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Mobile industry to add over $565 billion to GDP with unlocking of the right 5G spectrum

A report released by GSMA reveals that unlocking spectrum for the mobile industry to deliver innovative 5G services across different industry sectors could add $565 billion to global GDP and $152 billion in tax revenue from 2020 to 2034.

Analysts say next-generation 5G services will improve access to healthcare, education and mobility whilst reducing pollution and increasing safety. However, these outcomes rely on government support for the identification of sufficient millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum for the mobile industry at the next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 (WRC-19).

Although the Nigerian government has not yet issued any license for the deployment of 5G, the country has shown some level of preparedness for 5G, as Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC said in November 2019, that the commission has spectrum bands available for operators to purchase in order to roll out 5G services in the country as at when due. The NCC made no mention of the availability of mmWave spectrum.

“We have taken steps to preserve the 26GHz (gigahertz), 38GHz and 42GHz spectrum bands for 5G. There will be a number of slots in all these bands and the commission has also made provision for subsidy payment for infrastructure companies (InfraCos) who wish to deploy 5G. Public private partnership, infrastructure and the right regulatory standards are also necessary to facilitate deployment of 5G services across the country when the time is right,” Danbatta said.


The report, “Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands”, is the first to examine and quantify the impact of mmWave spectrum on the overall contribution of 5G networks to society. mmWave spectrum will carry the highest capacity 5G services. It has the ideal characteristics to support very high data transfer rates and ultra-reliable, low latency capabilities, which will support new use cases and deliver the benefits of 5G to consumers and businesses around the world.

“The global mobile ecosystem knows how to make spectrum work to deliver a better future,” said Brett Tarnutzer, head of spectrum, GSMA. “Mobile operators have a history of maximising the impact of our spectrum resources and no one else has done more to transform spectrum allocations into services that are changing people’s lives. Planning spectrum is essential to enable the highest 5G performance and government backing for mmWave mobile spectrum at WRC-19 will unlock the greatest value from 5G deployments for their citizens.

“More than 5 billion people already rely on the mobile ecosystem to deliver services that are integral to their daily lives and fundamental to the economic sustainability of the communities they live in. 5G can offer more benefits and a whole new range of services to even more people, but this will not be possible without access to this vital spectrum,” he said.

Industry watchers and stakeholders are worried that Nigeria may not have availability of sufficient spectrum to deploy 5G to its maximum capacity, and may hold back deployment as a result of conspiracy theories that link the new technology to hazardous health issues.

mmWave 5G will not only provide consumers with ultra-fast mobile broadband services including immersive entertainment, but will stimulate a host of applications that will enable citizens and businesses to do tomorrow what they can’t do today. These innovations will include enhanced remote healthcare and education, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality, and many others.

The early lead already being established in 5G in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions are expected to generate the greatest share of GDP attributed to mmWave 5G, at $212 billion and $190 billion respectively. Europe is forecast to have the highest percentage of GDP growth attributable to mmWave of any region, with 2.9 percent.

However, the advantages are not restricted to early-adopting mobile markets and, as the rest of the world deploys 5G in subsequent years, economies of scale derived from spectrum harmonisation will stimulate even faster growth. Regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean could see growth in GDP contribution from mmWave 5G applications of over 65 percent per year from 2026 until 2034.


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