It’s time to chart a course for 5G success

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel returned as a Commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission on August 11, 2017. Commissioner Rosenworcel previously served as Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and previously served in the same role on the Committee under the leadership of Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

This is shaping up to be a pivotal year for the wireless leadership ambitions of the United States.  Fifth generation wireless technologies are finally moving to market.  Countries around the world are racing to reap the economic and civic rewards of being the first to deploy their service.  While the United States can claim that it has been at the front of the pack in the past, its success in the future — especially when no spectrum auctions are scheduled — is far from secure.

If our experience with wireless technology cycles has shown us anything, it is that being first matters.  After trailing our European counterparts in the roll-out of third generation mobile services, we were the first to deploy the next generation — known as 4G.

That leadership paid dividends.  Today, with only five percent of the world’s population, we make up 15 percent of global 4G connections.  Our companies run the operating systems on 9 out of 10 smartphones worldwide and our wireless services generate $400 billion in annual economic activity.  In short, we led and our economy — and our citizens — benefited immensely.

We shouldn’t rest on our laurels.  We are now on the cusp of a 5G revolution.  This next generation of wireless service will be strikingly different from those that came before.  While earlier evolutions improved the speeds of connections, the move to 5G will mean much more.

 

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