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Regulatory revisions to allow 5G auctions in China

Changes to the regulation governing China’s spectrum policy will allow 5G airwaves to be sold at auction rather than simply allocated by the relevant authorities, as has previously occurred.

China’s new Radio Regulations came into force on December 1st, and stipulate that spectrum can be allocated by both administrative approval and a market-based approach. This permits bidding and auctions, meaning that 5G airwaves could be sold in this way.

Three years ago, China’s government awarded TD-LTE spectrum to the Big Three operators (China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom), then a year later granted nationwide FDD-LTE licences to the latter (and smaller) two operators, allowing them to compete more evenly with China Mobile.

The Chinese 5G Promotion Group has revealed the technical specs as China moves towards its second wave of 5G testing. The country’s MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) has stated that China will perform R&D tests for 5G from 2016-2018, followed by product tests across 2018-2020.

5G is expected to be brought to market across the industry by 2020, with standardisation of Phase 1 due to be completed in 2018.

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