China’s growing 5G dominance is a disaster for US security


While Democrats and the media focus on the impeachment hoax in an attempt to re-litigate the results of the 2016 election, America’s greatest enemy is exerting dominance as the world’s leading actor in the next generation of wireless technology.

China’s influence over the fifth generation of wireless technology, more commonly known as 5G, is a lot more important than some TV commercials might have you believe. The first country to deploy 5G will own the economy of the future, establish itself as the worldwide leader in technology and innovation, and have an upper hand in terms of national security. It is crucial that America — not one of our greatest adversaries, such as China — continue to lead the world. 

This issue has become more and more of an interest of mine. I have consistently warned of the rise of China and its malevolent aims toward America. Additionally, 5G is an issue that will impact students and millennials more than any other generation, because the future of 5G’s ownership and implementation will dictate the privacy and online security of my mobile-focused, tech-obsessed generation.

Building the wireless communications infrastructure needed to deploy 5G is the first step in beating China in this race. As of now, we’re falling behind. Since 2015, China has outspent the U.S. by roughly $24 billion in 5G infrastructure. Because of that, China has built about 12 times more 5G base stations than the U.S. At one point in 2017, China built more 5G base stations in a three-month span than the U.S. did in three years.

China wants nothing more than to achieve digital dominance, and they are using Huawei, their largest telecommunications company, to do exactly that. China is reported to have given Huawei as much as $75 billion in subsidies. This is a blatant effort to undercut international competitors, corner the 5G market and take Huawei to the top of global communications. Sadly, we are watching this arm of the Chinese government spread to more and more countries — even our allies.

Huawei currently operates in more than 170 countries. Most recently, and notably, the United Kingdom decided to allow Huawei to take part in its 5G networks. This is a company that was charged with bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology, among other criminal offenses, by the U.S. Justice Department just last year. The FBI director commented that Huawei “repeatedly refused to respect the laws of the United States and standard international business practices.” Huawei’s presence in the U.K. is already straining our two countries’ longtime relationship; it is likely to affect U.S.-U.K. intelligence sharing, and rightfully so.

Huawei repeatedly has denied the U.S. argument that the Chinese government could force it to install backdoors in its equipment, to spy on American networks. But, tens of billions of dollars in financial assistance tend to make people think otherwise. Huawei is not a company that we can trust, and that’s why America cannot allow China to win the 5G race.

If the U.S. falls behind China in the race to 5G, our software and cloud companies will find themselves playing catch-up to Huawei; Chinese companies will own the patents necessary for building future 5G networks, and we will be reliant on a Chinese government-owned and -operated global communications network. Throughout this process, as we just saw with the U.K., other countries will look to Chinese-built hardware and software, putting our manufacturers at even more of a disadvantage.

To make up lost ground in this race and to ensure our national security, we need to move quickly. The first step in doing this is auctioning off the C-band spectrum — the digital spectrum with the right balance of coverage and capacity to facilitate 5G adoption all across America. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai set the goal of a 2020 public auction and, for the sake of our country’s future, we need to make sure it happens. Winning the 5G race would mean creating 22 million jobs worldwide and generating over $13 trillion in global economic output. Building the network infrastructure alone would drive $275 billion in private sector investment, create 3 million American jobs, and add $500 billion to the economy. 

Americans want and deserve these benefits. According to a poll released by 5G Action Now, an advocacy organization founded to establish the U.S. as the worldwide leader in 5G, 84 percent of Americans believe it is crucial that we win the race against China to deploy 5G.

China’s 5G influence is spreading throughout the world, and it’s time we take action to stop it. To achieve this global mission, we need to cooperate at home. The satellite companies currently occupying the C-band spectrum are the only ones who can execute the accelerated auction we need — the FCC needs to incentivize them, fairly compensate them for their work, and let the private sector get to work on implementing 5G. Either that, or we give up even more ground to our country’s biggest threat. I know which option I prefer.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that aims to educate students on free-market values. Follow him on Twitter @CharlieKirk11.

Tags 5G Concerns over Chinese involvement in 5G wireless networks Huawei Mobile telecommunications

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