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The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness


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Mobile broadband has made significant contributions to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness, and it is a sector that policymakers view as a means to drive economic growth. America’s success with 3G has been driven by an “entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem” in which private enterprise pursues opportunities created when the government auctioned large amounts of spectrum, removed spectrum caps limiting individual carrier’s spectrum holdings, and permitted market forces to operate. Maintaining and expanding the ecosystem is crucial as 4G technology emerges.

American 4G leadership is far from assured, however. More than 150 carriers in 60 countries are committed to 4G deployments and trials. U.S. mobile broadband use is pressing against the limits of available spectrum, and other countries are on track to exceed U.S. spectrum supply. Thus the United States cannot expect to retain its mobile broadband position easily. To prevail it will need to deal with its challenges and capitalize on its strengths.

Investment in 4G mobile broadband networks can fuel U.S. performance in the global race to exploit the potential of this advanced infrastructure and benefit the national economy through the expenditures made by wireless firms, their suppliers, and the workers these industries employ. 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 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Commerce Department are working to make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband in the next 10 years, that if achieved, could make it difficult to keep U.S. commercial wireless spectrum supply and demand in balance as interest in new 4G offerings grows.

We invite you to explore the perspective in more detail through a new Deloitte thought leadership piece, "The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness."

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