President Donald Trump and the FCC made several announcements on Friday (CNBC article) with one comment that, “The race of 5G is on and America must win.” He said that 92 5G markets will be ready by the end of the year, outpacing South Korea, which is on pace to have 48 markets live by the end of 2019.
But we must acknowledge that the US has fallen behind the other technology leaders, especially China. According to one study, the wireless industry plans to invest $275 billion in 5G networks, creating 3 million jobs and adding $500 billion to the US economy. 5G is the next generation of wireless network that will enable faster data speeds and support a wide range of new ideas.
There will be self-driving vehicles, smart cities, and the IoT or internet of things which will connect to traffic lights and street lamps as well as allowing all products to talk to each other. Trump wants to accelerate and incentivize these investments to catch up to the world. Trump and his comments come in tandem with announcements the FCC made on Friday. The FCC aims to create a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity fund according to its chairman.
The 5G network is not only attached to US competitiveness but to US national security so of course the US government will be part of the build out and ensure that US companies are given a fair chance in global markets. But again, the US must focus on catching up – because it is clearly not a leader in this technology.