A new study shows that the transition to 5G wireless services will create an additional 4.6 million jobs in the United States by 2034 – and that the move to the latest generation of wireless technology has created over 100,000 jobs already since last year.

The study prepared for the National Spectrum Consortium by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) separates wireless-driven job growth into three “waves,” spanning a nearly 45-year period from 1990 to 2034. The 5G wave that began last year – “Wave 3,” according to the study – is slated to create a plethora of “cognitive-physical” skilled jobs, including those in the broad category of installers and maintainers.

“The 5G revolution will benefit a far wider set of Americans and regions than previous waves of mobility did,” said PPI’s Chief Economic Strategist Michael Mandel, in a release. “This new wave will create both ‘cognitive’ and ‘cognitive-physical’ skilled jobs, which will be located in nearly every industry and in every corner of our nation.”

The first job-growth wave from 1990 to 2007 focused on the creation of the original wireless networks, according to the study. The second wave from 2007 to 2019 focused on the applications on smartphones, it says. The present wave, the study says, is far more wide reaching in the industries where jobs will be created. Those include “agriculture, construction, manufacturing, utilities, transportation and warehousing, education, healthcare,” as well as government both on the civilian and defense sides.

On the policy front, the study recommends:

  • More spectrum for 5G services;
  • Creation of a national spectrum plan;
  • A plan for adoption of 5G services across the government;
  • Investment by Congress in “development of 5G and successor technologies”; and
  • Significant additional investment in job training.
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