USA enters 5G network race, jockeying for position with China

Clay Curtis
April 13, 2019

"We can not allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future", said President Trump.

The FCC also says it will repurpose funds from existing programs to provide US$20.4 billion ($30.1b) connecting up to 4 million rural homes and small businesses to high-speed internet.

"We want Americans to be the first to benefit from this digital revolution", he said.

Since November, the FCC has auctioned 1,550 megahertz of spectrum to be used by commercial wireless providers for 5G connectivity. "It won't be almost as good, almost as fast".

Pai responded to the criticism telling Yahoo Finance he believes America is leading the 5G race and he hopes "to move forward in a bipartisan way to maintain that American leadership".

"Creating a national fund to support these innovators is a great idea", said Prakash Sangam, the founder of Tantra Analyst, which is involved in marketing and business development of wireless technology.

Rolling out 5G has been a source of tension between the USA and China.

Friday's announcement confirms that the US will rely on private networks despite some speculation it would seek to nationalize 5G on national security grounds.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the USA will hold a 5G spectrum auction on December 10 to open up the amount of airwaves available to commercial wireless operators.

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The announcement comes amid an intense race by countries around the world to deploy the technology offering wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than now available.

He pointed out that US allies understand the importance of having a secure 5G network, and "the risk profile of certain equipment and services".

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, criticized the agency's approach to 5G Friday.

"The White House has yet to offer a workable plan for USA leadership", Rosenworcel said.

The Republican administration has also been warning other countries against adopting 5G systems from Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, citing security concerns.

Riley, at the Heritage Foundation, told VOA that the United States "can still limit the proliferation of imports that have a security concern, but it will be hard for USA companies to compete in price in external markets".

President Trump is delivering remarks on 5G deployment, as his White House encourages US companies to lead the world in 5G innovation without providing much support or infrastructure for such a rollout.

Wireless companies operating in the United States, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, are deploying 5G this year, but widespread service for the majority of Americans could still be a decade away. Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision.

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