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The 5G Economy




5G, the next generation of wireless, is here, rolling out in communities across the country.

Today, the wireless industry enables 4.5 million jobs and contributes roughly $825 billion each year to the American economy.1

5G is even more transformative—making our lives better, our communities safer—and helping our nation recover and grow economically.




economic contribution


Wireless Technology.

It’s never been more important to communicate with those around us. Wireless technology helps us do that by transmitting and receiving voice, data, video, and more across radio airwaves. And this technology is evolving so quickly that it is playing an even bigger role in our lives every day.

As we constantly push the boundaries of wireless technology, our lives will be powered by next-generation products and services that will provide unmatched levels of scalability, capability, and efficiency.

a glowing tablet device with a blue and orange ball floating above it

The Evolution to 5G.

From having the capability to make phone calls and send short text messages, to connecting to hundreds of millions of devices and delivering lightning-fast speeds, wireless technology has come a long way since its introduction almost four decades ago.


1G or “first generation” wireless was an analog cellular system that launched commercially on October 13, 1983.

Lauched in



~19 kbps


2G introduced digital technologies that used spectrum more efficiently so that it could serve more people and deliver more applications, such as text messages, helping us all communicate.

Lauched in



9.6-14.4 kbps


3G improved communications by supporting even more diverse applications, including mobile internet access, mobile gaming, video calls, and streaming audio and video.

Lauched in

early 2000’s


~X kbps


4G delivered even faster speeds, improving experiences for customers when using data-intensive applications, increasing data upload and download speeds, and supporting HD applications.

Lauched in



100 Mbps


5G supports more diverse applications and more connections; providing more capacity, lower latency, and increased speed. 5G will handle the exponential growth in demand for capacity, connectivity, and capability – delivering a better, faster experience for all.

Lauched in

Late 2018


Peak of 10 Mbps


Connecting Everyone and Everything.

Huge amounts of money are being invested in installing and maintaining backpack- or pizza box-sized small cells to transmit 5G wireless signals and form the backbone of next-generation networks.

5G brings a wide range of economic and social benefits, including millions of jobs in communities across America.


new jobs




in economic growth

America's wireless companies are investing an estimated $275 billion into building 5G networks.2 This will create 4.5 million new jobs and add $1.5T to the economy.3 This 5G-powered transformation of our economy will happen across the country, including big cities and smaller communities.

animation style rendering of a city block
100x Faster

100x Faster

With 4G, it can take almost six minutes to download a full movie. That same movie can be downloaded in about 15 seconds with 5G.
100x More Devices

100x More Devices

5G will be able to connect up to 100 times more devices, including everything from baby monitors to cars, smartwatches, drones, VR headsets and more.
5x More Responsive

5x More Responsive

5G's low latency (or quick reaction time) will make breakthroughs such as remote patient monitoring and even remote surgery possible.

Industry Benefits.

Every industry, including healthcare, energy, transportation, law enforcement, e-commerce, logistics, and education will be positively impacted by 5G.

That’s the power of 5G. It will touch every facet of our lives, enabling us to be safer, think smarter, and react quicker.

Here are some examples.


5G technology will enable services such as remote patient monitoring and even remote surgery through connected healthcare devices. This could generate $305 billion in healthcare cost savings every year.4


5G technology will ensure self-driving cars reduce emissions by up to 90 percent, cut travel time by 40 percent, and save 22,000 lives annually. 5G will save $450B annually in transportation costs.5

Smart Cities

Wireless-powered smart city solutions will deliver $160 billion in benefits and savings through things like lower energy use and less congestion.6 Sensors will monitor the health and safety of critical infrastructure like buildings, roads, and bridges, while connected trash cans, bus stops, light poles and more will help cities operate more efficiently.



5G will give students expanded opportunities to learn through immersive applications such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) thanks to the lower latency of 5G wireless networks.


Drone commerce is expected to add more than $80 billion to the economy and create 100,000 new jobs as 5G will unlock this technology’s full commercial potential.7


5G allows the energy grid to be more accurately monitored, improving management, reducing costs, and adding $1.8 trillion in revenue to the U.S. economy.8

Bringing the 5G Economy to Life.

5G networks are an economic engine, enabling new services, companies, and applications. With so many industries and communities standing to benefit from the 5G economy, it's important that we move quickly to foster the right environment for American wireless innovation.

A study from Boston Consulting Group found five key success factors to build a dynamic 5G economy in the U.S. over the next decade:

  1. Building out the network infrastructure to power these 5G networks to ensure Americans quickly adopt this next-generation of wireless connectivity
  2. Unleashing a sufficient amount of spectrum, particularly mid-band spectrum, to power 5G
  3. A powerful innovation ecosystem
  4. A dynamic business climate that is conducive to technological innovation and
  5. A workforce equipped with the skills to leverage these technological changes.
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Building the 5G Economy

Policy Solutions

Some of the policies that need to be addressed include:


Freeing Up More Spectrum

Spectrum is the critical input for wireless service, and we need a pipeline of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum auctions to meet Americans’ growing demand for more mobile services. Freeing up new airwaves will help providers meet that demand for the foreseeable future.
multicolored lines and dots ordered in rows

Modernizing Rules for Wireless Infrastructure

Traditional 200-foot cell towers are governed by rules designed specifically for such towers. Tomorrow's 5G networks will rely on small cell antennas the size of backpacks or pizza boxes, and they shouldn’t be governed by the same rules. While progress has been made on the federal level, siting rules across the country should continue to be modernized for the deployment of modern wireless infrastructure.
a wireless transmitter installed on top of a street lamp

Creating Permanent Federal Regulations

Wireless consumers deserve to be protected. One of the ways to do that is by setting permanent, common sense federal regulations for interstate services like mobile broadband. Innovation and investment in tomorrow's networks also need to be promoted to ensure an open internet and protect consumer privacy.
a building
  1. The Importance of Licensed Spectrum and Wireless Telecommunications to the American Economy, Compass Lexecon, December 7, 2022, at
  2. How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities, Accenture, January 12, 2017, at
  3. 5G Promises Massive Job and GDP Growth in the US, Boston Consulting Group, February 2, 2021, at
  4. Wireless Connectivity Fuels Industry Growth and Innovation in Energy, Health, Public Safety, and Transportation, Deloitte, January 19, 2017, at
  5. Wireless Connectivity Fuels Industry Growth and Innovation in Energy, Health, Public Safety, and Transportation, Deloitte, January 19, 2017, at
  6. How 5G Can Help Municipalities Become Vibrant Smart Cities, Accenture, January 12, 2017, at
  7. Commercial Wireless Networks: The Essential Foundation of the Drone Industry, CTIA, November 11, 2017, at
  8. Wireless Connectivity Fuels Industry Growth and Innovation in Energy, Health, Public Safety, and Transportation, Deloitte, January 19, 2017, at
  9. How America’s 4G Leadership Propelled the U.S. Economy, Recon Analytics, April 16, 2018.