US Falling Behind China in Race to 5G Wireless

United States falling behind China in race to 5G wireless: Deloitte report

United States falling behind China in race to 5G wireless: Deloitte report

But the Deloitte report did not reveal the specific investment by China and U.S. operators in 5G networks ahead of their launches.

The US is trailing China in the race to build the fifth-generation wireless networks, or 5G, and it risks losing out on economic benefits that come with being a leader in the emerging technology.

China and other countries are creating "a 5G tsunami" that the US will not be able to match unless it steps up its national investments in 5G cellular communications, Deloitte Consulting warns in a new report. Deloitte's Dan Littmann said that in order for the USA to stay competitive in the race, "swift actions must be taken".

5G is expected to enable $12.3 trillion of global economic output in 2035, IHS Markit estimated in a recent report.

"The ongoing pattern of steep declines in what customers pay per MB of mobile data makes the new investment needed for 5G hard for many carriers to support", the report says.

But, on the bright side, the ability of customers to gain access to increasing amounts of data would be a potential boon to other industries and national economies, it said.

China's five-year economic investment plan projects a total of $400 billion in 5G related investment.

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Infrastructure joint venture China Tower added around 460 sites per day in 2017, suggesting that U.S. tower companies and operators added fewer sites in the last three years than China Tower added in three months.

Deloitte noted that adoption of 5G technology in the communications infrastructure is becoming increasingly critical. China has outspent the United States by $24 billion since 2015 and has built 350,000 new cell phone tower sites, while the USA built less than 30,000.

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. According to the report, this suggests that China and other countries "may be creating a 5G tsunami, making it near impossible [for the US] to catch up".

China is beating the United States at building the architecture of 5G. The United States has 4.7 sites compared to China's 14.1 sites per 10,000 people. "Instead, improved speed and capacity stem from the ability to utilize large blocks of contiguous spectrum and higher frequencies".

The report backs up an April study that placed China and South Korea ahead of the USA and Japan as the global leaders in 5G.

At the same time, the new revenue streams carriers expected to create with LTE networks largely failed to materialize, Deloitte says.

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