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What Trump's Huawei reversal means for the future of 5G

In a spontaneous White House question and answer session late last month, President Trump was asked about the country's efforts to block Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from doing business in the US and with our allies around the world active globe.

"Huawei is something that is very dangerous," said Mr. Trump. Then, almost in the same breath, he added: "It is possible that Huawei will be included in a trade agreement, and if we were to make a deal, I could imagine Huawei being involved in some form or as part of a trade agreement." [19659002] At the weekend in Japan, Mr. Trump seemed to prefer trade to national security and suspend the US ban Huawei receives equipment from companies to conclude a trade agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, without giving any details, he said that American companies Selling to Huawei without creating a "major national emergency problem."

He even said so when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled and warned the world in recent months. Our allies consider Huawei to be an extremely dangerous security threat and instruct to freeze the company.

Senator Marco Rubi o, Republican of Florida, described Trump's reversal on Twitter as "a catastrophic mistake" that "will destroy Trump's credibility The warnings of his government against the threat of the company are no longer taken seriously by anyone. "(Mr. Trump tracked the same playbook with ZTE early this year, banned it, and then lifted the ban on appeasing the Chinese.) [19659002] While Mr. Trump sees Huawei as" dangerous "and a peasant in the trade war, it is in Truth may be something completely different.

Huawei is the most significant long-term competitor threatening US dominance in the future of wireless technology. And the United States is sad – even shameful – in arrears.

No matter what the United States does to manipulate Huawei – and Mr. Trump's recent stance will only accelerate his ascent – it will not change any fundamental problem that obscures the conversation: the United States needs a meaningful strategy to combat Huawei Leading the World in Next Generation Wireless Technology – A Manhattan Project for the Future of Connectivity.

Do not take my word for it.

In April, in the midst of the noise A report by Robert S. Mueller III, Special Representative for the Investigation of Russian Election Influencing, issued another alarming government report – and largely overlooked academics advising the Department of Defense. And it was a scathing indictment of the country's 5G efforts.

"5G's leader will generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue over the next decade, with job creation being widespread across the wireless technology sector," the commission wrote. A technology-based Who's Who, including Former Chairman of Alphabet, Eric Schmidt, founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, and author Walter Isaacson, a former managing director of the Aspen Institute.

"The country that owns 5G will own many of these innovations and set the standards for the rest of the world," the board wrote.

It undoubtedly added, "This country is not likely to be the United States at present his. No wonder, no American company manufactures devices that transmit high-speed wireless signals, Huawei is the clear leader in the field, the Swedish company Ericsson is a distant second, and the Finnish company Nokia is third.

It is almost surprising that the Department of Defense approved the publication of the report at all, as the Board appreciates the country's lack of innovation in a remarkably direct way, calling it one of the biggest obstacles to the introduction of 5G in the US: the Pentagon itself. [19659002] The broadband spectrum needed to build a successful network is not reserved for commercial purposes, but for the military.

To work best, 5G needs what is called the deep-band spectrum, as signals can travel further than the high-band spectrum continue the signal can spread, the less he infrastructure must be provided.

In China, and even in Europe, governments have reserved low-band frequencies for 5G, making it more efficient and cost-effective to provide their countries with wireless high-speed connectivity. In the United States, the low-band spectrum is reserved for the military.

The difference is very big. Google conducted an experiment for the board, placing 5G transmitters on 72,735 towers and roofs. Using the high band spectrum, the transmitters covered only 11.6 percent of the US population at a speed of 100 megabits per second and only 3.9 percent at 1 gigabits per second. If the same broadcasters could use the low-band spectrum, 57.4 percent of the population would be covered at 100 megabits per second and 21.2 percent at 1 gigabits per second.

In other words, the spectrum allocated in the US For commercial 5G communication, the provision of 5G is significantly slower and more expensive than almost any other vendor.

This is an economic disadvantage and presents the US with a significant disadvantage.

The challenge of the spectrum leads to a negative feedback loop for manufacturers, who may explain why no major US technology company has come into conflict. However, as President Trump has issued a regulation banning the purchase of equipment from companies posing a national security threat – including Huawei – the US is threatening to expand its 5G networks, especially in rural areas areas.

US telephone companies such as AT & T and Verizon may be trying to create their own channels because of a lack of options.

Failure of the 5G competition has consequences. "If China is a leader in 5G infrastructures and systems, the future 5G ecosystem is likely to have Chinese components integrated," wrote the Defense Innovation Board. "This would be a serious threat to the security of D.O.D. Operations and networks in the future.

One of the Board's recommendations is that the Department of Defense shares its low-band spectrum to accelerate the commercial development of technology in the United States.

While sharing the spectrum comes with its own security In terms of challenges, the Board held out some unique, surprising benefits: "The integration of government and civilian use can provide a layer of security by allowing military traffic to hide in sight when traffic is more difficult to detect and isolate. Similarly, opponents could be discouraged from interfering with this spectrum because they may be working on the same bands. "

None of this is to suggest that Huawei is not a national security threat if the Chinese government uses it to spy on foreign opponents in the future. (It is worth noting, however, that no evidence has been publicly presented by any US authority that the company's hardware was used in this manner.)

It should not be read as an excuse for Huawei's theft of intellectual property. well documented.

However, splitting spectra should be just the beginning. Politicians need to understand that the "market" in the US is not working as it should, especially when state actors like China are supporting companies like Huawei.

If the US wants to lead the world, Washington must do it. Think carefully about what incentives it offers companies – not just for research and development in which we are still leaders, but also for the production of the technology that is ours national interest and whose mergers make it possible.

One morning in late February, Mr. Trump wrote a message on Twitter: "I would like the United States to win through competition, not by currently blocking more advanced technologies."

This is a worthy and achievable goal. But it does require more than the band-aid solution, which is a trade deal or a blacklist. It requires a new strategy.

Maybe we have one in time for 6G.

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