries,” said Martha Suarez, president of the DSA. “The different use case operations from 5925 to 7125 MHz will allow growing ultra-fast Wi-Fi demands to be met, new applications such as Augmented and Virtual Reality and new innovations that require high-quality, real-time connectivity. Used for every aspect in our lives such as remote education, work and commerce, Wi-Fi needs greater spectrum access in the 6 GHz band to effectively support the modern digital ecosystem.”

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