New 5G coalition launched with tech, telecom giants

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Thirty-one technology and telecommunications companies on Tuesday launched a new coalition aimed at pushing lawmakers to back software-based alternatives to physical fifth-generation wireless (5G) infrastructure.

The Open RAN Coalition is championing the technology called “open radio access” as a way to advance competition and innovation in the 5G space.

The group argues that the government should fund and incentivize open and interoperable networks that allow more vendors to provide necessary equipment.

Facebook, Microsoft, Google, AT&T and Verizon are among the founding members of the group.

The coalition will be led by Diane Rinaldo, who previously served as acting chief of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“As evidenced by the current global pandemic, vendor choice and flexibility in next-generation network deployments are necessary from a security and performance standpoint,” Rinaldo said in a statement Tuesday.

“By promoting policies that standardize and develop open interfaces, we can ensure interoperability and security across different players and potentially lower the barrier to entry for new innovators,” she said.

Open radio access has been touted by President Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow as a way to reduce dependence on equipment from Huawei.

The Chinese telecommunications giant has been deemed a national security threat by the administration because of its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The Department of Commerce placed Huawei on its “entity list” in May 2019, preventing U.S. firms from conducting business with the company unless they obtain a specific license.

However, Huawei’s full inclusion on this list has been delayed multiple times to avoid disruptions to U.S. tech firms that have deals with it.

Tags 5G Donald Trump Larry Kudlow Mobile telecommunications
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