Acquiring leadership position in the information age is the objective of every country in the world. However, every country does not have resources needed to achieve that objective. One of the necessary steps in obtaining leadership status in the world is to be at the forefront of deployment of 5G network. Recently, Axios released a document obtained from Trump’s National Security Council official outlining a detailed plans of the Trump administration about the deployment of 5G network across the country. One of the prime objectives to deploy the network is to surpass China in the information age. Other objectives include building a strong network for connected cars and protection from China and other bad actors. The document outlined that the Trump administration plans to build a nationwide 5G network within next three years. There would be a heated debate in the administration over how the network will be built and how much investment is required.
There were two options deduced in the document to build the nationwide network. First option included the U.S. government will invest and build a single network. Another option included wireless service providers will build their own networks and compete. The latter option would take so much time and prove to be expensive. While reading between the lines of the document, it was evident that the latter option would not be considered. Either the government will build a single network and own it or wireless service providers will for a consortium and build the nationwide network. Again, the latter option needs wireless providers to keep their business models and profit expectations aside and work together for the benefit of the country.
The document points out that if the government decides to build the network, it would only cover only one part of airwaves. The remaining part will be open for private wireless providers to establish their own networks. According to the document, the government should build the network and then rent the access to leading providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The need to create 5G network faster is springing up from China’s increasing dominance in network infrastructure and countering threat from China to economic and cyber security of the U.S. Moreover, it is crucial for self-driving cars, virtual reality, and other projects requiring strong network capabilities.
The wireless industry in the U.S. including market players such as AT&T, Verizon, and others has been working on deployment of 5G. Huge investments have been already proposed by the major players in the industry. In addition, the process of designing 5G standards is ongoing in the country.
It is evident that if the Trump administration wants to build the 5G network across the nation, it has to work in collaboration with leading players which provide wireless networks. Because the government may have investment needed; but needs expertise of those companies which know how to set up networks. This collaboration is very unlikely as those companies have already been testing and strategizing to build a network.
Even if the government plans to go ahead with all the efficient and best resources, it would not be able to reach its goal in next three years. Huge investment and years of work are needed to lay a foundation for a nationwide network. Some of the countries such as Japan and China have a head start to the U.S. It does not seem feasible for the government to build an enormous network on its own in next few years. What it can do is offer spectrum to private wireless providers and set rules and standards to help them develop and deploy the 5G network.