5G policy ‘biggest strategic disaster in US history’


Huawei has taken the lead in 5G technology. IMAGE/iStock

Trump urged to take radical action to ensure the US doesn’t fall further behind

A prominent Republican who advises President Donald Trump called America’s 5G strategy “the biggest strategic disaster in US history.” US efforts to impede China’s telecom giant Huawei from dominating the global market in fifth-generation mobile broadband have failed, while incompetent regulation and corporate misbehavior have held back the United States’ 5G effort at home, the politician told a closed-door gathering of Republican donors and activists.

The adviser has urged President Trump to make a radical policy shift to ensure that the United States isn’t late to roll out 5G. The US president hasn’t yet made a decision, the adviser said. The US military controls most of the spectrum that civilian 5G broadband would use, and the major US telecom providers are holding back from a full commitment to 5G, the adviser added.

In a separate development, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg Television Sunday morning that the US would grant licenses “very shortly” to permit US manufacturers to sell components to Huawei and other Chinese tech firms. President Trump in July said that he “easily” would restore tech exports in the context of a trade deal with China, and told the Commerce Department to begin approving export licenses at a White House meeting in early October, the New York Times reported at the time. Echoing other Trump administration officials, Secretary Ross predicted that the first phase of a trade deal with China might be signed this month.

It appears that the Trump administration may be ready to cut its losses on a losing strategy. Huawei has signed equipment agreements with every telecom provider on the Eurasian continent, despite high-profile American threats to cut off intelligence sharing with allies that include Huawei equipment in their networks.

China rolled out its 5G network, the world’s largest, at the end of October.

Huawei is expected to sell 600,000 5G base stations by the end of 2019 and two million by the end of 2020, according to company estimates, despite an American embargo on the sale of American components to Huawei and 28 other Chinese companies.

During the past year Huawei released its own chipsets to power its smartphones with artificial intelligence capability, as well as ultra-fast processor chips. Huawei’s 2019 first-half revenues rose 24% year-on-year, and the company sold 24% more smartphones, despite a US government block on its access to popular Google applications.

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