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US wireless industry contributes $825 bn to America’s economy

The U.S. wireless industry, relying on exclusive-use, licensed spectrum, contributed $825 billion in GDP to America’s economy and enabled approximately 4.5 million jobs in 2020 alone, according to a new report by Compass Lexecon, commissioned by CTIA. The analysis also finds that over the past decade the wireless industry contributed nearly $5.4 trillion in GDP to the American economy.

“This report confirms that the wireless industry is a major driver of America’s economy,” said Aren Megerdichian, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon. “The substantial investments made by wireless providers, both to acquire spectrum licenses and on their network infrastructure, has translated to significant benefits to the U.S. economy.”

The study notes that over the last decade, wireless providers have invested more than $265 billion on infrastructure deployments to grow their networks, and spectrum auctions pertaining to wireless services have raised $155 billion in auction revenues for the U.S. government.

“For the wireless industry to continue to provide these considerable, widespread positive effects to the American economy, it is necessary to provide mobile network operators access to dedicated, licensed spectrum,” Megerdichian continued. “As operators continue to work to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband, additional licensed spectrum auctions will be critical.”

“The wireless industry is driving the U.S. economy, and this report highlights its massive contributions to our GDP and support of American jobs,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “Other countries recognize the value of licensed spectrum and have plans to make significant amounts of it available for 5G. Instead of experimenting with unproven solutions, the U.S. needs a pipeline of exclusive-use, licensed spectrum to continue to power the American economy.”

These figures include the direct effects of the core wireless industry on the economy, as well as the effects of the wireless supply chain, and market segments, such as smartphone app developers and mobile gaming, that rely heavily on mobile broadband and wireless services. Since it does not account for other sectors reliant on wireless services, total economic contributions from wireless-related industries could be significantly higher.

CT Bureau

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