New report into low-band also completes the association’s comprehensive assessment of global socio-economic benefits driven by mobile spectrum
22 March 2023, London: The GSMA today laid out the mobile industry’s vision of how to maximise the benefits of mobile spectrum for billions of people worldwide, ahead of the crucial ITU World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-23) in November. The GSMA, which represents the worldwide mobile communications industry, also released a new review of the socio-economic benefits of low-band spectrum, which complements previously released assessments for mid- and high-band spectrum.
Mobile spectrum is a critical national resource for countries worldwide, playing a central role as an enabler of socio-economic development, social mobility, and the fight against climate change. Future allocations of spectrum at national level are guided by decisions made at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s quadrennial WRC conference.
The speed and quality of mobile services are directly linked to spectrum, and decisions taken at WRC-23 have the potential to deliver affordable 5G across the world. The GSMA’s vision ‘For the Benefit of Billions’ explains how governments and regulators can use WRC-23 to develop thriving and competitive communications markets and help to ensure that no one is left behind in a digital age, concluding that:
- Increasing capacity for mobile at WRC-23 will lead to better services delivered from less costly, more sustainable networks.
- Additional low-band spectrum can deliver broad and affordable connectivity, building bridges towards digital inclusion.
- Mid-band expansion can drive city-wide 5G, transforming industries and delivering mobile services that are an asset to their countries, ensuring their industrial agility in the global marketplace.
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: “WRC-23 is a critical inflection point for every government, every business and every person worldwide that use mobile communications. More than five billion people rely on mobile every day, and the evidence is clear: increasing mobile capacity will deliver the maximum socio-economic benefit for billions worldwide, and provide the biggest boost to national economies. Future growth, future jobs and future innovation all depend on policymakers making choices at WRC-23 that give 5G the room to grow and allow it to play a transformational role across all sectors of our societies and economies.”
The GSMA’s vision paper is accompanied by the association’s latest report: The ‘Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G: The importance of low-band spectrum’. This examines how low-band spectrum is a driver of digital equality, reducing the gap between urban and rural areas and delivering affordable connectivity. It concludes that:
- Low-band 5G is expected to drive around $130 billion in economic value in 2030.
- Half of the impact will come from massive IoT (mIoT). Many existing and future IoT use cases require wide area coverage, in addition to population coverage, which low-band spectrum is best suited to provide.
- MIoT applications are set to play an important role in digital transformation across a range of economic sectors, including manufacturing, transport, smart cities and agriculture.
- The rest of the economic impact will be driven by enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and fixed wireless access (FWA), as low bands will play a critical role in delivering high-speed broadband connectivity in areas underserved by fixed networks.
- Without sufficient low-band spectrum, the digital divide is likely to widen, and those living in rural areas will be excluded from the latest digital technologies.
Notes for editors:
At the end of 2022, there were already 252 commercial 5G networks in 86 countries around the world, serving more than 1 billion 5G connections. By 2030, more than 5 billion 5G connections are forecast worldwide, driving almost $1 trillion in GDP growth. While 5G is forecast to reach maturity by 2030 in North America, Europe, China and the GCC countries, it will continue to grow in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) well into the 2030s.
The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.
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