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The Battle for 5G Supremacy

The Battle for 5G Supremacy
The U.S. – China rivalry for 5G came openly into public when Trump blocked the Broadcom’s USD 117 billion takeovers of Qualcomm in March 2018 – by citing national security issues.

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had accepted that the United States would lag in 5G technology race if it allowed this foreign takeover. The American Chipmaker Qualcomm has invented 2G and 3G wireless network technology and has been investing heavily in 5G research. Qualcomm's acquisition would strengthen the Broadcom’s portfolio of communications chips, which supply wi-fi, power management, video and other features in smartphones alongside Qualcomm’s core baseband chips - radio modems. CFIUS was concerned that after takeover Broadcom would cap its R&D spending at Qualcomm which would provide the opportunity to Huawei scale its 5G R&D, at a time when European competitors such as Ericsson and Nokia are burning their profit on R&D. 
 

Curious Case of Huawei

World's largest telecom equipment maker Huawei along with ZTE have long been the targets of US policymakers. Both companies were presented as a national security threat by a 2012 House report. The policymaker argued that Huawei and ZTE would somehow build backdoors into their routers and switches, leaking sensitive information to the Chinese government and industry. further to this release US security agencies have recommended against using both companies’ products. At that time. the bill did not impose ban either company from US infrastructure, but companies who want to work with the government left with a choice to pick other suppliers and strike-off the Huawei and ZTE components they were already using.
 
 
 

Global 5G Market Trends and Forecast

As worldwide spectrum auction and 5G testings are taking place, challenges for implementing 5G services have started to emerge. The optimal space allocation for new 5G towers is a substantial issue for policymakers.

 

Adding more fuel to this controversy Europe’s biggest phone company Vodafone Group Plc had identified hidden backdoors in the software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy, a system that provides internet service to millions of homes and businesses, according to Vodafone’s security briefing documents from 2009 and 2011 seen by Bloomberg. Though experts argued that backdoors are industry practice which is intentionally created by the designer/developers to counter the hacking or similar types of attack.
 

The U.S. China Trade war and Huawei ban

Ominous signs for Huawei were started to appear when Trump has declared the trade war against China in early 2018. Many Chinese companies were expecting harsh measures from the U.S. government as soon as the high tariff was imposed.

In August 2018, the National Défense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA 2019) came into existence which was containing a provision that banned Huawei and ZTE equipment from being used by the U.S. federal government, citing national security concerns. But according to experts the Trump administration was delaying blacklisting Huawei out of concern the move could derail the trade negotiations with China. But once the last round of talks hit a deadlock, the administration took the decision and banned the company. On the other hand, Huawei said that the ban was a “random addition” to the defense bill and was “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.
 

The War of 5G

President Donald Trump is pushing hard to speed up the 5G rollout in the U.S., saying “the race to 5G is a race America must win.” In his latest speech, Trump put his weight behind his rhetoric. He urged the private sector to lead the way in building 5G networks across the United States. Mobile operators including Verizon and AT&T have started rolling out the networks in few cities, with limited success so far.

On the other hand, China approved four operating licenses for 5G networks, becoming ready for the super-fast telecommunications network across the country. The country’s three state-owned wireless carriers - China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., and China Broadcasting Network Corp. were granted licenses for full commercial deployment. The operators have been testing this technology in big cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen.
 
 
 

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