China is leading the US in the race to build infrastructure for 5 G wirelessly, according to a report. The country has spent the US $24 billion since 2015 and built ten times more sites to support 5G communications, according to the Deloitte Consulting report, as quoted by Reuters. China built 350,000 new mobile phone tower sites, while the US built less than 30,000, and China added more sites in a three month period from 2017 than the US in the past three years.
The report suggests that the first country to adopt the next generation of wireless communications will “experience disproportionate gains” as 5G introduces an “era of untapped economic potential.” It also notes that it is about 35 percent cheaper to install the equipment needed for 5G in China compared to the US. To allow the US to compete, Deloitte recommends that the policy is amended to shorten implementation time, encourage airlines to cooperate and implement a database of statistics and best practices.
“Maintaining American leadership in the field of mobile communications requires carriers, technology providers, OTT innovators, municipalities and policymakers to work together to build a strong business case for 5G,” said Dan Littmann, a principal of Deloitte Consulting in tech, in a statement. “Roll-out costs and cycle times for a densified network infrastructure are crucial for the US to gain equal footing with other countries aiming for the first to 5G.”
The report supports an April study that gave China and South Korea a head start on the US and Japan as world leaders in 5G. It is likely that American airlines Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint will launch their 5G networks in early 2019, while AT & T said it would bring this mobile 5G network to three cities this year.