Trump vows not to nationalise 5G as FCC makes funding and spectrum available

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The US has reiterated its desire to be the global leader in the development deployment 5G networks with the announcement of a new spectrum auction, public funding, and government assurances.

President Donald Trump has considered nationalising the country’s 5G infrastructure in a bid to establish leadership, but he has now promised to let the private sector lead the way and has urged them to move quickly.

“In the United States our approach is private-sector driven and private-sector led. The government doesn’t have to spend lots of money,” Trump said. “Leading through the government, it won’t be nearly as good, nearly as fast.”


His comments have been welcomed by industry groups who believed the speculation was harmful to the market and that government intervention would be misguided. AT&T and Verizon have already launched 5G services, while Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to follow suit once the first compatible handsets are made available.

Trump was speaking alongside the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, who promised the President that his organisation would do everything it could to facilitate 5G rollout.

This includes the easing of regulation relating to site infrastructure deployment, proposals that make fibre available to more of the US, and spectrum availability.

“America must win the race to 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity,” said Pai. “This matters for two key reasons. The first is national competitiveness. We want the good-paying jobs that develop and deploy 5G technologies to be created here.

“We want these technologies to give our economy a leg up as we compete against the rest of the world. The second reason U.S. leadership matters is that 5G will improve Americans’ lives in so many ways. From precision agriculture to smart transportation networks to telemedicine and more, we want Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution, while protecting our innovators and citizens.”

Spectrum sale


The FCC will hold a sale of upper 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz airwaves in December 2019, with 3,400MHz up for grabs. To put this into perspective, the spectrum it has sold in the past two 5G auctions amounted to 1550MHz.

Separately, the FCC will make $20.4 billion available through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bring high speed broadband to four million additional homes and businesses in the US.

“This money will extend high-speed broadband to up to four million homes and small businesses in rural America,” said Pai. “These next-generation networks will bring greater economic opportunity to America’s Heartland and will help support future 5G technologies.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.