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30 January 2018, 01:25 | Rudolph Thomas
A 5G network is expected to offer significantly faster speeds more capacity
A leaked National Security Council memo published by Axios news website on Sunday said China is the dominant manufacturer of network infrastructure and notes the importance of building the network with "equipment from a trusted supply chain".
Meanwhile, the alternative plan calls for wireless providers in the U.S.to build their own 5G networks that would compete with one another. "It argues that one of the "pros" of that plan is that it would cause "less commercial disruption" to the wireless industry than the government building a network". In the first scenario, the government would rent access to carriers like AT&T and Verizon, Axios reported.
The proposal would upend the entire USA mobile network market, rebalance power between wireless carriers, bust through city and state laws, declare two major Chinese companies to essentially be enemies of the state, and cost up to $200 billion.
With smartphones being a large portion of consumer electronics that will eventually feature 5G modems, other applications like self-driving vehicles and IoT products are also expected to take advantage of this breakthrough. The network would be built by "former or reserve military personnel" and other workers who would be federally trained by a "National Training Program". There is a worldwide race to lead in 5G and other nations are poised to win.
The concept does seem a little out of left field, given that mobile carriers have already been working on deploying their own 5G networks for some time.
The national security team of the White House administration is considering its options to counter a threat of spying by China on US phone calls.
The report points at the second option not being as serious due to the government then having to deal with multiple carriers and partners. "On the current trajectory, the 5G world will offer opportunities to use the useful sensors and tools on the network as weapons". Recently, the United States government helped squash a deal between Huawei and AT&T that would have seen the carrier offer one of the Chinese tech company's phones. There's also the question of whether or not it would really be faster when first 5G mobile networks should go live in the United States as soon as this year, with national coverage by 2020. "They're smart, they're aggressive, and they're not to be underestimated", he said.
The U.S. administration official speaking on anonymity said it will be at least six to eight months before a recommendation reaches the president's desk.
The focus of the plan would be to counter the rising influence of Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE, as Washington steps up restrictions on the role the two can play in the USA market. (NYSE: T), which operates one of the biggest networks in the USA, recently collapsed after security concerns were raised during negotiations, according to a Reuters report.
AT&T, which recently announced plans to begin offering mobile 5G service in a dozen markets later this year, said in a statement that the industry is "already well down the road" to 5G.
China has denied that its companies are trying to install spyware.
The idea of a government-controlled 5G network is not something that pleases everyone.
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