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US May Lose Ground To China In 5G Race, Experts Warn

A commission of experts formed by the U.S. Congress has warned that China’s ambitions to control the next generation of mobile networks will have significant implications for U.S. competitiveness, data privacy, and national security.

The U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) states in a report that the Chinese government is heavily investing in the fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) networks. Significant state funding for 5G deployment is part of the communist regime’s comprehensive industrial blueprint to cement technological dominance globally and reduce China’s dependence on foreign technology.

5G, which will replace the fourth-generation mobile (4G) network, has the potential to increase data speeds by 100 times and transform the internet. It also enables energy saving and widespread device connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT). Since it is a software-defined network, it could replace the need for cables by largely operating on the cloud.

International 5G standards will be set by 2019 and large-scale commercial deployment is expected by 2020. It faces, however, multiple hurdles, the most significant of which is cost. Huge investments are needed for this next-generation wireless network.

5G and subsequent technologies are expected to bring trillions in economic benefits, and U.S. and Chinese companies are engaged in a fierce competition to secure first-mover advantage in the race.

Presently, U.S. firms such as Qualcomm, Intel, Cisco, Amazon, and Google are global leaders in next-generation network development, the USCC report says. However, China’s state-led policies weaken America’s competitiveness.

The Chinese government is supporting its companies to lead in international 5G standards to ensure they set global standards. Such leadership may result in higher revenues for China and more global control over future wireless technology and standards development, USCC warns in the report.

The Chinese government, telecom operators, and local companies such as Huawei and ZTE are working hard to be at the forefront of equipment production for this new technology.

According to the report, China already dominates in global network equipment, which raises serious supply-chain concerns about the secure deployment of 5G networks in the United States. In addition, China is the world’s largest manufacturer of IoT devices, which collect enormous amounts of user information.

“The rapid increase in these largely unsecure IoT devices is creating numerous points of vulnerability for intelligence collection, cyber attacks, industrial control, or censorship,” stated the report.

U.S. data could be exposed through these devices and the Chinese regime could hold broad powers to access U.S. personal and corporate data, the report added.

The report also contains a number of recommendations on countering potential security issues posed by Beijing’s industrial policies to advance the IoT and 5G technologies.

USCC recommends Congress require the White House Office of Management and Budget to ensure all government agencies address supply-chain vulnerabilities arising from China.

It also advises Congress to direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Federal Communications Commission to ensure the rapid and secure deployment of 5G technology “with a particular focus on the threat posed by equipment and services designed or manufactured in China.” – The Epoch Times

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