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February 2, 2021

The U.S. 5G Economy Will Help Build Back Jobs and Opportunity .

The U.S. 5G Economy Will Help Build Back Jobs and Opportunity

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CTIA CEO Meredith Attwell Baker
Meredith Attwell Baker
President & CEO

Over the past few years, America’s wireless industry has built 5G networks across the country. What they’ve really built is even more powerful and important: a platform for economic growth and innovation that will create millions of jobs and help rebuild the U.S. economy.

A new Boston Consulting Group study released today brings to life what our 5G economy will unlock: roughly 4.5 million new jobs and $1.5 trillion in economic growth. This study confirms the significant benefits of 5G, today and for years to come.

With three nationwide 5G networks already and more cell sites added every day, America’s wireless industry has built the foundation for America’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

5G networks are a uniquely powerful economic engine. These networks, fueled by billions of capital investment and powered by licensed spectrum, will enable new services and applications and spur new entrepreneurs who will grow and reshape our economy.

5G will influence and enable the technologies of the next decade and beyond, from telehealth and remote surgery to efficient smart energy grids and from immersive, virtual reality learning experiences to connected cars.

In industries as diverse as health care, educational and manufacturing, BCG shows that 5G will create millions of jobs. And good-paying jobs, too like research scientists, logistics managers, software developers, and more.

These are the jobs and technologies that will help us address our country’s biggest challenges, like climate change and educational inequities—issues that often impact marginalized communities the most.

That includes closing the digital divide. Wireless is already the broadband on-ramp for millions of Americans, but we can and must do more to drive greater broadband adoption. If industry and policymakers work together, we can ensure all Americans benefit from our 5G economy.

Today’s study builds on a prior BCG report that highlighted how subscriber penetration—along with factors like an innovation-friendly ecosystem, a strong business climate, and tech talent—are key elements in creating robust 5G economies.

It’s increasingly clear that the U.S. is poised to be at the forefront of the 5G economy and become home to 5G innovations that will carry us through the next decade.

But risks to our 5G leadership remain—and policymakers have crucial roles to play. The just ended C-band auction—totaling a record-breaking ~$94 billion—illustrates how critical full power, licensed mid-band is for 5G.

5G networks are a uniquely powerful economic engine. These networks, fueled by billions of capital investment and powered by licensed spectrum, will enable new services and applications and spur new entrepreneurs who will grow and reshape our economy.
Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President & CEO

Despite good progress made in the past two years, the U.S. still trails key rivals on licensed mid-band spectrum for 5G. To close the gap, the United States will need to roughly double the amount of licensed mid-band available for commercial use made available in the past two years.

That means clearing the C-band on schedule, moving forward with a timely auction of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band, optimized for 5G, by the end of the year, and adopting a clear pipeline of future licensed spectrum auctions. And it means building on recent federal and state reforms that are helping the wireless industry roll out these networks quickly, efficiently, and to more Americans.

The stakes of getting these issues right are high. Every six-month delay in 5G deployment means missing out on $25 billion of the potential benefits according to BCG.

The good news is that with the common-sense solutions above, policymakers can help unlock the full potential of 5G. In doing so, we can partner together, jump starting America’s economic recovery and tackling the big challenges that our country faces.

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