U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday at the White House that the U.S. government would free up much wireless spectrum and build better infrastructure to take a leadership in 5G, the next-generation wireless network.
It came after the country's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Friday a plan to start largest spectrum auction and spend over 20 billion U.S. dollars for rural high-speed internet.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that American wireless carriers would be bidding for as much as 3.4 gigahertz of "millimeter-wave" spectrum starting on Dec. 10 this year.
Verizon, one of America's largest telecommunications companies, announced on April 3 the official operation of its commercial 5G network in two American cities, making it the world's first commercial 5G mobile service for customers with 5G-equipped smartphones.
While the United States leads in some key 5G-readiness metrics, China and other countries are ahead in making critical mid-band spectrum available for 5G, according to a report made in April by CTIA, a trade association representing the U.S. wireless communications industry and companies throughout the mobile ecosystem.
The millimeter-wave spectrum or high-band spectrum to be auctioned off refers to frequencies above 24 GHz. Its capacity is higher but its coverage lower than the mid-band spectrum. So the mid-band spectrum can travel far to provide broader service than the high-band spectrum.
Another challenge for 5G service is the country's weaker infrastructure in rural areas, according to the CTIA report.
Trump said the 5G industry in the United States would be "private sector-driven and private sector-led," so the U.S. government does not have to spend lots of money.
But the FCC unveiled a plan to provide 20.4 billion U.S. dollars in the coming decade to connect up to 4 million rural homes and small businesses to high-speed internet.
This is part of FCC's three-part 5G Fast Plan, namely, spectrum freeing-up, small antennas installment and deployment of optical fiber, according to Pai.
Trump described in his speech the building of 5G service a race that "America must win," and "will win."
But FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in her Twitter account on Friday, "from imposing tariffs on 5G equipment to alienating allies on 5G security to falling behind the rest of the world on critical mid-band spectrum," the Trump administration has yet to offer a workable plan for U.S. leadership.
"So far this Administration's interventions on 5G have done more harm than good," said Rosenworcel.