Economic Impacts of Mobile Broadband Innovation: Evidence from the Transition to 4G

31 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Jeffrey A. Eisenach

Jeffrey A. Eisenach

NERA Economic Consulting; American Enterprise Institute

Robert B. Kulick

NERA Economic Consulting

Date Written: May 21, 2020


This study reports estimates from a model of the economic effects of 4G mobile wireless technology adoption in the United States on employment and economic growth and, based on those results, projects the economic benefits of 5G adoption under different counterfactual scenarios. Using panel vector autoregression techniques and state-level data on 4G adoption from Q3 2010 to Q4 2014, we find strong evidence of a direct relationship between the pace of 4G adoption and growth in employment and output. We project that if 5G adoption follows the path of 4G adoption in the United States, then, at its peak, 5G will contribute approximately 3 million jobs and $635 billion in GDP to the U.S. economy in the fifth year following its introduction. However, if 5G follows the slower, shallower path at which 3G technology was adopted, then it will contribute approximately 1.2 million jobs and $264 billion to the U.S. economy at its peak in the sixth year following its introduction.

Keywords: 5G, 4G, LTE, mobile broadband, ICT, communications, communications infrastructure, Panel VAR, telecommunications, economic growth, economic dynamism, job creation, reverse causality

JEL Classification: O31, O33, O47, O51, L63, J21, E65

Suggested Citation

Eisenach, Jeffrey A. and Kulick, Robert B., Economic Impacts of Mobile Broadband Innovation: Evidence from the Transition to 4G (May 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey A. Eisenach

NERA Economic Consulting

1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20037
United States
202-448-9029 (Phone)
202-466-3605 (Fax)


American Enterprise Institute ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Robert B. Kulick (Contact Author)

NERA Economic Consulting ( email )

1255 23rd Street NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20009
United States

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