5G coverage has expanded across the US, fueling personal and commercial applications. But as 5G spreads — with roughly 62 percent of Americans able to receive high-speed coverage at home — rising demand, lack of infrastructure, and a political impasse are posing roadblocks to pushing it further. Approximately 206.4 million Americans can receive high-speed 5G coverage at home, according to data by Broadband Now, an independent broadband availability website.
5G Americas recently released its annual white paper discussing the lack of activity at the Federal Communications Commission in making more mid-band spectrum available for cellular broadband. Midband spectrum is an industry-defined term for the spectrum between 1 GHz and 7 GHz spectrum. This is the sweet spot for cellular broadband because these bands of spectrum can cover the distances needed for cell phone data with a decent amount of bandwidth. The paper laments that there are no actions currently at the FCC to consider
With T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G buildout at 275 million points of presence (POPs) and a year-end target of 300 million POPs, the question is: How easy or difficult is it to cover that last 25 million people? “It gets harder and harder. And as a rule of thumb, I would say that it’s about 3 times harder for every 10 million that you add.
We are gathered at this summit because someday soon someone will make the very first 6G connection. And we need to prepare now for the wireless world it will bring. Much like in the early days of 5G, the scrum for 6G is already intensifying.
Everybody in the wireless ecosystem is clamoring for Congress to reinstate the spectrum auction authority of the Federal Communications Commission. One former deputy at the FCC speculates that the delay may be related to the Department of Defense (DoD) wanting to wait for a spectrum report that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is working on. NTIA is doing an assessment of the use of the 3.1-3.45 GHz spectrum.
On April 18, 2023, Federal Communications Commission leadership wrote to Congressional leadership to restore the Commission's spectrum action authority. The FCC's auction authority expired for the first time in the program’s 30-year history on March 9, 2023.
In comments submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) concerning a National Spectrum Strategy (NSS)—an initiative that plans to unify federal spectrum strategy and provide a roadmap for future allocations—our coalition is urging the Administration to recognize the value of the 12 GHz band and to call upon other agencies, primarily the Federal Communications Commission, to maximize the 12 GHz band’s usage.
Mobile data demand is exploding, with aggregate data downloaded quadrupling in the last seven years. New and innovative uses enabled by 5G, as well as the prospect of 6G applications, point towards further increases in expected demand for mobile network capacity.
T-Mobile has long been a participant in the Federal Communications Commission's spectrum auctions, which the Commission has used for 30 years to rapidly assign licenses. These auctions fuel the U.S. economy—they’ve returned $233 billion to taxpayers so far, and once armed with this spectrum, wireless companies have spent another $635 billion building out networks.
Although T-Mobile paid $304 million for 7,156 licenses of 2.5 GHz spectrum in 2022's summer auction, it now finds itself in the awkward position of not being able to deploy this spectrum. The reason is that Congress recently allowed the Federal Communications Commission's auction authority to lapse.