$212 Billion Boost to Asia-Pacific GDP at Stake at WRC-19
Innovative 5G services will generate $212bn of economic expansion – 0.8 percent of GDP growth – in APAC by 2034, according to a report released by the GSMA. This huge opportunity for the region’s digital economy depends on the availability of necessary radio frequencies, including those known as ‘millimetre wave’ frequencies that will deliver ultra-high capacity and ultra-high-speed services. However, efforts by the space sector to unreasonably constrain the use of these critical frequencies has 5G’s future hanging in the balance.
“APAC can join the Americas, Africa and the Middle East in making pro-5G decisions at WRC-19. By doing so it can guarantee continued broadband growth and secure its digital future,” said Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific, GSMA. “5G will be an evolutionary step with a revolutionary impact, having a deeper effect on our lives than any previous mobile generation. As operators in the region continue to expand 4G connections, their governments can lay the foundation for their 5G future by identifying the needed spectrum at WRC-19.”
Battle for mmWave spectrum
5G mmWave spectrum will be identified at an international treaty conference called the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), which will take place in Egypt from 28 October to 22 November 2019. 3000 delegates from over 190 nations will meet to agree on how spectrum may be used. European countries are determined to limit the use of this spectrum due to unfounded claims of potential interference with some space services. Technical studies, supported by Africa, the Americas and the Middle East, have demonstrated that 5G can co-exist safely and efficiently alongside weather-sensing services, commercial satellite services and others. These were conducted by the ITU, a UN agency. APAC’s support for this group will create a huge boost to 5G in the region and create economies of scale that will be enjoyed globally.
“WRC-19 is the only opportunity for years to come for countries across Asia-Pacific to identify mmWave spectrum for 5G use, enabling the delivery of new services over the next decade,” added Julian Gorman. “Technical studies prove that 5G will be a good neighbour and not cause harmful interference to existing services in neighbouring spectrum bands.”
The 5G opportunity in Asia-Pacific
mmWave 5G is expected to improve the region’s connectivity, especially considering its rapid urbanisation. It can provide fibre-like speeds without the high deployment costs of fixed infrastructure, enabling urban populations to connect to data-intensive 5G applications in smarter city environments. These applications can support the delivery of enhanced public services, including better healthcare systems and more intelligent traffic systems.
5G also brings new capabilities for mobile networks to enable economic growth. 5G, coupled with mmWave spectrum, opens up the potential for low-lag, data-intensive applications that can transform a wide variety of industries and use cases. In Asia-Pacific the economic benefits overwhelmingly flow from the manufacturing and utilities sector, in which the sector accounts for 53 percent of the overall contribution to GDP of $212 billion as a result of mmWave 5G.
The GSMA report raises serious concerns that, without adequate support at WRC-19, the deployment of these 5G services may be delayed for up to a decade.
The GSMA’s ‘Study on Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands’, which reveals the full global impact of mmWave spectrum is available here.
The GSMA’s ‘Regional Spotlights: Impact of 5G mmWave’ report is available here in English.
Open letter to ministers and heads of regulation
The GSMA and its Board, on behalf of the global mobile industry, are calling on governments to support the identification of spectrum for mobile at WRC-19 in an open letter sent to ministers and heads of regulatory authorities in 170 countries globally, including in APAC. The open letter from the GSMA Board to ministers and heads of regulatory authorities is available here in English.
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