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October 30, 2019

MWC19 Los Angeles Shows Off U.S. 5G Innovation .

MWC19 Los Angeles Shows Off U.S. 5G Innovation

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Nick Ludlum
Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer

Leaving MWC LA last week, I was struck by something Asha Keddy, Intel’s Corporate VP & GM Next Generation and Standards, said during her keynote panel: technology is predictable, but what people do with it is not.

Which is exactly what makes the U.S. wireless industry such an exciting sector to be part of right now. Our companies are building the platform on which tomorrow’s innovations will be built—many of which we haven’t even imagined yet.

And we’re doing it quickly: the U.S. has the first—and fastest—5G networks in the world, with network deployments in over thirty cities.

As CTIA Chairman and U.S. Cellular President & CEO Ken Meyers said during his conversation with CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, the 5G rollout is moving faster than any generation before it.

CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, and U.S. Cellular President & CEO Ken Meyers at MWC19 Los Angeles
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CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, and U.S. Cellular President & CEO Ken Meyers at MWC19 Los Angeles

While these deployments are just the beginning, providers are already reaching significant 5G coverage goals. In fact, Jan Geldmacher, President of Sprint Business, shared during his keynote that Sprint’s 5G deployments are already covering 16 million people, while T-Mobile announced that by the end of the year, they expect their 600 MHz 5G network will cover 200 million people throughout the U.S.

And it’s not just the big cities that are going to experience 5G—Ken discussed U.S. Cellular’s plans to bring next-generation networks to smaller markets throughout Wisconsin and Iowa in early 2020—cities like Oshkosh and Cedar Rapids.

All this progress has been made possible because of the investment and engagement of the U.S. wireless industry, as well as the commitment of policymakers.

FCC Chairman Pai and Meredith discussed the unbelievable work of the agency to achieve some firsts of their own this year—the first ever U.S. high-band auction and the first time the agency has hosted THREE spectrum auctions in one year. With these actions, as Acting NTIA Administrator Diane Rinaldo said, we’ve allocated more spectrum for licensed, commercial use than any other country.

While that’s great news, we can’t stop there.

All this progress has been made possible because of the investment and engagement of the U.S. wireless industry, as well as the commitment of policymakers.
Nick Ludlum, SVP & Chief Communications Officer

As Ken said, we need mid-band, mid-band, mid-band. And lots of it.

Commissioners Starks, Rosenworcel, and O’Rielly all echoed this cry in their remarks. With the 3.5 GHz auction set for next June and a final announcement expected out of the FCC on 3.7-4.2 GHz by the end of the year, mid-band allocations are starting to become a reality. Releasing more spectrum is essential to help us “lean into the future” as Commissioner Carr discussed in his keynote.

He called on the industry to describe this future and paint the picture of how 5G will change lives. From AR and VR applications for education, grocery shopping and law enforcement training to increases in productivity and innovations in healthcare, he started us off with a nice initial sketch.

And speakers from across the industry helped to fill in the detail and color.

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Boingo CEO Mike Finely and President & CEO of the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission Kathryn Schloessman at MWC19 Los Angeles.

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Jan Geldmacher, President of Sprint Business, gives a keynote at MWC19 Los Angeles.

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Peter Jarich, Head of GSMA Intelligence leads a panel with Asha Keddy, Corporate VP & General Manager Next Generation and Standards and 5G Executive Officer, Intel; Bejoy Pankajakshan, Chief Strategy Officer, Mavenir; and Ricky Corker, President, Customer Operations, Americas, Nokia.

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Tami Erwin, EVP and Group CEO of Verizon Business, gives a keynote at MWC19 Los Angeles.

During her keynote, EVP and Group CEO of Verizon Business Tami Erwin talked about how 5G is going to transform business and blend the physical and the digital in new ways. She shared how 5G is going to power the fourth industrial revolution: connecting more and more devices, allowing businesses to customize their network experience and enabling operational efficiencies like we’ve never seen before.

So much of this potential comes from the agility of 5G networks. And for this, we have equipment manufacturers to thank. They are building technologies—like Ericsson’s exciting end-to-end network slicing achievement—that make 5G networks feel custom built, while still being adaptable and easy to deploy. Asha said that Intel is intently focused on making 5G deployments simpler and building networks hand-in-hand with their customers while Ricky Corker, President of Customer Operations, Americas, shared that 5G is a game changer for Nokia, allowing them to move data loads around the network in significantly more efficient ways.

Beyond 5G’s potential for big, industrial businesses, the U.S. wireless industry is also investing in the companies and ideas of the 5G future—from Verizon’s EdTech Challenge winners and their 5G Labs, to Sprint’s announcement of a partnership with Arizona State University to invest in 5G research and development, to Qualcomm’s $200 million fund for startups that are investing in 5G uses beyond phones.

And of course, 5G will make our fun, well, even more fun, including by enhancing our games, sports and entertainment.

Jan spoke about Hatch, a library of games made available on Sprint’s 5G devices, which will take advantage of 5G’s low latency and power. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon are bringing 5G to stadiums and arenas across the country, which will allow fans to share and even enhance their game-day experience through AR and VR applications. And Boingo CEO Mike Finely and President & CEO of the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission Kathryn Schloessman talked about how connectivity has changed how people attend events—wireless can now help you avoid lines, scan your ticket and even manage your transportation to and from.

To realize this 5G future we have to keep investing, innovating and putting the right policies in place to support the demand for tomorrow’s connected technologies. I have great faith in this industry and our policymakers to do just that.

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