Wi-Fi Alliance® statement on License-Assisted Access (LAA)

Austin, TX, February 9, 2015 - Unlicensed spectrum is one of society’s most valuable resources. The Wi-Fi® industry’s innovation, promotion and good stewardship of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands has helped deliver significant benefits to users and driven immense economic value worldwide.

As U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated in her recent remarks to the 2015 State of the Net Conference, "Wi-Fi is a boon to the economy. The economic impact of unlicensed spectrum has been estimated at more than $140 billion annually and it's only going to grow." Indeed, numerous studies (see Katz and Plum Consulting) assess the worldwide economic value of Wi-Fi in hundreds of billions of dollars.

Wi-Fi exemplifies innovation, delivering higher-performance connectivity and carrying more data traffic than cellular networks. In the last 15 years, Wi-Fi data rates have advanced from 11 Mbps to exceed 1 Gbps – and continued innovation will deliver Wi-Fi data rates exceeding 5 Gbps within a few short years. The growing worldwide demand for connectivity cannot be supported without Wi-Fi. Today, Wi-Fi carries ten times the IP data traffic of cellular.

5 GHz spectrum is a critical element of today’s Wi-Fi – it is widely used to support the capacity and performance requirements of our connected world. Since its introduction in 2001, 5 GHz Wi-Fi has expanded its reach well beyond enterprise networks into billions of consumer devices used worldwide.  

Wi-Fi Alliance® is aware of 3GPP work addressing LTE operation in the unlicensed 5 GHz band, known as LAA, as well as early deployments of pre-standard LAA-like systems. There is a risk that LAA, and especially pre-standard systems deployed ahead of coexistence work being done in the industry, will negatively impact billions of Wi-Fi users who rely on 5 GHz today for networking and device connectivity. It is generally agreed in principle that fair sharing is required, but there needs to be further work from all parties to address this risk in practice.

The future value of unlicensed spectrum is dependent upon good stewardship by all technologies that share the resource. The LTE and Wi-Fi communities must work toward a mutually understood fair and effective use of the 5 GHz band and ensure that there are no adverse effects to the installed base and future users of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance is planning collaboration with 3GPP, and is eager to work with those planning pre-standard deployments to help them continue to satisfy the expectations of Wi-Fi users.

Wi-Fi Alliance will also continue to support regulators in their attempts to understand this emerging technology and its implications. We plan to work with regulators and industry stakeholders toward an industry-led outcome that avoids heavy regulation and ensures that users are able to benefit from Wi-Fi well into the future.


About Wi-Fi Alliance®
Wi-Fi Alliance® is a global non-profit industry association – our members are the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. The members of our collaboration forum come from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem and share a common vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere. Since 2000, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, industry-standard security protections, and the latest technology. Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 23,000 products, delivering the best user experience and encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets. Today, billions of
Wi-Fi products carry a significant portion of the world’s data traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. 



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Elliott Suthers

Highwire PR for Wi-Fi Alliance


+1-415-963-4174 ext. 6