Report: China leads in 5G race
April 17, 2018
China holds a narrow lead in overall 5G readiness ahead of South Korea and the US, according to a report from global telecommunications research firm, Analysys Mason for US mobile industry trade body the CTIA. Underscoring the importance of America maintaining its global wireless leadership, additional research by Recon Analytics found that US 4G leadership drove significant economic benefits.
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 down 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.
“The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “I’m confident that America can win and reap the significant economic benefits of 5G wireless due to our world-leading commercial investments. Today’s research highlights the importance of policymaker action in 2018 to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to mid-band spectrum as part of a broader spectrum pipeline plan. I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race.”
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 UK, Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions.
- At the end of 2018, the US will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3–24GHz) spectrum availability, a critical band for 5G. The US 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 such as the U.K. and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps to modernise infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks.
“Our research shows China with a slight lead in 5G readiness, with South Korea and the US close behind,” advised David Abecassis, Partner in Analysys Mason said. “The US led the world in 4G, and the US wireless industry is leading global 5G research and development with aggressive commercial 5G deployment plans that will benefit US consumers.”
To understand the potential impact the race to 5G may have on America’s economy, Recon Analytics conducted an historical analysis of how winning and losing wireless leadership effected the economies of the US and other nations.
“When countries lose global leadership in a generation of wireless, jobs are shed and technology innovation gets exported overseas,” said Roger Entner, Founder, Recon Analytics. “Conversely, leading the world in wireless brings significant economic benefits, as the US has seen with its 4G leadership. These are the serious stakes that face American policymakers in the escalating global race to 5G.”
Findings from Recon Analytics include:
- Winning the race to 4G boosted America’s GDP by nearly $100 billion and its 4G launch spurred an 84 per cent increase in wireless-related jobs – benefits that could have gone to other countries had the US not led the world in 4G.
- US 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.