Trump Administration Considers Nationalized 5G Network

by Leslie Wood January 30, 2018, 1:26
Trump Administration Considers Nationalized 5G Network

On Sunday, Axios reported that the Trump administration is considering building a national 5G network, in "an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation's mobile network to guard against China".

Axios published documents it said were from a presentation from a National Security Council official.

Under the first option, the US government will pay for and build a single network, in an unprecedented nationalization of a historically private infrastructure.

The document also details the various types of 5G networks that could be pursued, promoting the idea of a "single block network" only covering the Mid Band spectrum, with the option for carriers to build their own High Band networks. The first, and the more effective option, according to a source familiar with the documents drafting, cited by the outlet, requires the USA government to pay for building a single network, which would practically constitute nationalization of historically private infrastructure. It would then rent access to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, it said. Pai said that the federal government should not build and operate a nationwide 5G network.

According to "sensitive" documents obtained by Axios, the USA is looking at the possibility of building a national 5G network amid growing concerns about China.

For one thing, it's the Federal Communications Commission that serves as the government's steward of the wireless airwaves that power 5G and myriad other uses for smartphones, tablets and similar mobile devices.

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With discussions still underway, the plan by Trump's national security team goes against the grain of industry efforts to draw up a universal 5G mobile standard. "If that utility were to become operational, it would effectively offer an opportunity for an unlimited number of retail resale providers to offer wireless services capable of gigabit speeds to throughout the United States". It seems that the Trump administration can't get its story straight, as some officials say the memo and slides are outdated, while another confirmed that they are looking at nationalizing some of the 5G network.

China responded to the Axios report today.

"The existence of the plan means the current plans of the incumbent carriers to invest in next generation networks have to be reconsidered to consider the risk of government activity in space", added Levin. "Combined with aggressive pricing, diplomatic support, and suspected payments to local officials, Huawei has quickly taken market share in the radio infrastructure market as well as optical and routing, leaving them poised to take market leadership of 5G".

Reuters points out that the idea is now only "being debated at a low level in the administration", and it could be "six to eight months" before it is "considered by the president himself".

AT&T and Verizon, two of the country's largest telecommunications companies, have both announced plans to roll out 5G coverage in the United States this year.

China has denied that its companies are trying to install spyware. Instead, the earlier idea was to have the government sponsor the building of a 5G network that would be owned and operated privately.

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