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August 2, 2017

Op-Ed (Wireless Week): The FCC’s Mid-Band Spectrum Vote is Key for America’s 5G Leadership .

Op-Ed (Wireless Week): The FCC’s Mid-Band Spectrum Vote is Key for America’s 5G Leadership

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CTIA CEO Meredith Attwell Baker
Meredith Attwell Baker
President & CEO

This Thursday marks an important step in securing America’s leadership in the next-generation of wireless. The Federal Communications Commission will begin exploring how to unlock mid-band spectrum – those airwaves between 3.7 GHz and 24 GHz – to meet Americans’ mobile demands.

From China and Japan to Australia and the United Kingdom, countries around the world have identified mid-band spectrum as a key set of frequencies to deliver next-generation 5G wireless services and unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things. These countries are moving aggressively, already auctioning or allocating swaths of mid-band airwaves so their wireless industries can develop the mobile devices, chipsets, and infrastructure that put this spectrum to use.

The United States needs to keep pace, especially now that wireless has become Americans’ preferred communications platform. The evidence is in – and it’s overwhelming: Over the past two years, U.S. wireless data has increased over 200 percent.

Mobile data demand will continue to surge. Cisco predicts that the traffic flowing across our wireless networks will grow five-fold by 2021. That growth will be driven in part by an estimated 600 million mobile connections that will come online by the end of the decade – nearly all connected to 4G and 5G networks.

These numbers make Thursday’s FCC vote to study new mid-band spectrum all the more important. Rural communities will benefit from new mid-band spectrum, which travels farther than high-band spectrum, meaning it offers a blend of wireless coverage and capacity for places like Texas, where I grew up.

For more, read the full Op-Ed on Wireless Week.

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