America does not have enough full-power, licensed spectrum to meet exploding demand and fuel 5G-driven innovation.

Congress must act now to restore FCC auction authority and allocate 1500MHz of new 5G mid-band spectrum to secure reliable wireless for all, and America’s leadership of the industries and innovations of the future.

America needs more 5G spectrum.

“Difficult and complex as any transition might be, the United States cannot afford to lag China in allocating mid-band spectrum to the new uses 5G will provide. The United States must find ways to allocate sufficient amounts for licensed spectrum for 5G while supporting other national security priorities not to fall behind.”

James Lewis
Senior Vice President, Pritzker Chair and Director, Strategic Technologies Program, CSIS

“We need more 5G spectrum to meet increasing data demand, support new innovation and enable the speeds and capacity necessary to fuel future innovation. More full-powered, exclusive-licensed spectrum is key to both our economic and national security. Letting auction authority lapse sent the wrong signal to the rest of the world. We need to restore it quickly with a defined set of new auctions.”

Meredith Attwell Baker
President & CEO, CTIA

“We are increasingly dependent on wireless networks […] We need to do more to make sure that they’re reliable and secure. And the truth of it is it’s not just America but our allies — we have to make sure our allies have options for their wireless networks which are secure but frankly also affordable.”

Gina Raimondo
Secretary of Commerce

“To support the next-generation of wireless connectivity, we must work together to free up more spectrum—and especially mid-band airwaves. Because it offers an ideal blend of capacity and coverage, this spectrum is key to delivering on the promise of 5G services and ensuring that it reaches as many people as possible. The bottom line is we need mid-band deployment at scale to foster invention in the new 5G spectrum frontier.”

Jessica Rosenworcel
Chairwoman, FCC

“When in comes to the 5G economy and spectrum blocks for driving the economy, nothing can replace that. We need a sufficient supply of large high-power spectrum blocks, and that is a winning strategy.”

Brendan Carr
Commissioner, FCC

“We need to make sure we have a robust pipeline and that means we need to have a robust spectrum strategy to get there.”

Alan Davidson
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, NTIA

“From expanding economic opportunity, protecting our environment, and more.. A big part of what we need to do is make more spectrum available for commercial use.”

Derek Khlopin
Deputy Associate Administrator, Spectrum Planning and Policy, NTIA

“We are going to find and create a pipeline of [spectrum] bands that can be put to use in the short, medium and long term. We want a pipeline that lasts at least a decade.”

Scott Blake Harris
Senior Spectrum Advisor, NTIA

“We take very seriously the ongoing challenge of spectrum scarcity, which we hear a lot about. We fully recognize the need for a national spectrum strategy…”

Brian Deese
Director, National Economic Council

“5G is the next iteration of how we can move much speedier in wireless telecommunications. But its biggest breakthrough is in the internet of things – smart cities, cleaner energy – which requires wireless communications in real time.”

Mark Warner
Senator (D-VA)

“Releasing commercial spectrum is going to be key in our [U.S.] competitiveness and unleashing new technologies.”

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Representative (R-WA)

“It is imperative to free up mid-band spectrum in order to facilitate the development of next-generation communications technologies, which will in turn create more jobs and opportunities for economic growth.”

Yvette Clark
Representative (D-NY)

“We have to figure out a way to reward agencies for moving forward. Specifically federal agencies need to be more efficient with their spectrum. And as you all are aware, the FCC’s auction authority expires this September and our committee is working hard to ensure that the FCC has tools it needs to continue its work to make spectrum more available.”

Brett Guthrie
Representative (R-KY)

“By coordinating between federal agencies and with private partners, the government can be more efficient with the spectrum we have and create the framework we need to get more commercial users valuable access to this limited resource.”

Doris Matsui
Representative (D-CA)

“Failing to extend the FCC’s auction authority would be an unforced error that could hobble America in the global race to 5G, stunt our economic growth, harm consumers and undermine national security.”

Mignon Clyburn
Former Acting FCC Chairwoman
Robert M. McDowell
Former FCC Commissioner

“America needs a national strategy to make sure there is enough spectrum to build out 5G networks and not fall behind China.”

Mike Rogers
Former Representative from Michigan

“5G promises to be one of the fastest technologies the world has ever seen, but again the country needs more spectrum to realize these aspirations. Successfully closing the digital divide also requires more spectrum in the licensed and unlicensed spaces.”

Nicol Turner Lee
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

“Additional spectrum, particularly licensed mid-band spectrum that provides the performance necessary to support large-scale wireless networks, is needed for the United States to continue to lead and grow the 5G economy.”

Val Ebert
Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group

“The inability to provide adequate capacity to support projected usage growth would lead to poor customer experience, network overload, and otherwise risk forfeiting U.S. leadership in 5G and beyond.”

