Review of 5G mid-band spectrum for CTIA finds U.S. is trailing as other countries plan to make over 4X more licensed mid-band spectrum available by 2020

06 February 2019

Press release

Washington, DC – Mid-band spectrum is critical to 5G but the United States trails other countries in mid-band availability, according to a 2018 Analysys Mason study, which shows other countries plan to make over four times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the U. S. by 2020.

“Thanks to the investment of America’s wireless industry, and the leadership of the Federal Communications Commission, we lead the world in 5G deployment and the first commercial 5G networks are live in cities across the country,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “Making more mid-band spectrum available will secure our long-term wireless leadership and boost our economy. The FCC is already making great progress freeing up mid-band and we’re confident that under the leadership of Chairman Pai, we’ll can quickly close the close the gap.”

Next-generation 5G networks rely on a mix of high-, mid- and low-band spectrum. Low-band spectrum carries signals over long distances and was the foundation for the first four generations of wireless networks. High-band spectrum travels much shorter distances, but offers the greater capacity required for data-intensive applications. Mid-band spectrum blends the attributes of both, delivering high capacity across larger geographic areas.

In 2018, Analysys Mason compiled the mid-band spectrum plans of 13 countries, including the United States. Key findings included that by the end of 2020:

  • On average, countries included in the study will make 4 times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States.
  • Japan is planning to make ten times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States.
  • China is planning to make more than seven times more licensed mid-band spectrum available than the United States; the United Kingdom is planning to make nearly five times more licensed mid-band spectrum available.

“Resources available to U.S. operators are improving, but spectrum in the mid-band remains limited compared to other leading 5G markets,” said Janette Stewart, a Principal with Analysys Mason and the lead author of the report, “Mid-band spectrum will be key to wider-area 5G coverage.”

The Analysys Mason report is available on CTIA’s website.

About Analysys Mason

Analysys Mason is a leading global adviser on telecoms, media and technology. Analysys Mason works with operators, regulators and end users to design winning strategies that deliver measurable results, make informed decisions based on market intelligence and analytical rigor, develop innovative proposals to gain competitive advantage and implement operational solutions to improve business efficiency.  With around 250 staff in 16 offices worldwide, we are respected internationally for our exceptional quality of work, independence and flexibility in responding to client needs. Analysys Mason has been operating for over 30 years. Over the past 3 years Analysys Mason has conducted nearly 50 5G-related projects, in 15 countries, for 38 different clients.

About CTIA

CTIA® ( 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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