CTIA uses China 5G lead to goad Trump into concessions

Research commissioned by US wireless trade association CTIA reckons China is a bit ahead of Korea, the US and Japan when it comes to 5G readiness.

The report, compiled by Analysis Mason, frames 5G as a global race – the implication being that whoever starts doing it in real life first will have a big advantage over everyone else. There’s much talk of wireless leadership and how important it is to win and lead and generally trample your competitors underfoot. All good, healthy corporate stuff.

“The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” warned Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “I’m confident that America can win and reap the significant economic benefits of 5G wireless due to our world-leading commercial investments.

“Today’s research highlights the importance of policymaker action in 2018 to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to mid-band spectrum as part of a broader spectrum pipeline plan. I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race.”

This seems to be a thinly-disguised attempt to goad US President Trump into giving the US wireless industry even more financial and regulatory help. His antipathy towards China as an economic rival is well-known and presumably the thought of being beaten to the 5G punch by them makes his blood boil, so former FCC Commissioner Baker seems to have chosen her words strategically.

Furthermore the report concludes that one of the main reasons China is ahead of the US is because of proactive government policies – funny that. Having got its key finding out of the way, much of the report bangs on about what a nightmare it would be for the US if it failed to kick 5G ass. The CTIA feels so strongly about this it even commissioned another research firm to further explore the importance of winning at 5G.

“When countries lose global leadership in a generation of wireless, jobs are shed and technology innovation gets exported overseas,” said Roger Entner, Founder of the other firm: Recon Analytics. “Conversely, leading the world in wireless brings significant economic benefits, as the U.S. has seen with its 4G leadership. These are the serious stakes that face American policymakers in the escalating global race to 5G.”

Well you can’t argue with that can you? Apparently winning 4G boosted America’s GDP by $100 billion, which would otherwise have gone to other countries like China. Conversely look at the state of Europe and Japan since they lost at 4G – bread lines, atrophying economies and general civil disobedience, all of which could have been avoided had we just got our act together a bit quicker.

Here’s the 5G readiness chart according to whatever criteria they used.

CTIA 5G readiness