The US May Have Already Lost the 5G Battle

Published June 29, 2020

5G is of course critical for the telecom, semiconductor, display, IOT and broadcasting markets as well as a host of services. However, one report indicates the US may have already lost the 5G battle. After reading their paper, it appears the US has been forced to choose the more expensive 5G standard (mmWave at 24-300GHz) with reduced coverage due to excessive government ownership of the sub-6 GHz spectrum. One study indicated it would cost telecom providers over $400B to adequately build out the mmWave infrastructure, so it will be limited to dense cities only. Thus, there is the possibility that in the US the only reason to buy a 5G phone would be if you live in one of those dense cities or you frequently travel overseas to a country where 5G has been more effectively deployed. The report was authored by the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) which is one of several independent federal advisory committees advising the Secretary of Defense. I will try and summarize the major points of their 33 -page white paper entitled The 5G Ecosystem: Risks and Opportunities for DoD in this article. Note, the paper was published in April 2019, but I suspect little has changed since then.

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Written by

Ross Young