Trump administration mulls nationalizing 5G wireless network

Trump's administration is eyeing the construction of a nationalized 5G network as a safeguard against cybersecurity threats from China, according to USA government documents obtained by media outlet Axios. The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China's threat to USA cyber security and economic security, Reuters reported on Sunday. Another source said that a new draft was in the works for the memo and that the newer version is more neutral about whether the USA government should build and own this 5G network. "Less commercial disruption" to the wireless industry is one of major "pros" of this plan, according to documents. Instead, it would build and maintain the network and rent access to the likes of AT&T and Verizon.

"We want to build a network so the Chinese can't listen to your calls", one government official told Reuters.

Industry leaders pointed out that the private sector is already in the process of building and deploying 5G systems, which will be important for a range of connected devices from appliances to self-driving cars.

According to "sensitive" documents obtained by Axios, the USA is looking at the possibility of building a national 5G network amid growing concerns about China.

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The proposal by the National Security Council (NSC) is still in the early stages: an alternative could see telecoms operators working together to build a joint network.

The NSC is concerned that China is further along with its 5G infrastructure deployment and has a stronger domestic manufacturing base for 5G equipment, so it could take advantage of the unsecure systems in the US.

He also said certain USA mobile network operators have already spent billions of dollars in buying mobile spectrum in the 600-megahertz frequency band for use in launching 5G services.

The Trump administration denies the reports that it may seek to nationalize at least part of the 5G network in the an effort to win some secret cyber war with China that may or may not exist. The second option is knocked as being more expensive and slower. They also reportedly said that a staffer had simply made this suggestion and that the policy of a centralized 5G network is not imminent and probably won't ever be.

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This month, 5G cleared a significant hurdle when 3GPP, an worldwide wireless consortium, approved a technology standard for next-generation networks.

Pai, named FCC chairman by Trump in January 2017, has backed 5G and looked for ways to help eliminate barriers to private sector adoption. The unprecedented move is still six to eight months from a formal proposal, Axios reported, and is expected to be fiercely debated within the administration and by the telecom industry.

The Trump administration's 5G plan comes on the heels of the scuttled smartphone distribution deal in the United States between Huawei Technologies and AT&T because of United States security concerns. According to the document, it will be decided if the government is going to be owning and building the network or if the service providers can come forth to build the network on their own. Recently, the United States government helped squash a deal between Huawei and AT&T that would have seen the carrier offer one of the Chinese tech company's phones. The national network would be a way for the federal government to steer contracts to preferred providers and to nurture a network-equipment market that is free of Chinese influence.

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