February 7, 2024
Leading the Adoption of 5G Spectrum Harmonization can Unlock up to $200B in U.S. Economic Growth, According to New Report
WASHINGTON, D.C.; Feb. 7, 2024 – Allocating internationally harmonized mid-band spectrum for 5G can unlock approximately $200B to America’s economy over the next 10 years, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) commissioned by CTIA, the wireless industry association. There is a risk of America's wireless industry limiting its "future leadership of the global wireless ecosystem" if embracing 5G spectrum allocation is not fully supported. This could also impact adjacent industries that leverage wireless technology such as manufacturing, utilities, and others in the U.S., the study finds.
The report, Advancing U.S. Wireless Excellence: The Case for Global Spectrum Harmonization, finds that spectrum harmonization is key to achieving “economies of scale across the wireless value chain as well as fueling new sources of growth and innovation.” While most countries are rapidly coalescing around a set of internationally harmonized bands to support their 5G networks and realize these benefits, the U.S. has less spectrum than its international peers, including China, and no plans to free up additional 5G spectrum in the near term.
“As we saw at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), the rest of the world is moving quickly to allocate significant amounts of internationally harmonized mid-band spectrum for 5G to meet exploding demand and build a foundation for future innovation and economic growth,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO, CTIA. “To avoid becoming a wireless technology island and secure our economic competitiveness, it is critical that we move quickly to allocate more full power, licensed spectrum for 5G with global bands.”
According to the study, the U.S. can secure its wireless leadership and achieve significant economic benefits by leading the adoption of internationally harmonized spectrum bands. Leading spectrum harmonization also benefits American consumers by lowering the cost of wireless products and services, accelerating the development of innovative 5G use cases and supporting the continued growth and development of trusted network infrastructure companies.
“Remediating its mid-band spectrum deficit will be imperative for the U.S. to fuel new sources of growth and innovation. Ignoring this opportunity now can jeopardize the wireless leadership it achieved in 4G, and in the early phase of 5G’s rollout,” said Tejas Rao, managing director, Accenture Cloud First Networks. "Taking calculated and swift action is necessary to position the U.S. at the forefront of wireless innovation and lay the foundation for future growth.”
The U.S. should focus its efforts on freeing up mid-band spectrum for full-power, licensed 5G use that will fuel use cases ranging from 5G home broadband, smart manufacturing, precision agriculture, and more.
The two bands that stand out given recent developments at the WRC globally and their inclusion in the National Spectrum Strategy domestically are:
- The lower 3 GHz band is already harmonized and widely used around the world, making it the ideal spectrum to start catching up with the rest of the world on mid-band 5G allocations.
- The 7/8 GHz band, which is slated for future mobile use internationally, gives the U.S. a clear opportunity to lead in developing the wireless ecosystem using this next key spectrum band.
The study highlights that leading the adoption of key spectrum bands could drive up to $200B in U.S. economic growth over the next ten years. This includes more than $150B from new jobs, leadership in new industries, strengthening America’s export market and accelerating America’s global economic competitiveness. An additional $44B would come from taking advantage of economies of scale in network equipment and device production.
Leading the adoption of internationally harmonized bands will also support the U.S.’ goal of securing its network equipment supply chain, according to Accenture, by enabling trusted equipment manufacturers to take advantage of global economies of scale and compete on a more level playing field with Chinese equipment manufacturers.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
CTIA® (www.ctia.org) represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The association’s members include wireless carriers, device manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies. CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and co-produces the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.
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