I just read another industry journalist headline on 5G. It went “CTIA to FCC: Move forward on 3.5 GHz to ensure U.S. wins race to 5G.”
Here we go again, the word “race” should be banned from the 5G arena. The article, basically, paraphrased a recent letter penned by CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker where she addressed the reasons the FCC needs to step up efforts to get 3.5 GHz into the market. The article cited an Analysys Mason study that says we are the sixth out of 10 countries in mid-band spectrum availability. And, that other nations around the globe are accelerating 5G deployment by streamlining access to mid-band spectrum.
However, David Abecassis, partner in Analysys Mason notes, “Our research shows China with a slight lead in 5G readiness, with South Korea and the U.S. close behind.” To me that says we are all nearly at the same place.
Now, how that statistic translates into 3.5 GHz will “ensure” the U.S. is going to win the “race” to 5G is beyond me. Like, 3.5 GHz is the only game in town? Is being first to enable 3.5 GHz frequencies make us the winner?
5G is so much more than the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Elements of 5G go from 400 MHz to 1 THz (eventually). While 3.5 GHz is an important slice in the 5G pie, and one that can have a significant, near-term affect producing 5G elements, I seriously doubt it is the end game.
There is no “race” to be the first in 5G. In my editorial column for the upcoming summer issue of Applied Wireless Technology, I made the statement that the race to 5G is not a race, it is a march. It will not “not” be here one day, and here the next. It has various elements that will develop and deploy along different time scales. And, it will not happen in isolation – here or there! I gave various reasons for that in my column.
Just like it took the cooperation of many countries to “win” WWII, it will take global cooperation and coordination to deploy a “winning” 5G infrastructure. The endless diatribe by organizations such as CTIA to appease its member and con the rest of us into thinking that being first at 5G wins us some super prize is wearing thin.
At the recent Connectivity Expo, I sat in on a number of 5G sessions and FCC Chairman Pai’s keynote. I only heard the word “win” seriously, once. Pai did champion that the U.S. needs to retain strong leadership 5G evolution, which is much more realistic.
To that end, in a recent Op-Ed of Baker’s she did address the issues that will help to get 3.5 GHz traction. Per Baker, “Ultimately, to lead the world in wireless, we will need more auctions announced, additional spectrum allocated for future wireless use, and greater siting reform at all levels. After the recent show of strong leadership, I’m confident we will have more good weeks ahead and the U.S. wireless industry will continue to lead the world in wireless.”
The first sentence is spot on. Of course, the rest is the obligatory diatribe for its members and the usual political wordiness. But then, that is her job.
I have no doubt the U.S. will be a leader in the 5G evolution. Will it alwaysbe the leader? Doubtful. The march to worldwide 5G will have many players and the lead will change many times and in many segments. Jobs will come and they will go … for all the players.
It is time to call the word “race,” when it comes to 5G, a four-letter word.
Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology
His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, Lucent Technologies, , Qwest, City and County of Denver, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner. He is a senior/life member of the IEEE, the Press Liaison for the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society and a member of the IEEE Communications Society, IEEE MTT Society, IEEE Vehicular Technology Society and the IEEE 5G Community. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org