WASHINGTON, Sept. 28,
2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Three mid-range spectrum bands
offer the greatest potential for addressing the spectrum imbalance
facing the US commercial wireless industry, according to a new
Accenture (NYSE: ACN) study commissioned by CTIA, the wireless
The report, titled Spectrum Allocation in the United States analyzes the
current state of radio spectrum allocation, the increasing need for
licensed spectrum in the wireless industry and the paths forward to
support mobile broadband and 5G network expansion.
"More licensed mid-band spectrum is needed to meet growing
wireless network demand," said Tejas
Rao, managing director, Accenture. "Commercial access to the
bands described in our study would help scale 5G, giving more
people access to consistent and good internet connectivity needed
for things like online schooling, remote work and
According to the study, the US wireless industry currently has
access to 5% of lower mid-band spectrum, while unlicensed spectrum
users have access to 7x and government users have access to 12x
that amount. The study finds that the following three blocks of
lower mid-band spectrum offer the greatest potential for 5G
- 350 MHz in the 3.1-4.5 GHz band: The lower 3 GHz band
offers reliable coverage and adequate range of coverage, making it
ideal for 5G data traffic. This band is adjacent to the recently
auctioned 3.45 GHz band, which would help drive lower costs for
device manufacturers when developing products for a wider
- 400 MHz in the 4.4-4.94 GHz band: The mid 4 GHz band is
a wide contiguous block of spectrum that provides high capacity for
5G networks. It has been allocated to wireless carriers in many
other nations, meaning a similar allocation in the US would support
international harmonization efforts yielding cost benefits.
- 400 MHz in the 7.125-8.4 GHz band: The 7 to 8.4 GHz
range is a significant block of higher frequency contiguous
spectrum. The capacity characteristics of this range make it ideal
for serving densely populated areas such as urban centers, where
traffic requirements are greater.
Allocating these three bands for commercial wireless use would
result in unlicensed users having access to 1.19x and
government users having access to 1.34x the amount of spectrum as
commercial wireless users.
"America has the world's leading 5G networks but with data
growth doubling every year we need a pipeline of mid-band spectrum
to keep up with demand," said Meredith
Attwell Baker, president and CEO, CTIA. "Mid-band spectrum
is key to building 5G networks because of its blend of capacity and
range. This study details why balancing government and commercial
spectrum access is critical to maintaining and securing our
leadership of the emerging 5G economy."
According to another recent commissioned CTIA report, other
countries lead the US with an average of 530 MHz of lower mid-band
spectrum available for commercial wireless networks. Without
government action, the US is projected to continue to trail by an
average of 413 MHz in five years' time.
Accenture examined the current state of spectrum allocation in the
US, across 4 groupings of bands, which for the purposes of this
report have been defined as: Low-Band (0.3 – 3 GHz), Lower Mid-Band
(3 – 8.4 GHz), Upper Mid-Band (8.4 – 24 GHz), and High-Band. Each
MHz of spectrum was categorized by stakeholder and use. To conduct
this analysis a combined data set was constructed by with data
sourced from the NTIA Spectrum Allocation Chart, FCC Spectrum
Auctions since 1994, the FCC Code of Federal Regulations (Title 47,
Part 15), FCC information on specific bands and band plans, and the
FCC ULS Database, to create a holistic view on the spectrum
allocation landscape as it stands at a point in time.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
CTIA® (www.ctia.org) represents the U.S. wireless communications
industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that
enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The
association's members include wireless carriers, device
manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies.
CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies
that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The
association also coordinates the industry's voluntary best
practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless
industry and co-produces the industry's leading wireless tradeshow.
CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.
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