Arqiva buys spectrum to push ahead with 5G FWA plans

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Wholesale network provider Arqiva has bolstered its spectrum holdings with a licence in the 28GHz band, as it prepares to trial a key 5G technology in the UK.

The telco bought the spectrum from managed services provider Luminet. The Region A licence for 2x112MHz covers Central and Greater London.

Arqiva said the spectrum would help it deliver 5G fixed wireless access (FWA), a means of providing internet access to a home through cellular rather than fixed line. 

It plans to conduct the UK’s first 5G FWA field trial with Samsung in London this summer in preparation for launching a wholesale service across the country for UK mobile and fixed operators in the future.

The new acquisition adds to Arqiva’s existing holdings in a range of bands above the 1GHz frequency, including 25GHz. UK regulator Ofcom has identified that band as a pioneer for 5G.

Arqiva, said: “5G FWA is an exciting opportunity to deliver true ultrafast broadband above 500Mbps to millions of households; this is especially relevant in the UK where so few households are connected by fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). 

“In purchasing this additional licence we are able to further our ambitions in this area, standing ourselves in good stead to deliver a compelling 5G FWA wholesale service to UK mobile and fixed operators across the country, and with even more capacity in Greater London.”

Sasha Williamson, Luminet's CEO, said selling the spectrum was a “strategic business decision” for the company as it continues to build its managed services network in London and enhances its focus on the wholesale market.

Major trials of FWA technology are taking place in the US, where Verizon, Sprint, AT&T are conducting pilots and trials.