5G Policy Recommendations: A Guide for Governments, Regulators, & the Ecosystem

The mobile industry has been the driving force behind the technology evolution over the last decade. The direct and indirect impact of the industry is calculated in trillions of dollars. There are over 3 billion mobile Internet users, 5 billion unique mobile subscribers and over 9.2 billion mobile connections.[1] The number of companies generating more than a billion dollars from digital services ballooned from just 4 in 2010 to over 120 in 2018.[2] The ecosystem continues to expand, and innovation is thriving. And yet again, we are at the cusp of dramatic change as the wireless industry embarks on the 5G evolution cycle.[3] There are several other trends that are also shaping the ecosystem. The cable companies, wireline players, Internet giants, and upstarts all see wireless as a key part of the industry stack and as such they are making their moves to be a significant player in shaping the next decade.

Government 5G Policy needs to move beyond just “spectrum management” to include the facilitation of infrastructure roadmap, redefinition of “competition,” development of an actionable plan to address “digital divide” and much tighter integration with the digital ecosystem to anticipate issues that will invariably arise in the Connected Intelligence Era. This paper provides some suggestions on how regulators can build frameworks and roadmaps for how they can evolve their role into being a more productive citizen of the ecosystem rather than an oblivious bystander. Spectrum will continue to play an important role but now so much is at stake from jobs to security to competitiveness, that governments should actively shape policy working with the industry.

[1] As of Q1 2019

[2] Source: Chetan Sharma Consulting, 2019

[3] Mobile Network as a Platform: Planning for the 5G World http://www.chetansharma.com/publications/mobile-network-platform-planning-for-the-5g-world/