One of the NSC proposals included making 500 MHz of spectrum in a particular frequency available. This would allow “carriers to build competing networks.” It wouldn’t nationalize 5G, because the network hasn’t been built yet. But it would boost competition, according to experts.
Declan Ganley, CEO of Rivada Networks, said that many carriers were opposed to the proposals because they have enjoyed dominance with the current system of spectrum auctions led by the FCC. But the U.S. could compete with China if it went ahead with the NSC proposals.
“Right now, China has the edge in 5G. Why? Because Europe and the U.S. inherited a ‘top down’ model of all-encompassing wireless conglomerates that have become a rent seeking spectrum oligopoly,” Ganley told CNBC by email this week.
“‘Top down’ is what China does best and what the West does worst. It’s not too late for the U.S. or even Europe to flip the script and win the 5G game in the equivalent of injury time.” Injury time is extra time added at the end of a soccer game to account for stoppages within a match.
“That’s going to take something big, like the 500 MHz wholesale 5G plan that has been discussed in the U.S. National Security Council or an equivalent move by Europe or even the U.K.,” Ganley added.
“The West’s problem is our powerful wireless incumbents’ commercial interests are currently aligned with the Chinese model and so they will resist a game changing move.
“The stakes are high, they encompass everything from commerce to defense. 5G will be one of the deep ‘blue oceans’ of the ‘cyber’ domain, which is now just as important as land, sea, air or space. It’s hard to overstate how important the war for 5G is — right now, China perhaps understands it better than almost anyone. That said, I still think the U.S. or even Europe or the U.K. has what it takes to win.”