Reports say Trump considering 5G as topic for 2020 campaign
If you listen to the big four U.S. mobile carriers, two of which have already commercialized different flavors of 5G networks, 2019 is going to be a big year for domestic 5G. Compatible devices are set to hit the market with a second wave of devices following later in the year, and dozens of cities are tapped for network deployments with nationwide coverage slated for 2020.
But, if you’re to use the nebulous analogy of a “race to 5G” that’s a common refrain from policy-focused interests–not so much by technologists–what constitutes winning? Well, if it’s number of commercial deployments, the U.S. is looking pretty good.
A new report from Viavi examining the state of global 5G deployments projects the U.S. will have the highest concentration of 5G launches by the end of 2019–the big four along with C Spire and America Movil subsidiary Claro. Forty-two 5G networks are expected to launch this year. That will mean a total of 55 5G networks in place before 2020 — the year that 5G standards are expected to officially be recognized by the International Telecommunications Union.
Jessica Rosenworcel in a March 3 tweet continued the 5G as a race talking point and said, “right now other nations are poised to win. But the remedy for this problem offered by those with close ties to the Administration–nationalizing our 5G networks–really misses the mark.”
So she thinks it’s a race, other countries will win and the rest requires a little context. In January last year, based on a document the media outlet says was “produced by a senior National Security Council official,” Axios reported that the Trump administration is examining a government-led and funded build out of a 5G mobile network in a three-year timeframe. Alternatively, according to the document, carriers could build their own 5G networks, which is happening anyway.
Back in the present, Axios is again reporting the Trump campaign is considering using 5G as a major plank of a 2020 re-election platform. The president recently tweeted about 5G and, because why the hell not, 6G.
“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind. There is no reason we should be lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future. I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies. We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”
Back to the nationalization point, Rosenworcel’s colleague on the FCC, Commissioner Brendan Carr agrees that injecting the government into the process isn’t the right answer but also sees the U.S. as leading in the rhetorical race to 5G.
“By getting government out of the way, we now have the largest commercial deployment of 5G in the world, the digital divide has been cut by 25%, internet speeds are up 40%, [and]a new report shows the U.S. will have more than two times the percentage of 5G connections as Asia,” he tweeted. “Our plan to secure U.S. leadership in 5G is working. It’s built on smart infrastructure policy, freeing up more spectrum, [and]allowing our private sector to invest [and]compete. Turning heel on this successful, free market approach through China-like nationalization is a non-starter.”
So, based on who in the government you’re listening to, 5G is definitely a race the U.S. may or may not be winning, and nationalizing networks that are already commercial and have well articulated expansion plans may or may not help win a race that most certainly exists. And 6G.
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