Large new economic sectors in the United States rely solely on wireless connectivity. From the IoT to growing data and wireless subscribers, the wireless industry contributes $475B in GDP, supporting 4.7M jobs and generating $1T in economic output. Based on GDP, the U.S. wireless industry is larger than 87 percent of countries, putting it ahead of many economies around the world.
The future of the industry
The potential for future contribution by the wireless industry is even more significant with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G. Accenture’s research demonstrates that the most impactful IoT use cases will depend on key 5G network attributes.
IoT, which has already driven substantial economic impact through the proliferation of connected devices, is likely to be the next significant area of value generation. Of the 29 billion connected devices estimated by 2022, 18 billion are predicted to be IoT related. A joint World Economic Forum and Accenture report projects that Industrial IoT (IIoT) will add $14 trillion to global economic value by 2030.
The sheer breadth and depth of IIoT use cases, from predictive maintenance to intelligent products, is what makes this opportunity noteworthy. Wireless carriers will play a crucial role in unlocking the full potential of IoT, as they enable the connectivity of sensors, devices, data centers and people.
Three key drivers for direct wireless contributions place wireless at the center of a growing economy, with 5G looming large.
Why we need to modernize infrastructure guidelines
Given that 5G connectivity will require a system of wireless infrastructure significantly denser than that required by 4G, modernization of infrastructure guidelines will be key to decreasing the time required for a 5G network rollout. Recognizing that 300,000 small cells need to be deployed in the next three to four years—roughly double the number of macro towers built over the past 30 years—current approval processes pose a challenge.
The fix for spectrum availability
With exponential growth in wireless data, and increasing demand for higher throughput and bandwidth across wireless (radio) access, the availability of sufficient spectrum to meet these demands is a real concern. Additional spectrum is needed for carriers to realize the transformative benefits that 5G offers.
Modernization of infrastructure guidelines and spectrum availability are key to accelerating economic growth from the industry and could unleash an additional $100 billion in economic impact over the next three years according to our analysis.
America’s wireless industry is not only a significant contributor to the economy today, but it continues to advance other industries, even triggering the development of completely new, innovative sectors and business models.
The economic benefits can be realized when the private and public sectors come together to make the promise of future gains from 5G a reality.