The Trump administration proposed to nationalize the 5G network

    Axios media company reports that the Donald Trump administration intends to make 5G state property. According to one of the representatives of the US presidential administration, the goal of this project is to protect the American network from cyber attacks from China.

    Read more about the initiative and the views of the community under the cut. / Flickr / mike mozart / cc

    Why is it necessary

    On January 29, Axios released a document stating that the US needed to build a centralized nationwide 5G network over the next three years. The US administration believes that such efforts are needed to counter cyber threats from China (according to Vox, with the advent of 5G, the situation with cyber attacks can only worsen). Therefore, the document proposed by the Trump administration requires that the United States immediately begin preparing for the implementation of 5G.

    The paper compares 5G technology with the construction of the interstate highway system that Eisenhower launched in 1956. This underscores the importance of next generation networks to the national security of the country and to take advantage in a race with China, notedin Vox.

    Reuters, citing an anonymous source, reports that relations between the US and China in the field of technology are quite tense. In 2012, US intelligence agencies checked whether the equipment of the Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE could spy on America’s telecommunications or threaten them in any way. And in December 2017, the government banned AT&T from offering smartphones from Huawei to its customers. However, China denied any involvement in espionage. Last week, Chinese diplomat Cui Tiankai said China's companies are selling their products to the United States, not to keep track of users.

    US Presidential Administration spokesman saidUSA Today, that the document published by Axios is already outdated, but the strategy stated in it remains the same - to improve the infrastructure by deploying 5G throughout the country. New telecommunications will allow the United States to increase market competitiveness, improve the environment and the quality of life, the document says. Therefore, the nationalization of the network is probably one way to solve these problems.

    How it will work

    The document offers two scenarios. First: the government builds a common network at its own expense, and then leases it to operators like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Second: each provider creates its own 5G network, and these networks compete in the market.

    However, Axios notes that although the second option would have caused less concern in the market, the likelihood of its implementation is extremely low. According to the initiators of the idea, the first option will allow you to quickly build a network and make it more secure, compared with the second option.

    It is planned to publish a single standard for American 5G networks, which will regulate the placement of special equipment. It is assumed that the initial functionalities of the network will be available in a year and a half, extended - in 2. "In full force" the network will work in three years.

    However, according to Vox, the administration will not be able to meet these deadlines. To complete the project by 2021, it had to start in 2015–2016. In addition, a nationalized network will cost the state dearly: the private sector plans to invest $ 275 billion in 5G infrastructure.

    The project is still under consideration. An administration official who wishes to remain anonymous claimsthat the document will reach the president’s table no earlier than in 6-8 months.

    How did the experts respond?

    Height Securities analyst Clayton Allen believes the White House will not be able to deploy such a large-scale project, pay for it and leave private companies aside.

    Meredith Attwell Baker, president of the CTIA trading group, said industry representatives understand the importance of winning a 5G race for the nation. However, Meredith insists that the policy of free market relations is a direct path to this victory.

    Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai also spokeagainst the government proposal. He believes that any government efforts to create a nationalized 5G network will be too expensive and prevent the US from being the first to launch a new generation network. Thirty years of experience in developing wireless solutions shows that it is the market, not the government, that is capable of promoting new technologies.

    It is worth noting that all five members of the Federal Commission criticized the initiative. Republican Brendan Carr called the project “doomed to failure,” and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel agreed that the United States would be the first to deploy 5G, but the proposed method, she said, would not help achieve the goal.

    Negative on offerGovernments have also responded to America’s telecommunications companies. AT&T and Verizon, who plan to launch 5G later this year, are not very pleased with government intervention. AT&T claims that thanks to the multibillion-dollar investments of American companies, work on creating the infrastructure for launching 5G is already underway, and the network will be commissioned without government intervention. Verizon has not yet commented on the initiative of the presidential administration.

    Implementation difficulties

    Representatives of telecommunications companies and industry experts highlight the following difficulties in the implementation of the project.

    1. Stop the flow of private investment. All major providers in America have already invested and continue to invest heavily in the development of 5G networks. According to Chetan Sharma, a wireless expert, the nationalization of 5G without significant investment could cause industry dissatisfaction. And creating a competitive market in a shared network can be challenging. Moreover, it is not yet clear whether representatives of small and medium-sized businesses will be able to access the nationalized network or not.

    2. Unrealistic deadlines. Axios, citing an anonymous informant, reportsIt’s impossible to deploy 5G across the country in 3 years. Even taking into account private investment and in a competitive environment, operators will need 10 years to create full-fledged 5G networks. In addition, any wireless connection depends on the fiber networks that need to be updated.

    3. Difficulties of interaction at the regional level. State and local governments will not be very pleased that the state will deprive them of the opportunity to decide where to place network equipment. The document said that the state will be able to refer to its right to forcibly alienate private property in order to free up frequencies to create 5G. This can lead to misunderstanding between the state and commercial consumers.

    4. Questions regarding security guarantees. One of the goals of the proposal is to create a secure network to prevent security threats from China and other countries. The problem is that 5G operation is built on the basis of several types of networks, and network security is determined by the security of its connection points, which will be difficult to guarantee.

    It is worth noting that, in general, this initiative was rather negatively accepted in society. Therefore, perhaps, things will not go beyond the documents on the project. However, the United States is not the only country that strives for 5G excellence. You can read about the projects of other countries and the first part of the new generation network standard in our blog .

    PS Materials on the topic from the blog on the VAS Experts website:

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