US improves 5G readiness, but lags in 5G infrastructure

The United States has improved its position in global 5G readiness, according to a new report from research firm Analysys Mason.
Verizon 5G network by Ericsson
But US is behind China is terms of 5G infrastructure. US telecom operators such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, among others, have started making huge investment in fiber and 5G networks.

Availability of spectrum to the wireless industry over the next five years will help secure America’s 5G leadership, add $391 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.8 million new jobs according to research by Analysis Group.

CTIA has added these two research reports in its recommendations for the National Spectrum Strategy to the Donald Trump Administration, Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO, said.

US has moved from third place in 2018 to first place tie with China – in terms of the global 5G readiness. South Korea, Japan and the United Kingdom follow. SK Telecom, a leading mobile operator, today announced its 5G pricing for data customers.

The improvement in the US ranking is attributed to significant investment by America’s wireless industry in 5G networks as well as the government action to reform infrastructure policies and offer more spectrum.

The U.S. scored the highest across all countries surveyed in Analysys Mason’s report on industry 5G commitment. By the end of 2019, America will have almost double the number of its next highest rival.

The U.S. leads in the availability of high- and low-band spectrum for 5G but is behind in the availability of mid-band spectrum. Mid-band spectrum is critical to 5G due to its combination of high capacity and ability to cover large geographic areas.

Other countries plan to make over four times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States by 2020.

While the U.S. has significantly improved its position in the 5G race, a number of challenges remain.

Foremost amongst them is China retains a significant infrastructure advantage. A recent study showed China with more than 14 wireless cell sites per 10,000 people, compared to 4.7 in the United States, and more than five sites per every 10 square miles, compared to 0.4 in the US.

China and other countries also possess significant advantages in the availability of mid-band spectrum for 5G.

While the U.S. leads in planned commercial deployments in 2019, China’s wireless operators are conducting hundreds of large-scale 5G trials across the country and have announced plans for pre-commercial 5G deployments within 2019.

David Sosa, principal, Analysis Group and Janette Stewart, principal at Analysys Mason, were part of the 5G research project.