General information about 5G in Ireland

Why is 5G being deployed in Ireland and throughout Europe?

In 2016, the European Commission issued its 5G Action Plan for Europe. The plan set out several actions for Member States, including a proposed timetable for the deployment of 5G, and called upon Member States to make radio frequency spectrum available for 5G.

What frequency bands have been allocated for 5G?

The Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum is a natural resource managed in Ireland by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). ComReg, in accordance with EU policy, has specified three RF bands for the use of 5G: 

  • 700 MHz
Use of these RF bands is not new. The 3.6 GHz band is similar to the frequencies currently being used for 4G while 700 MHz was previously used for analogue TV broadcasting.
  • 3.6 GHz
   
  • 26 GHz
This higher frequency band is not currently used for 5G in Ireland and is not expected to be deployed for several years. When it is deployed, it is expected to be used mostly in urban areas. The useful range at this frequency is short (a few hundred meters) so using it in rural areas is not likely to be practical.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Millimetre Waves (mmWaves)

Spectrum at frequencies above 30 GHz is also referred to as millimetre waves (mmWaves), given their short wavelength. This term is also sometimes used to refer to the 26 GHz frequency band.

Deployment of 5G will begin by using the frequencies in the lower RF bands. It is envisaged that the 26 GHz band and higher frequencies may be used in the future.

This part of the spectrum is up to 10 times higher than the frequencies currently used by mobile communication networks, usually of a few tens of gigahertz (GHz). The use of these higher frequencies has given rise to public concerns.  However, similar high frequencies have been used for radars, point-to-point microwave links, airport security scanners and other applications for years.