CTIA Report Claims Billions in Cost Savings for Americans

Growth of 5G fixed wireless technology contingent on service providers having sufficient spectrum.

CTIA Report Claims Billions in Cost Savings for Americans
Photo of Meredith Baker from video of CTIA presentation in 2015

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2023 – A report by the Cellular Telephone Industries Association released Thursday said the expansion of 5G fixed wireless access could result in substantial cost savings of over $8.1 billion annually for American consumers.

The report, prepared by economic consultant Econ One, emphasizes the role of increased competition in the home broadband market and the importance of additional spectrum availability in driving these benefits.

The study included a consumer survey to estimate preferences and the potential effects of 5G fixed wireless on market share and consumer pricing. The findings indicated significant savings for consumers, particularly in areas where cable providers are the only high-speed broadband option, representing about 30 percent of households.

If fixed wireless 5G were to enter these markets at current prices, existing cable broadband prices would decrease by 37 percent, leading to annual consumer savings of $5.7 billion, the report said.

“With more 5G spectrum we can further expand this service and bring these benefits to even more Americans,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO of the CTIA.

The CTIA said the growth of the technology is contingent on service providers having sufficient spectrum capacity.

The analysis highlights the significance of additional mid-band licensed spectrum to enable the scalability of 5G FWA offerings and maximize the economic benefits for consumers.

“FWA is bringing real benefits to consumers, but it’s a data-intensive product, and growth can only occur in areas where service providers have sufficient spectrum capacity,” said Hal Singer, managing director at Econ One.

The report further notes that 5G FWA accounted for 90 percent of new broadband subscriptions in 2022, with wireless companies offering 5G home broadband over exclusive-use licensed spectrum as being the fastest-growing home broadband providers.

The report emphasizes the need for the release of additional mid-band for 5G providers to foster increased competition in the home broadband market and drive consumer savings.

The Federal Communications Commission has yet to see its spectrum auction authority renewed after it lapsed in March.

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