Spectrum Management in the 6G Era

Spectrum management plays a key role in the deployment of new wireless technologies. Regulators in the 5G era have introduced a variety of spectrum management approaches that allow the deployment of new cellular networks including traditional exclusively nationwide licensing, local licensing and unlicensed approaches involving varying levels of spectrum sharing. The upcoming 6G era in the 2030s will face new challenges resulting from the ever-increasing variety of considered spectrum bands for 6G with drastically different propagation characteristics and the increasing fragmentation of spectrum management approaches. This paper provides an overview of spectrum management for mobile communication networks including the most recent 5G spectrum decisions. The paper discusses the role of spectrum sharing in the upcoming 6G era and related enabling technologies. The paper opens the door for 6G spectrum discussions with an emphasis on what is different in 6G while taking into account the challenges arising from the underlying regulatory environment.