In short: White House held a Friday summit dedicated to the fifth generation of mobile networks that saw a number of government officials try to drum up additional hype about 5G technologies and their far-reaching implications. Attending speakers included Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and David Redl, the administration’s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information. Both officials expressed great optimism about 5G in terms of its potential to benefit the United States as a whole but provided little new information about the government’s plans for the next generation of connectivity.
Secretary Redl spoke of “speeds that dwarf” current broadband solutions and how such high-end connectivity will soon be coming to smartphones, in addition to providing a home Internet alternative in the form of fixed wireless access solutions like the one Verizon is launching on Monday. Chairman Pai reiterated his past claims about the U.S. leading the 5G race, in addition to suggesting that more initiatives meant to facilitate the deployment of the next-generation networks will be announced in the near future.
Background: Earlier this week, the FCC eliminated a significant portion of bureaucratic red tape surrounding select 5G deployment cases, having done so to a mixed response from politicians. The White House itself already named 5G as one of its key focus areas in the telecom policy segment but remains vague about how exactly it plans to approach the new technology. Reports from earlier this year indicated that President’s Trump closest circle even considered the idea of a nationalized 5G network at one point, citing national security concerns, mostly related to Chinese network equipment manufacturers, though the concept never evolved past early discussions.
Impact: Today’s summit confirmed 5G will remain one of the FCC’s priorities but also revealed that the U.S. administration remains convinced it will win the global 5G race. While Verizon and AT&T will be launching experimental services in the immediate future, some industry trackers previously suggested it’s South Korea and Japan who have a better chance at achieving large-scale 5G coverage than the U.S. does. All four national carriers in the country repeatedly said they’re on course to offer nationwide coverage by 2020.