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January 11, 2018

New 5G Standards Sharpen Need for More Spectrum & Modern Siting Rules .

New 5G Standards Sharpen Need for More Spectrum & Modern Siting Rules


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Tom Sawanobori
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

This is going to be a big year for the evolution of next-generation 5G wireless networks—a fact highlighted by the recent announcement of the first guidelines for 5G networks by 3GPP, the industry’s standard-setting body.

Released just before the end of 2017—nearly two years faster than originally planned—the standards lay the groundwork for 5G’s new functionalities, like ultrafast broadband (greater than 1 Gigabit speeds) and very responsive, low latency service.

This next generation of wireless is expected to be 100 times faster, 5 times more responsive, and support 100 times more devices than 4G. All this strength and capacity will unlock autonomous vehicle, drone, and Internet of Things advancements, transforming the economy, creating jobs, and improving the lives of all Americans.

Setting these first standards means that wireless carriers and equipment and device manufacturers can start building and implementing the next generation of radio technologies to support 5G networks.

But standards won’t be enough for the US to retain its wireless leadership without government action. The race to 5G is on and countries across the world are competing to deploy 5G and bring the benefits of being the world’s leader in wireless to their people and industries. As the leader in 4G, the U.S. became home to the app economy, generating billions in economic growth and bringing new innovations to all Americans.

It’s critical that the U.S. maintains its global leadership in wireless in order to attract new investment and produce innovations that will harness the power of 5G.

Recent FCC initiatives to unlock new flexible use spectrum bands, including the 600MHz band from last year’s incentive auction and key high-band spectrum, will help enable initial deployments. We also need to free up more mid-band spectrum to compete with operators in Asia. CTIA has been a vocal champion of freeing up these bands, and in pro-investment ways that get these airwaves into the hands of consumers quickly.

But to make our 5G leadership a reality, we need to increase our wireless capacity. This means we need hundreds of MHz of spectrum and thousands of small cells—pizza box-sized antennas—installed everywhere from utility poles and street lamps to small buildings.

Federal policymakers can help by creating a new spectrum pipeline to support low-, mid-, and high-band 5G spectrum needs. And all levels of government should support a modern framework for wireless infrastructure deployment that includes reasonable fees and approval timelines for infrastructure applications.

If policymakers act quickly to support 5G deployment, Accenture projects the wireless industry will invest $275 billion to roll out 5G networks, creating 3 million new jobs and unlocking $500 billion in economic benefits for Americans everywhere.

Big numbers for a big country. Good news indeed.

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