New 14-Country Study Shows Time Has Come for Licensed Mid-Band Action

04 February 2020

Press release

WASHINGTON, DC — A new study comparing spectrum released in 14 countries illustrates the U.S. mid-band spectrum challenge and underscores the importance of American policymakers moving quickly to bring more licensed mid-band spectrum to power 5G networks.

“This report highlights that U.S. policymakers need to deliver the mid-spectrum they have identified—and do so quickly,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “We need 350 MHz of spectrum auctioned in 2020. America’s national spectrum strategy—FCC Chairman Pai’s 5G Fast Plan—has been instrumental to date, and I’m confident we’ll make more licensed spectrum available to continue successfully building the U.S. 5G economy.”

Analysys Mason looked at spectrum released between 2017 and 2020, as well as the licensing approach used for each band, and key findings from the benchmarked countries include: 

  • While nearly all spectrum in other countries has been made available on an exclusively licensed basis, the U.S. is an “outlier” in the amount of unlicensed and shared spectrum being made available.
  • The U.S. is the only country that has released mid-band spectrum in the 3 GHz range on a shared or unlicensed basis.
  • European countries are making only the lower part (5.925-6.425 GHz) of the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use.
  • Following U.S. leadership on high-band, most countries have begun to make or will make a significant amount of high-band spectrum available.
  • With the 600 MHz auction, the U.S. was one of the first countries to release low-band spectrum suitable for 5G.

“Our research shows that other countries are currently more fully committed to the licensed spectrum playbook that made the U.S. the 4G global leader,” said Janette Stewart, a Principal with Analysys Mason and the lead author of the report. “More licensed spectrum, particularly in the mid-band, is critical if the U.S. wants to maintain its wireless leadership.”

The full study is available here.

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 three years Analysys Mason has conducted nearly 70 5G-related projects, in 21 countries, for 46 different clients and as well as authoring the mid-band spectrum report for CTIA.

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.

Contact David McElroy

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