Mobile broadband, or mobile high-speed internet access, continues to provide America with significant economic befits and boosts competitiveness. The Obama administration views the mobile internet sector as a means to drive a sluggish economy to spur recovery and growth.
The U.S achieved a leadership role during the 3G era with a lot of success and innovation brought to the marketplace by private companies. Part of the success was the result of the government making large amounts of spectrum (regulated radio frequencies) available for auction and removed restrictions on the amount of spectrum carriers could hold, opening the overall market to consumer-driven market forces.
With the emergence of 4G technology, it is vital for US companies to expand the 4G marketplace. Yet America is entering the 4G market relatively late: there are more than 150 carriers in 60 countries around the world that are either using, deploying, or running trials of 4G networks.
A report by Deloitte called “The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness” asserts that US investment in 4G networks could be in the range of US$25bn to US$53bn during four years between 2012 and 2016, leading to a conservative estimate of about US$73bn to US$151bn in GDP growth and between 371,000 and 771,000 new jobs in the sector and related sectors.
The report states that US 4G deployment could allow companies and developers to take advantage of new opportunities before other countries catch up, thereby enhancing commercial activity and spurring job growth. The report suggests that high speed internet coupled with cloud-based infrastructure could provide a basis for creating new services and devices that have the potential to positively change the way people and organizations work.
One of the key benefits of 4G deployment is the capability to augment regular, or fixed, broadband (high-speed) internet service to make fast, reliable, and high-speed internet connections available to “marginalized groups”, bringing them “into the nation’s economic mainstream, thereby serving the public interest and increasing U.S. competitiveness”.
“To promote U.S. leadership in 4G technology, policymakers should consider continuing the approach that has proven effective in the case of 3G, whereby government focuses on creating conditions conducive to market-based innovation. The success of 3G mobile broadband demonstrates the effectiveness of an approach whereby government promotes the potential of high-tech wireless infrastructure by creating conditions in which competition can flourish. Key requirements are ensuring sufficient spectrum supply and allowing available spectrum to be allocated through market mechanisms. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Commerce Department are working to make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband in the next 10 years, but even if that goal is achieved, it could be difficult to keep U.S. commercial wireless spectrum supply and demand in balance as interest in new 4G offerings grows. Particularly given the competitive implications of growing spectrum supply in foreign markets, there is a need to find additional ways to make better use of available spectrum and to unlock more.”
The report “The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness” is available at http://www.deloitte.com/us/impactof4g