Dr. Coleman Bazelon
Principal, The Brattle Group

“This report confirms that the wireless industry is a major driver of America’s economy. The substantial investments made by wireless providers, both to acquire spectrum licenses and on their network infrastructure, has translated to significant benefits to the U.S. economy.”

Aren Megerdichian, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon

“More licensed mid-band spectrum is needed to meet growing wireless network demand. Commercial access to the bands described in our study would help scale 5G, giving more people access to consistent and good internet connectivity needed for things like online schooling, remote work and telemedicine.”

Tejas Rao
Managing Partner, Accenture

“In updating this study, we again took a big-picture look at potential spectrum availability that other countries currently have and are considering. Our work makes clear that the U.S. lags in licensed mid-band spectrum, critical to fuel 5G innovation.”

Janette Stewart
Partner, Analysys Mason

“The U.S. should foster rapid 5G deployment by continuing to make spectrum available to commercial wireless… particularly licensed, particularly mid-band.”

Clete Johnson
Senior Fellow, CSIS

FAQ

Answers to questions about the importance of full-power, licensed spectrum to support the future of wireless connectivity.

 

  1. 01 How does full-power, licensed spectrum contribute to America’s economy today?

    Exclusive-use, full-power licensed spectrum is the foundation of our 5G-connected society and the wave of 5G-powered innovation that is transforming the way we live, work, create and play.

    Today, networks built on a foundation of full-power, licensed spectrum contribute $825 billion to America’s economy each year, and support 4.5 million jobs. Based on economic impact, the wireless industry would be America’s seventh largest state and a member of the G20.

    5G networks are built on a platform of exclusive-use, full-power licensed spectrum and will have an even greater impact. According to Boston Consulting Group, these networks will add $1.5 trillion to America’s economy and another 4.5 million jobs.

    We are already beginning to see this impact today. 5G home broadband is bringing real competition to cable and is America’s fastest growing home broadband service. In fact, 95% of new broadband subscribers in 2022 chose 5G home broadband.

  2. 02 Why do we need more full-power, licensed spectrum?

    America does not have enough full-power, licensed spectrum to meet exploding demand for wireless broadband. That has long-term consequences for the reliability of these networks and for America’s global economic and innovation leadership.

    Over the past decade, demand for mobile data grew at 30 times the rate of available spectrum. The pace of mobile data growth is rapidly increasing—last year saw the largest annual increase ever, and Ericsson predicts consumers will use an additional 3x more data by 2027. If we do not make additional full-power, licensed spectrum available to meet this demand, we risk overloading the wireless networks we all rely on every day to live, work and learn.

    While some have suggested using shared or unlicensed spectrum to meet this demand, only full-power licensed spectrum can support the level of reliability and security we need in today’s communications networks.

    This level of reliability is also critical for leading the industries and innovations of the future, such as smart cities and driverless transportation. If we do not make sufficient full-power, licensed spectrum available, those innovations will be developed and exported by other countries, principally China. That has long-term implications for America’s global influence, economic leadership and national security.

    Other countries recognize the challenge posed by growing demand and the opportunity presented by a new wave of 5G-driven innovation. These countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, the UK and France, are moving quickly to fuel their 5G networks with more full-power, licensed spectrum. Today they have 44% more 5G spectrum than the United States, and they plan to release even more in the coming years.

    In short: America needs more licensed spectrum to keep up with accelerating demand and to maintain our global economic and innovation leadership.

  3. 03 Why can’t we use other types of allocations to meet demand?

    Exclusive-use, licensed spectrum is the anchor of the wireless ecosystem, and it is critical to building highly reliable and secure wireless networks. Only exclusive-use, licensed spectrum provides operators with the ability to limit interference to deliver the quality of service expected from enterprise and industrial use cases built around the need for more reliability and security. To power key communications systems for emergency response, public safety also relies on networks leveraging exclusive-use spectrum because of its reliability and resiliency.

    Other spectrum allocation models, such as unlicensed spectrum or complex, dynamic spectrum sharing systems where spectrum use is limited or can be preempted, cause real complications for both operators and consumers. The promise of connected healthcare, smart transportation and other advancements innovators are working toward in the U.S. require a spectrum policy designed to meet those needs reliably and securely.

  4. 04 How much more licensed spectrum do we need?

    A new study from the Brattle Group finds that even optimistic increases in efficiency and additional infrastructure deployment will not be enough to meet projected demand—additional spectrum is the only realistic answer. The U.S. needs at least another 400 megahertz of full-power, licensed spectrum in five years and nearly 1,500 megahertz by 2032 to keep up with long-running trends in mobile data growth.

    According to The Brattle Group, failure to provide more licensed spectrum to meet this demand “could lead to poor customer experience, network overload, and otherwise risk forfeiting U.S. leadership in 5G and beyond.”