Response to the Department of Defense’s Request for Information on Dynamic Spectrum Sharing for 5G

October 19, 2020

ITIF recommended that the DoD remove the cloud of potential nationalization of a wholesale 5G network from this process. Then, DoD should focus on the short-term opportunities to clear and reallocate spectrum for 5G purposes to best leverage the capabilities of 5G and advance U.S. competitiveness. Then long-term planning on future spectrum sharing opportunities can receive the focus it is due. Several media reports indicate that this RFI grows out of continued efforts by Rivada and others to establish a national 5G network that would serve the DoD and share wholesale capacity or spectrum usage rights with commercial operators. This is a terrible idea. The contemplation of a government-funded wholesale network or allowing a middleman to control access to critical mid-band spectrum undermines one of the United States’ great strengths: a dynamic, complex, competitive process to uncover the most effective 5G architectures.