Nokia is concerned that the currently ongoing trade war between the United States and China will slow down the stateside 5G project, having said as much in an August 30 ex parte filing with the Federal Communications Commision. Even if the numerous tariffs spanning tens of billions of dollars' worth of goods from the Far Eastern country don't impede 5G deployment in the U.S., they're likely to raise its cost by "hundreds of millions of dollars," Nokia wrote. The Finnish network equipment manufacturer partially relies on components sourced from China, though its filing doesn't clarify whether the additional cost estimate is meant to be reflective of the extra expenses incurred on its own products or an industry-wide projection.
Regardless, Nokia told the FCC that the current administration's trade war with China is incompatible with the agency's vow "to lower barriers to [5G] deployment." The company acknowledged that the FCC isn't responsible for international politics but it's presently unclear whether it also voice its concerns directly to the White House or the U.S. Department of State. As for the FCC's role in the episode, Nokia believes the current geopolitical situation in the world should affect the regulator's policy enactments, i.e. see the agency opt for even looser regulations than what it would consider if relations between Washington and Beijing were better. Nokia didn't go into many specifics in its filing addressed to Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, among other FCC officials such as Michael Carowitz, Special Counsel to Chairman Ajit Pai.
The global 5G race is still heating up and may be won by the U.S., China, South Korea, or Japan, according to a number of recent reports from industry analysts. Verizon and AT&T are starting their experimental rollouts later this year, with Sprint and T-Mobile planning to follow suit in early 2019, which is also when first large-scale 5G deployment efforts are expected to take place throughout the country, with nationwide coverage still being the telecom industry's 2020 goal.