US to launch ‘great leap forward’ campaign in 5G Published: 2019/4/13 20:36:11

US President Donald Trump on Friday called on the US to accelerate 5G deployment. “The race to 5G is a race America must win,” Trump stressed, “We want to be the leader in this.”

Trump said that 5G networks must be “guarded from the enemy — and we do have enemies out there.” It should be “private sector driven and private sector led,” but his administration is “removing regularity barriers to the buildout of networks.” Trump also vowed to extend broadband access to rural area, and “no matter where you are you will have access very quickly to 5G.” 

Trump’s words remind us of the US competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The US’ overt crackdown on Huawei is closely related to the country’s 5G strategic deployment. While suppressing China’s telecom giant, the US is mobilizing its own 5G development. Washington is quite narrow-minded.

Chinese companies including Huawei and ZTE have developed their 5G technology in line with the market rules. They may have never prepared to be on the cusp of state competitions, nor harbored ambitions to challenge the global geopolitical landscape. Those low-key Chinese enterprises aim at doing better and making more money. They pursue technological leadership merely to survive and develop.

The Chinese government isn’t prepared to challenge US technology hegemony as well. It is commonly recognized in Chinese society that China must promote sustainable economic development through technological innovation to narrow the technological gap with developed  Western countries and avoid being restrained by other countries in key fields.

If anyone holds that China will surpass the US because of 5G technology, he/she will definitely be laughed at in China. China lags behind the US in overall strength, though it may be one step faster in a few areas, for example, in mobile payments supported by 4G networks. But the overall significance of these achievements is worthy of observation.

China might lead in the world in 5G progress, but China has not made any particular efforts for it. It has come with the normal development of the country’s telecommunications industry under a market economy. It is exaggerating to regard 5G development as a decisive factor in national competitions.

Washington is launching a national mobilization to develop 5G technology. The approach is like taking a “great leap forward,” which is not cool-headed.

US technical mobilization ability is undoubtedly strong. However, the core competitiveness of the internet lies not only in technology but also in application conditions. China has a dense urban population with a high average usage rate of base stations, which makes China's network infrastructure full of market driving force.

There is no doubt that China owns the largest number of mobile communication base stations in the world. The total number of 4G base stations in France cannot even match that of Shenzhen, a city in South China’s Guangdong Province. With higher 4G signal coverage than the US, China has greater market incentives and less costs to develop 5G. Application technologies related to people's lives are also easier to advance in China. The US is doomed to entail strenuous effort if competing with China in these areas.

The US should give up the fantasy to be an “all-round champion” in the 5G era. Although it will still lead in the overall technological level in the long run, the country should accept the fact that it will be surpassed by China in certain specific fields of 5G. To be a normal powerful country, the US must first have a broad mind. 


blog comments powered by Disqus