Research on Economic Benefits of Clearing Spectrum for 5G Networks Published by Analysis Group

June 2, 2020

5G wireless networks will enable significant improvements in mobile communications, bringing increases in data transfer speed and network capacity. To achieve these goals, wireless providers will need to invest in new wireless infrastructure.

One step in this buildout is the reallocation for use by 5G networks of 280 MHz of mid-band spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz (known as C-Band spectrum), which is currently used by satellite operators. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a draft order proposing two different timelines for clearing the required C-Band spectrum: an accelerated schedule (by September 30, 2023), under which satellite operators would receive incentive payments; and an FCC-mandated schedule (by September 30, 2025).

An Analysis Group team led by Principal David Sosa and Vice President Carletta Wong estimated the economic impact of clearing the spectrum on the accelerated schedule relative to the mandated schedule. Building on earlier research modeling the impact of mid-band infrastructure spending for 5G on US GDP and job creation, the team estimated that clearing the required C-Band spectrum by September 2023 would result in incremental benefits of as much as $54 billion in GDP and 261,000 jobs created through September 2032.

The research, which was supported by Verizon Communications, is detailed in a white paper coauthored by Dr. Sosa and Ms. Wong, 5G Infrastructure Buildout and the Economic Impact of Faster Clearing of C-Band Spectrum in the United States. “The sooner U.S. service providers are able to deploy spectrum for 5G uses, the sooner Americans will begin to enjoy the economic benefits of this investment and the larger those benefits will be,” they write.

Read the white paper