China outspending US in developing 5G backbone: report

08 Aug 2018


China is outspending the United States in developing the next generation 5G communication backbone

According to a report by Deloitte consulting, China already has 10 times more sites to support 5G communications than the United States. 
The report titled 5G – The chance to lead for a decade illustrates how China and other countries are outpacing the US in terms of wireless communication infrastructure spend, tower density and efficiency of execution. Together, these practices are distinguishing China's lead in the early stages of 5G deployment.  
The report says, in just three months of 2017, Chinese cell phone tower companies and carriers added more sites than the US had done in the previous three years.
China has outspent the United States by $24 billion (roughly Rs. 1.6 lakh crores) since 2015 and has built 350,000 new cell phone tower sites, while the US built less than 30,000.
It cautions, "The US risks losing its technology leadership position unless swift action is taken to help unlock industry-wide investment in the country's underlying communications infrastructure."
The report notes it may also be about 35 percent cheaper to install equipment necessary to add carriers to 5G in China as compared to the United States. 
Countries who are first to adopt 5G will likely see greater and more sustained macro-economic benefits, given the network effects associated with adding billions of devices to the 5G network.  They will experience "disproportionate gains," as 5G brings an "era of untapped economic potential.", the Deloitte said.
"We predict that 5G will expand the network effect dramatically by extending the reach of the internet to almost any kind of connection, by almost any kind of device, anywhere a wireless signal can reach," said.
Dan Littmann, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "The potential economic benefits of 5G will soon become a key differentiator for cities looking to attract both businesses and residents. For the US to remain competitive and eventually emerge as a leader, the race to 5G should be carefully evaluated and swift actions should be taken."
The United States could still catch up, the report said, and recommended the US adjust policy to reduce 
deployment time, encourage carriers to collaborate, and implement a database of statistics and best practices.
"This report comes after the US Federal Communications Commission announced new rules for bidding on high-band spectrum which is expected to be used in the future for 5G," Reuters reported.

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