The United States is reportedly thinking about adopting a national 5G mobile network amid the threat of China spying on US phone calls and cybersecurity.
On Sunday, an official representing President Trump’s national security team confirmed that the 5G option was being debated. The proposed plan is currently six to eight months away from being considered by the president, he added. Talks are still in preliminary stages, so the issue of funding and control have yet to be reached.
The move is aimed at addressing the Chinese threat to U.S. economic security and cybersecurity, a move enforced by Trump ever since he took office. Telecommunications giant, AT&T, was pressured by Congress earlier this month to scrap a plan to offer its customers handsets built by Chinese company, Huawei.
The US government have also blocked a number of Chinese acquisitions due to national security concerns. One example was Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of US money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc.
“We have to have a secure network that doesn’t allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don’t take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business.” A senior official said.
While no financial details have been provided at the moment, one has to look back at how many billions of dollars major wireless carriers have spent to build a basis for 5G networks. The US government would have trouble financing itself, so it wouldn’t be a stretch if the administration would use taxpayer money or appeal to a consortium to back their 5G mobile network.
T-Mobile US Inc spent $8 billion last year and Dish Network Corp $6.2 billion to acquire the majority of broadcast airwaves spectrum auctioned by the government. The auction was held by the US Federal Communications Commission.
5G technology is already being tested by a number of US carriers. A 5G network is said to process data at significantly faster speeds, have more capacity and shorter response times. The techonology can be adapted to self-driving cars and even used for remote surgeries.
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