A state-run 5G network is impossible in the US

From Engadget - January 30, 2018

This kind of state-run network is completely antithetical to the administration's public stance on deregulation and privatization. It even prompted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to come down strongly in opposition. It turns out, however, that the document was outdated, and the Trump administration strongly denies it ever seriously considered such a proposal.

Which is great news for fans of deregulation of course, but there was no reason for them to worry in the first place: Because it never could have happened anyway. In fact, there are countless reasons why a government-run 5G network would never fly in the US, especially under the current administration.

For one thing, most millimeter wave bands that were approved under the recently published 5G spec have already been licensed out. The 28, 38 and 60 GHz bands are largely split between the big four carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile -- and a few smaller outfits. With the sale of FiberTower to AT&T and Straight Path to Verizon, the two biggest carriers will eventually own the majority of the country's licensed millimeter-wave spectrum, which is a valuable 5G resource. And Verizon already owns enough 5G spectrum to cover the entire country.

What's more, these carriers have already been busy laying the groundwork necessary to build out their 5G networks. AT&T hopes to launch spec-based mobile 5G to 12 cities in late 2018, Verizon has already been testing home-based 5G ahead of a 2018 launch, Sprint has committed to a 5G network in 2019, while T-Mobile will finally catch up in 2020.


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