China approved 6 GHz band for cellular services

Ward Zhou

posted on June 30, 2023 10:11 pm

According to a Tuesday amendment, China's industry regulator has approved the 6 GHz wireless frequency band for cellular networks.

The regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), claimed China is the first country that adopted 6 GHz (6425 - 7125 MHz) for cellular network communications in a Wednesday post (in Chinese) on its official WeChat account.

The post noted that “the 6 GHz frequency band is a valuable and scarce resource in the mid-frequency range, offering a large bandwidth and catering to both coverage and capacity needs. It is particularly suitable for the deployment of 5G or future 6G systems.”

Wednesday, the Chinese telecom giant ZTE announced that in collaboration with China Mobile's Guangdong and Guangzhou Branch, they have effectively completed the industry's first commercial trial of a sub-G 5G cell in Guangzhou, China. This test obtained a peak throughput of over 10 Gbps on a single 100 MHz-broadband carrier.

“Allocating the 6 GHz spectrum to 6G mobile communication networks in China would be beneficial for the development of 6G network technologies, the maturity of the 6G industry chain, and the exploration of future emerging mobile applications,” Cui Kai, assistant research director at IDC, told PingWest.

Cui also addressed the challenges brought by the move. Firstly, overall the diverse global policies on 6G frequency band usage may increase the difficulty of coordinating international standards development. Moreover, different standards may require device manufacturers to produce multiple product models, thus increasing version management and maintenance costs. Additionally, this situation could potentially cause interference and inconvenience for users when using devices across different regions.

The new version of the “Regulations on the Division of Radio Frequencies of China” will take effect from July 1. 

There are debates over whether 6 GHz should be used for Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Some administrations remained silent as Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 gained international attention and widespread application, both of which rely on the 6 GHz frequency band to increase speed. To comply with regulations, it has also compelled phone manufacturers to ship devices with such features disabled.

China has hinted partly support Wi-Fi 7 without 6 GHz and related features earlier this month.