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April 11, 2019

Five Key Takeaways from the 5G Summit .

Five Key Takeaways from the 5G Summit


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Nick Ludlum
Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer

With the first 5G networks rolling out across America, last week’s CTIA 5G Summit brought together leaders from business and government that are making 5G a reality.

More than 300 attendees heard how these companies are leading a wave of innovation that is unlocking transformative advances across industries, creating millions of new jobs and driving billions in economic growth. The Summit also shone a spotlight on the free-market policies that are helping the U.S. lead the world in 5G.

Here are five key takeaways from the event:

The first 5G networks are here.

Speakers discussed the progress they have made to roll out 5G networks and devices—ahead of schedule—to make America the world leader in large-scale commercial 5G deployments and propel the U.S. from third place to a tie for first with China in the race to 5G.


“2019 is the year of 5G. 5G is here. We don't have to wait for it anymore… And the cellular industry should be very proud that we are actually launching 5G one year ahead of schedule in many locations.” – Qualcomm President, Cristiano Amon


“5G is here, and it's getting bigger quickly… All major U.S. carriers have already announced that they're in the middle of deploying 5G.” – AT&T Business CMO, Mo Katibeh


“No country in the world has advanced 5G as fast as the U.S. has in the last 12 months” – Nokia North America CTO, Mike Murphy

But the race to 5G isn’t over yet and other nations are pushing hard to win.

The last year saw great progress thanks to industry investment, federal and state efforts to modernize siting rules, and FCC action to quickly auction off the most high-band spectrum of any country in the world. But the 5G race is far from over and other nations are still competing to bring home the first-mover economic and innovation benefits of 5G.


“This race has barely begun. There's going to be an intense phase of running this race and investing in these networks... And we are up against formidable competition. The Chinese machine has incredible momentum, they may be slow getting out of the blocks, but they are going to run a very fast race. And if we sit on our laurels and sit on our hands and believe this race is won… we will lose this race really badly.” – T-Mobile USA CTO, Neville Ray


“There is still a lot to be done to ensure that the U.S. will continue to lead the race to 5G. And we have to accelerate our efforts, because China is not remaining standstill. In fact, they have more spectrum, more wireless infrastructure, and more capital than any other country.” – Sprint President & CEO, Michel Combes


“Our latest research shows the United States leapt up the 5G rankings, we’re tied with China leading the world in 5G. This is great news, but we can't celebrate yet. Our global rivals are committed to 5G. China's ambitions grow day by day. To win, we need a lot of good years.” – CTIA President & CEO, Meredith Attwell Baker

To encourage the innovation and investment needed to maintain our global wireless leadership, we need a free market approach.

Speakers highlighted the critical role that free-market principles played in winning the race to 4G and in helping the wireless industry lead the world in deploying the first large-scale commercial 5G deployments. Policymakers heralded these proven principles as key to harnessing the power of competition to enhance our nation’s economic and national security.


“We think the best way for the government to proceed is to create the building blocks for 5G innovation, and then let the private sector take the lead. That means getting the spectrum out there, allowing for infrastructure to be deployed at scale, and then letting the private markets take the lead.” – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai


“I want to note how well we did on 4G, we will apply the exact same free enterprise principles for 5G. That is our policy. We will continue the process of auctioning off spectrum and then letting the private companies run with it.” – National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow

Our 5G leadership also hinges on our ability to allocate more wireless spectrum, especially mid-band.

Leaders from across the industry shared the need for more spectrum to fuel 5G networks, keep pace with other nations, and stimulate our economy. A five-year auction schedule would unleash a spectrum stimulus that would add 1.8 million jobs and $391 billion to the U.S. economy.



“We need a lot of mid-band and we need it right away… It’s really important that we get access to spectrum and we get it with clear deadlines. The sooner we set deadlines, everything kind of marches to it.” – U.S. Cellular President & CEO Ken Meyers


“Supplying spectrum is not going to be a problem when it comes to the 5G future. In terms of mid-band, we do have some work to do, but that work is being done, and we hope to be able to deliver some results in the near future.” – FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai


“Last year, we proved that we can act decisively on 5G. We need the same commitment now around mid-band. The good news is that the Administration and the FCC have identified the right bands. It's now all about execution.”- CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker

We’re seeing glimpses of our 5G future and it looks bright.

Executives also highlighted the life-changing innovations and social good that 5G will power—from remote surgery and autonomous vehicles, to smart manufacturing and more.


“Locally, you can think about smart communities and how they’re bringing together capabilities. Venues and campuses are examples there… Nationally, we see things like gaming and drones service and telehealth are all going to be big opportunities.” – Samsung Electronics North America President & CEO, Tim Baxter


“With 5G, because of the high bandwidth and the low latency, we're able to use computer vision to see the manufacturing line, to be able to pick out defectivea or flawed components right out of the line in real time and continue with the flow and have much better production and much higher quality downstream.” – Intel SVP & GM of Network Platforms Group, Sandra Rivera


“Our 5G lab in New York and four others around the country have assembled a very exciting collection of entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers and academics, and given them unfettered access to the 5G network to see if their ideas are viable… Just to give you an idea of what they're up to, one company is working on providing surgeons with three dimensional images of human tissue during surgery to enable them to be even more exact during critical procedures.” – Verizon Consumer Group EVP & President, Ronan Dunne


“There is no industry out there that is not trying to figure out what 5G can do for them.” – Ericsson North America President & CEO, Niklas Heuveldop

Thank you to our who’s-who of policy and industry leaders for sharing their 5G visions with us—their presence speaks volumes about how important the next generation of wireless and the policies that shape it are to our country.

On our website, you can find a full recap of the 5G Summit, as well as CTIA’s National Spectrum Strategy, a Global Race to 5G Spring 2019 Update, and research on the economic benefits of a 5-year schedule of spectrum auctions.

CTIA 5G Summit

CTIA’s 5G Summit brought together leaders from business and government who are making 5G a reality.

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