Enacom published the frequencies it will reserve for the new generation of mobile connectivity; however, there are still dates for the bidding of these frequencies
The National Communications Agency (Enacom) published yesterday a newsletter where it gives an account of the 75th meeting of its board of directors and, also, perhaps more important data for Argentines: the definition of the frequencies that will be allocated in Argentina for 5G , the mobile telephony standard that succeeds 4G, which offers higher-speed connections and which some 60 countries have already implemented.
Defining which frequencies will be used is important: it tells everyone in the industry how much of the spectrum will go to this technology; Thus, those who are in the field can follow the tests that began five years ago, but now with greater definitions. Telecommunications equipment manufacturers and national operators, however, must wait for something else: for the Government to put out to tender these frequencies, that is, to put them up for rent so that the operators can use them and, in turn, provide transmission services. fifth generation mobile internet to its customers.
Specifically, the bands reserved for 5G are:
1500 MHz band: 1427 – 1518 MHz (n75 / n76)
AWS-3 band: 1770 – 1780 MHz / 2170 – 2200 MHz (n66)
2300 MHz band: 2300 – 2400 MHz (n40)
3500 MHz band: 3300 – 3600 MHz (n78)
26 GHz band: 24.25 – 25.75 GHz (n258)
38 GHz band: 37 – 43.5 GHz (n260)
Phenomenal, with that data, some technician will be able to adjust their equipment so that they transmit and receive information on the appropriate frequency, but what use is it to a person who carries a cell phone in his pocket? Well, now phone manufacturers can start selling 5G equipment in Argentina with the confidence that, if they are compatible with those frequencies (that is, if they are capable of transmitting and receiving information in those bands), when it is finally enabled the 5G in Argentina, the equipment will be compatible. Each country has to choose its bands (which are common to other countries). For 4G Argentina, for example, uses the B2, B4, B7 and B28 band. The 5G, in theory, will use the bands n75, n66, n40, n78, n258 and n260 (according to the order published by Enacom).
In the case of 5G it is the same, with the complication that there are several versions of 5G: 5G NSA (for Non Standalone, which uses part of 4G technology to work), 5G SA (Standalone), which is already pure 5G ; Sub6, which refers to frequencies below 6 GHz but above the so-called low band; and mmWave, above 24 GHz (up to 100 GHz). The latter (which in Argentina would be those of 26 and 38 GHz) allows high bandwidth services, but little range, and requires the installation of more antennas than the lower frequency versions.
Lower frequencies have less speed, but more range; Higher ones carry more data, but they are weaker (it costs them more to pass through cement, for example). It’s like AM, which uses frequencies that are measured in kilohertz, versus FM, which uses megahertz (that is, a thousand times more cycles). AM has long range and low fidelity; FM has short range, but better sound quality. That is why where they use the mmWave standard, more antennas are needed to give a good 5G service. Like 4G, however, the jump between the multiple frequency bands is transparent to the user.
To that we must add a hybrid format that uses the same 4G frequencies to send 5G; It is called DSS and it is what Personal on the Atlantic Coast is using to offer a 5G experience in some beaches of Mar del Plata, Pinamar and Cariló. Access is automatic; only a 5G compatible phone is required.
Which phones are compatible with 5G in Argentina
In Argentina, both Samsung and Motorola have been selling phones with the ability to access 5G networks for some time. In the case of Motorola, it is the Moto Razr 5G and the Edge 20 Pro and 20 Lite models, in addition to the Moto G100. Samsung, for its part, sells the Galaxy S21, 21+ and S21 Ultra 5G, the Galaxy Z Fold3, Galaxy Z Flip3 and Galaxy A52, all with 5G. The iPhone 13 family that these days went on sale in Argentina is also compatible with the local 5G, the same as the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G.
It should be borne in mind, however, that once the 5G networks are tendered (something that, for now, has no date) it is advisable to wait for the manufacturers to publish an update of the firmware of the phones, which will be adjusted accordingly. better way the modems of these equipments so that they are able to tune the frequencies of each operator; It must also be remembered that, like 4G, not all bands will be used in the same areas (those with a lower frequency are better suited to suburban or rural areas). Likewise, that a phone is not compatible with all the 5G frequencies tendered in the country may not mean anything for the user’s connection quality; It will depend a lot on where and what you use a 5G connection for.
What advantage does 5G have?
Now, should anyone worry about having 5G or not? Like everything, it depends on what you require that connection for. The primary intention of 5G, unlike previous technologies (3G or 4G) is not to give more connectivity to people, but to other devices: it was thought more for the smart city, with a much higher number of connections than with 4G, for autonomous vehicle telemetry and remote machine control, and also as an alternative to fixed broadband for homes and businesses. Among other things, it brings advantages in latency (the time it takes for a command to leave the device, go to the destination server and return with a response), something fundamental for action video games and for -for example- to handle a surgeon robot from distance. Yes, of course it also works on a smartphone or tablet: but when it comes to sending a WhatsApp or watching a video on YouTube, doing it with 4G or 5G will not make a difference. It will be noticed in video games or virtual reality services, for example.
Anyway, the horizon of availability of 5G in Argentina is still distant, but the country has already taken a fundamental step towards that destination.