What I Learned This Week

“U.S. carriers may continue to pursue mmWave, but it is impossible to lead in the 5G field without followers.” Is America’s 5G spectrum strategy misguided? How to invest.

The preceding quote is a key takeaway from a new study by the U.S. Defense Innovation Board (DIB) warning that China could win the 5G race unless America pivots its spectrum strategy to “sub-6 GHz” frequencies from “high-band” (mmWave) 5G spectrum. Could America be falling into the same trap that it did during its 1990s 2G buildout? When 2G cellular networks were under construction, Europe gained a first-mover advantage by embracing the GSM protocol. In contrast, U.S. wireless operators deployed multiple protocols. While America’s 2G CDMA technology was arguably superior, GSM became the global standard. As a result, Nokia and Ericsson became wireless equipment leaders, rolling out more adv…

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