Improving Lives through 5G

By: Lynn Whitcher, General Counsel

On Monday, August 10, 2020, the U.S. Government announced the release of 100 megahertz (MHz) of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band spectrum in the 3450-3550 MHz band for commercial 5G deployment. A statement from the White House said this move will help improve every industry and the lives of all Americans by bringing “astonishing and thrilling new opportunities” to the way we work, learn, communicate, and travel.

This 100 MHz of contiguous mid-band spectrum is key to the successful development of the next generation of wireless because 5G requires a significant amount of harmonized mobile spectrum. Per the GSMA, a global trade organization that represents mobile operators, 80-100 MHz of contiguous spectrum in 5G mid-bands (along with about 1 GHz of spectrum per operator in millimeter wave bands) is recommended to help make 5G a success.

Despite the widely anticipated worldwide deployment of 5G networks, the global community remains divided as to the spectrum frequencies on which to develop 5G networks. This question is expected to be settled by the country to launch the first stand-alone 5G network, which is reportedly expected in China by year-end.

Yet it is not simply the development of the new network per se, that that is the end goal so much as the promise of innovation that follows. As noted by former FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, the United States dominates the current wireless ecosystem not because it was the first to deploy any of the prior “G” networks, but because of the innovative technologies developed by American entrepreneurs for those networks.

If necessity is the mother of invention, it is an interesting time for many of the world’s innovators to remain sequestered at home, reliant upon broadband for their connection to the outside. A silver lining to the stress and challenges of these times may be that these entrepreneurs are being inspired to dream of the very revolutionary innovations that may lie at the heart of 5G’s potential, ultimately ushering in the promise of prosperity this technology will bring.  

August 17, 2020
Lynn Whitcher General Counsel Bio