Battle of the Continents for 5G

17.05.2019

The technology of high-speed communication 5G today has no alternatives. It is obvious that sooner or later all countries of the world will start using it, as it has already been done with 4G. It would seem that a global modernization of communications is taking place - a process in which someone will do it earlier, someone later, someone will work on it, and someone else will do the opposite. Everything would go on as usual.

However, today, along with modernization, an aggravation of political contradictions is occurring in the world. China is becoming the world leader in IT, which is ready to offer many countries a “full 5G package” - from chips, modems, base stations to gadgets that will receive the signal of a new standard.

The United States is also engaged in the implementation of 5G, but so far they cannot offer such a “full package” or even provide themselves with them. Washington understands that in this situation, China will inevitably be one step ahead, supply 5G to Europe, while the US has long been accustomed to dictate its technological will to it. From now on, the US digital domination in Europe is under threat.

The US conflict with the Chinese giant Huawei, which just today embodies all that is necessary for 5G, acquires a new edge. Amid the ongoing trade war, Washington has repeatedly accused a Chinese company of spying and using its digital capabilities for this purpose, including 5G technology. The Americans have already banned their government agencies from using Huawei devices and demanded that Europe do the same, and also refuse to create 5G with Chinese hands.

Total ban

How did you find on May 15, the agency Reuters, Trump is preparing to sign a decree banning the use of American companies of foreign telecommunications equipment that could harm national security. The decree does not contain the names of any companies, but it is obvious that it is directed primarily against the Chinese Huawei and ZTE.

However, even before this decree, the United States stubbornly followed the path of abandoning Chinese equipment, accusing Huawei of espionage. The third largest smartphone maker in the world has denied these allegations, but Washington has already decided everything. In August 2018, Trump signed a law prohibiting the US government from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese supplier, ZTE. In early May, the US Federal Communications Commission rejected China Mobile Ltd’s bid for providing telecommunications services to America.

But the most interesting thing is not how the US puts barriers to the Chinese 5G. Interesting is the fact that the United States can not yet offer analogues of Huawei devices to its citizens. And even despite the prohibitions, ZTE and Huawei modems continue to be used in the American province.

But in general, the problem becomes all the more urgent, the more actively the US is looking for partners in the process of deploying 5G networks. Initially it was assumed that the delivery in the US device for 5G will be two companies - Huawei and Samsung.

The American company AT & T December 18, 2018, said it had made the first commercial launch of 5G networks. The new communications standard will be available to residents of 12 cities, the largest of which are Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio. However, if the company has everything in order with the transmitters, then there are no compatible devices for receiving the signal by mass users. And having disowned Huawei, the United States seriously slowed down its own development of 5G.

Europe is in defiance

After the US entered a trade war with China, accusing it not only of “unfair trade”, but also of stealing American secrets, Washington demanded that the Europeans abandon the services of Huawei and ZTE to create 5G networks. But the further the American accusations go, the more obvious it becomes that Europe did not listen to Washington.

In late April, the United Kingdom officially provided Huawei with limited access to its digital networks for upgrading to 5G technology. This decision was taken on April 23 at a meeting of the British Council on National Security, which was held by Premier Theresa May.

Sources then reported that Britain decided to make a balanced decision, restricting Huawei access to the main parts of 5G.

London has not refused the services of Huawei, as he was asked in Washington. And it's all about the technological advantages that the 5G network provides to consumers. So far, the United States may require a ban on Huawei in Europe, but are not able to offer its own alternative.

Moreover, the launch date of the first 5G network in the UK is already known. Vodafone, which cooperates with Huawei, announced the introduction of the first such network in the country since July 3.

From July 3, 5G should come to Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. The company said that 5G, unlike 4G, gives less delay between sending a message and getting a response, and also supports a larger number of connected devices. This gives government and police the opportunity to work even faster. That is, the benefits of switching to 5G are undeniable.

A similar situation exists in Germany, which did not break the agreement with Huawei under US pressure, although in Berlin there are opinions about the dangers of cooperation with a Chinese company.

According to another Reuters report, the German Foreign Ministry still doubts Beijing’s sincerity. The latter proposed that Berlin sign an agreement that the Huawei equipment would not contain any spyware chips or software, but the Germans were skeptical about this proposal.

Nevertheless, the Federal Network Agency of Germany in April held an auction for the sale of 5G frequencies in the amount of 2.1 billion dollars. The frequencies were purchased by telecommunications companies Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica and 1 & 1.

Thus, Britain and Germany are moving towards the introduction of 5G and do not disdain cooperation with Huawei. For the US, everything instantly turned upside down. Trump sought a rejection of Europe from Chinese technology in order to throw the Europeans back and then, possibly, export American technology to the continent.

It turned out that Europe is already introducing such networks with might and main, disobeying Washington, and the US is banning Huawei and can now rely only on themselves and Samsung. The South Korean company will probably cope with its task and will introduce fifth-generation smartphones, tablets and modems to the American market, only this will happen much later than in Europe.