Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump on Thursday told the Commerce Department to help determine the future use of radio frequencies that power the mobile economy.

The big picture: Mobile carriers are getting ready to roll out 5G mobile service to consumers, putting pressure on policymakers to free up airwaves, or spectrum, for the super-fast, low-delay technology.


  • A new presidential memorandum asks the Secretary of Commerce to develop a "National Spectrum Strategy" and to report back every year.
  • The secretary will look at "how to improve spectrum management and assess research and development priorities to create new technologies and improve United States competitiveness," per a White House fact sheet. The memo also asks federal agencies to lay out their demands for airwaves.

An administration official indicated the teams behind the memo were embracing a private sector-focused approach, as opposed to a nationalization strategy advocated by some in the administration earlier this year. That plan met wide skepticism.

The FCC, which oversees commercial spectrum use, is gearing up to auction off airwaves later this fall and wants to free up others for 5G use. The task force created by the White House memo will coordinate with the FCC.

What they're saying: "A spectrum strategy will help create a roadmap for industry to better guide their business decisions," said Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios in prepared remarks. "Additionally, it will provide clarity to federal agencies who rely on spectrum to carry out their mission."

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on our 5G future

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 30,881,522 — Total deaths: 958,493— Total recoveries: 21,119,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,794,479 — Total deaths: 199,469 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Trump campaign goes all in on Pennsylvania

Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.

Inside Biden's Supreme Court strategy

Joe Biden enters the hall at the National Constitution Center. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s closing argument will shift to a dominant emphasis on health care, turning the looming Supreme Court fight into a referendum on coverage and pre-existing conditions, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Biden aides believed they were winning when the race was about the coronavirus pandemic. Now they plan to use the Supreme Court opening as a raucous new field for a health care fight, returning to a theme that gave Democrats big midterm wins in 2018.