China Running Ahead of US in Global Race to 5G

According to a report published by Analysys Mason, a global telecommunications research firm, China holds a narrow lead in 5G readiness ahead of South Korea and the United States. Underscoring the importance of America maintaining its global wireless leadership, additional research by Recon Analytics found that U.S. 4G leadership drove significant economic benefits. CTIA commissioned both reports.

Analysys Mason ranked ten countries on their 5G readiness. The findings show China, South Korea, the United States and Japan as the lead competitors in that order. China's narrow lead is due to a combination of both proactive government policies and industry momentum. The study attributes the United States' high ranking to the fact that America's wireless industry is a global leader in preparing to deploy 5G commercially, with significant investments in these next-generation networks.

In evaluating the current status of the global race to 5G, Analysys Mason studied 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies as well the commercial industry plans of ten countries.

Key findings by Analysys Mason include:

  • All major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch dates and the government has committed to at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each wireless provider.
  • Countries around the world are moving quickly to make spectrum available for 5G. This year alone, the U.K., Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions.
  • At the end of 2018, the U.S. will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3–24 GHz) spectrum availability, a critical band for 5G. The U.S. joins Russia and Canada as the only countries currently without announced plans to allocate mid-band spectrum on an exclusive basis to mobile by the end of 2020.
  • Countries like the U.K. and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps to modernize infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks.

To understand the potential impact the race to 5G may have on America's economy, Recon Analytics conducted a historical analysis of how winning and losing wireless leadership affected the economies of the U.S. and other nations.

Findings from Recon Analytics include:

  • Winning the race to 4G boosted America's GDP by nearly $100B and our 4G launch spurred an 84% increase in wireless-related jobs – benefits that could have gone to other countries had the U.S. not led the world in 4G.
  • U.S. 4G leadership helped secure leading positions in key parts of the global wireless ecosystem, including the app economy.
  • Losing wireless leadership had long-term negative effects on Japan and Europe, contributing to job losses and the contraction of their domestic wireless industries.