United States unveils plans to push 5G deployment

An illustration of Earth with circuits covering North America and an Ethernet cable being plugged into the planet

- Big money: Pai also announced plans to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will inject $20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural America over the next decade.

Fifth generation mobile networks are the wireless telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G. The president boasted that by the end of the year, 92 markets in the USA will support 5G compared to 48 in South Korea.

Trump gave Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai the floor on Friday afternoon to talk about how the FCC would be auctioning off broadband spectrum to companies for their 5G networks, as well as a program to help rural communities get access to the necessary technology for advancing network connectivity. By next year, Mr. Trump claimed, the USA should boast more 5G spectrum than any other country.

The announcement comes amid an intense race by countries around the world to deploy the technology offering wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than now available. According to various estimates, 5G networks are expected by 2020. With 5G, a movie that takes minutes to download on your phone will load in seconds.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the US will hold a 5G spectrum auction on December 10 to open up the amount of airwaves available to commercial wireless operators. The last major auction held by the FCC was completed a couple of years ago when T-Mobile purchased 31MHz of low-frequency 600MHz spectrum.

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To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed [.] removing regularity barriers to the buildout of networks.

The FCC says those networks will bring economic opportunity to rural America and help support future 5G technologies.

CTIA, an industry trade group, said Friday that Trump's statement "puts an end - once and for all - to any misguided notions of nationalizing spectrum resources or government-mandated wholesale 5G markets".

US telecommunications providers are racing to be first to market with 5G connections.

While the U.S. leads in some key 5G-readiness metrics, China and other countries are ahead in making critical mid-band spectrum available for 5G, according to a report made in April by CTIA, a trade association representing the U.S. wireless communications industry and companies throughout the mobile ecosystem. It has effectively banned Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei from most USA networks due to concerns that it might enable Chinese government spying, which the Huawei denies.

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