The 5G race is being won by China and South Korea, according to a report conducted by research firm Analysys Mason and released today by CTIA, America's premier wireless industry association.
According to the research, China is in the lead, followed by South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Germany, the U.K. and France are in the second tier of countries in terms of readiness.
America lags in “5G readiness” due to reliance on private providers -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint -- to build antenna infrastructure. China’s wireless providers, on the other hand, are streamlined by government mandate.
Why this matters - 5G systems support 1k more devices per meter than 4G, using higher frequencies and secondary antennae to relay signals. It also eliminates the transmission inconsistencies and slowdowns caused by buildings, mountains, and crowds.
The global competition is propelling 5G development much faster than was originally expected, with carriers and some cities moving quickly to install infrastructure, said CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, a former FCC commissioner.
The Trump administration see this situation as a threat, especially from China.
Last month the administration blocked Broadcom's proposed buyout of Qualcomm on national security grounds. The administration also fears that Broadcom's business practices would weaken Qualcomm's and the U.S.'s 5G position — allowing Huawei a bigger advantage.
Key findings by Analysys Mason include:
All major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch dates and the government has committed to at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each wireless provider.
Countries around the world are moving quickly to make spectrum available for 5G. This year alone, the U.K., Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions.
At the end of 2018, the U.S. will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3–24GHz) spectrum availability, a critical band for 5G. The U.S. joins Russia and Canada as the only countries currently without announced plans to allocate mid-band spectrum on an exclusive basis to mobile by the end of 2020.
Countries like the U.K. and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps to modernize infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks.
Read can read the report here: http://bit.ly/2HFbTqA
-Marc A. Ross
Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in developing winning communications, content, connections, and commerce for entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
The media love these stories as the easily play into the horse race narrative of US vs. China - especially in the tech sector. You can see a whole new batch below:
Economist: How does Chinese tech stack up against American tech?
McClatchy: China sets goal of rapidly surpassing US as artificial intelligence race heats up
NYT: The US-China rivalry is, more than ever, a fight over tech
WSJ: Why Washington is so obsessed with China’s Huawei
In the recent past American media only saw Chinese tech firms at best as copycat producers and at worst as industrial spies. However, the narrative is now shifting to a new dynamic as America's technology sector fears that China is reaching tech parity.
In reporting recently, McClatchy added this spicey sentence to its article comparing the AI efforts of China and the United States: "It set up a broader race between China and the United States over artificial intelligence, a competition that could mold the future of humankind just as the widespread arrival of electricity did in the last century.
The conventional wisdom for editors and headline writers is that such language drives clicks, makes globalization a simple win-loss transaction, and ensures there can only be one winner when it comes to global technology.
Let's remember competition is good - it is good consumers, it is good for companies, it is good for countries.
Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps leaders create compelling communications, focused content, and engaging presentations.