Policymakers Must Free Up More Than 350 MHz of Additional Licensed Spectrum to Meet Growing Demand for Mobile Broadband says Report

Via CTIA Resource Library

Jun 24, 2015

To meet the projected six-fold increase in mobile data, wireless carriers require 50 percent more spectrum by 2019 than is currently licensed for commercial mobile services

Additional licensed spectrum key to America remaining global mobile leader, generating more than $400 billion in annual economic activity and supporting more than 1.3 million jobs

WASHINGTON – To meet America’s growing demand for mobile broadband, the wireless industry will need more than[ 350 megahertz (MHz) of new licensed spectrum by 2019, according to the “Substantial Licensed Spectrum Deficit (2015-2019): Updating the FCC’s Mobile Data Demand Projections,” [PDF] report issued today by The Brattle Group and commissioned by CTIA-The Wireless Association®. In 2010, the FCC projected a licensed spectrum deficit of nearly 300 MHz by 2014, and today’s report updates the FCC’s forecast to identify the additional 366 MHz necessary to meet the estimated six-fold increase in mobile data traffic by 2019.

“Since the FCC released its spectrum plan five years ago to meet the escalating demand for mobile broadband, American consumers fully embraced a connected life. As today’s report shows, we now need to execute on a new five year plan to identify and re-allocate over 350 MHz of new spectrum for licensed mobile broadband services to ensure that the U.S. will continue its global leadership in wireless,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO, CTIA.

In its analysis, The Brattle Group report factors in both unlicensed offload and increased investment by carriers in network technology and infrastructure. After accounting for such variables, a deficit of licensed spectrum remains that totals over 350 MHz – an amount that represents a 54 percent increase over the amount of currently licensed spectrum.

“More cell sites and carrier deployment of new technologies will help address the mobile data demand in coming years, and wireless carriers invested almost $150 billion in them over the last five years, but even with the use of conservative traffic projections, this report illustrates that policymakers must act quickly to free up more licensed spectrum,” said Coleman Bazelon, Principal, The Brattle Group.

Today’s report from The Brattle Group is the latest in a series of white papers released by CTIA on commercial mobile licensed spectrum. The first report, “Mobile Broadband Spectrum: A Vital Resource for the American Economy” [PDF] showed the more than $400 billion in annual economy activity as well as the more than 1.3 million jobs supported by the wireless industry. The second white paper, “Mobile Data Demands: Growth Forecasts Met,” [PDF] noted that the FCC’s mobile data growth projection in 2010 was remarkably accurate when it predicted Americans’ mobile usage would grow in 2014 to 562 petabytes (PB) per month versus the actual 563 PB.

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