Mid-Band Spectrum & the Race to 5G

By: Laurel Duggan

Countries around the world are racing to deploy 5G, which will enable enormous economic growth and could propel the United States far ahead in the tech and telecommunications space. In order to deploy 5G, we need licensed mid-band spectrum, particularly in the lower 3 GHz band.

The FCC is making considerable progress on this front by auctioning C-band and CBRS spectrum this year, but there is still more to be done. 

report released by Analysis Mason reveals that the United States is far behind other countries in licensed mid-band spectrum availability. China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the U.K. each have twice as much available mid-band spectrum compared to the U.S. In the 3.3-3.6 GHz range, we have no spectrum at all. This is a key area for licensed spectrum availability, and the Analysis Mason report notes that, by quickly making lower 3 GHz band available for commercial 5G operations, the U.S. would become a “leading benchmark” country in this area. 

5G deployment is crucial to our economic health and continued leadership in innovation. Services like Uber, which created countless flexible work opportunities for Americans while lowering the cost of transportation, were made possible by our transition from 3G to 4G. Similarly, 5G will enable new and innovative services to come to market. Innovation means economic growth, new jobs, and better services for consumers.

The report finds that making hundreds of megahertz of mid-band spectrum available would create 1.3 million American jobs and boost the U.S. economy by $274 billion. The U.S. is already a leader in low and high band spectrum. By catching up with other leading countries on mid-band spectrum availability, we can rev up our economy and push ahead in the race to 5G.

Photo Credit: Matt Brown