By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
A staggering $529 billion: That’s the economic surplus value created by unlicensed frequency bands in the US alone in 2017. The figure is a key finding in a new report by Telecom Advisory Services and was presented for the first time at Wi-Fi NOW USA in Redwood City on May 17.
A new report commissioned by Washington D.C.-based Wi-Fi advocacy group WiFiForward has concluded that the economic surplus value generated by unlicensed bands in the US constituted a staggering $529 billion in 2017. That’s up from $223 billion in 2013, equivalent to a CAGR of 23%.
The report is authored by Dr Raul Katz of Telecom Advisory Services, who spoke at this year’s Wi-Fi NOW USA conference in Redwood City on May 17. The report also estimates that the economic surplus will increase to $834 billion by 2020.
Only about $29 billion of the economic surplus comes from sales of Wi-Fi-enabled devices and equipment (aka GDP contributions) while the rest of the value is derived from other measurable benefits of Wi-Fi. Residential Wi-Fi is the most important representing more than $250 billion USD.
Add to this that the estimated value of cellular offload is more than $25 billion and expected to rise to some $86 billion by 2020. The latter figure includes Dr. Katz’s estimate of Wi-Fi offload from future 5G networks. The report also points out that an important effect of widely available and mostly free Wi-Fi is keeping other kinds of wireless Internet access affordable.
The full report ‘A 2017 Assessment of the Current & Future Economic Value of Unlicensed Spectrum in the United States’ can be found here.
Above: Economic surplus generated by unlicensed bands in the US since 2011 in US$ billions as estimated by Telecom Advisory Services.
Above: Infographic on the findings of the report. Source: WiFiForward.