5G, the next generation of ultra-fast wireless, is now available in the US. But the catch is you'll need to be in the right city with the right device to access it. The technology has been touted as a major breakthrough that will allow for better video streaming and more technical advancements such as connecting self-driving cars.
“Being the first means a lot because it means we’re the first to lay the entire 5G infrastructure, having overcome lots of technological difficulties through collaboration between telecom, phone and gear companies,” said Yang Maeng-seog, a vice president at SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s biggest carrier. “5G provides a chance for South Korea to take a leap again.”
The Trump administration is announcing two major initiatives aimed at speeding the deployment of next-generation wireless networks -- a major new 5G spectrum auction and a $20.4 billion fund for building out broadband in rural areas.
The US Department of Defense has warned that America could find itself conceding the guiding hand on 5G - and, as a result, wireless security in general – to China, if wide-reaching policy changes aren’t put into place soon. A new study, developed by the Defense Innovation Board at the DoD, outlines the risk America faces if China takes pole position as 5G matures.
The United States, with quick moves by government officials and telecommunications carriers, has moved to the front of the global 5G race, according to reports. The wireless industry association CTIA released a report that said the U.S., in terms of readiness, deployments and spectrum allocation, is leading the transition to the new telecommunications standard. However, it does struggle in two areas: mid-band spectrum and national strategy.
Michael R. Wessel is a commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government organization that investigates the national security implications of trade and economic relationship between the U.S. and China. He recently discussed with VOA his concerns about China’s race to 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity being built worldwide.
China has several reasons to master 5G before anyone. The first is pride: With their reputation for copying and stealing from others, it would provide national satisfaction to outwit the competition. The second reason is money: 5G will allow the development and testing of technologies that, today, are difficult or impossible to monetize, much less mine for future application, such as self-driven cars and surveillance systems enhanced by artificial intelligence
Sprint has announced that its 5G service will be extended to customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City in May. The coverage will roll out to customers in Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. in the first half of 2019. Collectively, the nine city launch will make 5G available in 1,000 square miles by June of next year.
Verizon finally offered some details about its 5G launch this morning: it plans to deploy the next-gen wireless technology in 30 cities by the end of 2019. The carrier didn’t say which cities those would be, how thoroughly 5G would be deployed throughout those cities, or when exactly the launch would begin, but Verizon did say that each launch would include some deployment of super fast millimeter wave radios.
“There are other technologies on the horizon as well. There’s a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellites that are coming online. The wired broadband networks are being upgraded as well,” he said. “We are focused on getting the regulatory playing field right and then letting the private sector deploy whatever new broadband technologies that they can.”