The U.S. needs to make it easier for companies to build out the country’s 5G networks as China already has a significant lead, according to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt.
Hundt told CNBC on Monday that this is vitally important for the country to lead in the 5G space, claiming it’s a “national imperative”, and that there are two main ways the country can hope to speed up the deployment.
Two ways to win at 5G
The first way is regarding the federal trial over the possible merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. With the main concern surrounding the merger being that it could harm wireless competition, and therefore consumers.
“This trial is very, very much about who will be able to get spectrum to build these 5G networks,” said Reed Hundt. He believes that the delay is only holding 5G back from a nationwide roll-out. The settlement also includes provisions that could make it easier for Dish to build 5G networks.
According to the FCC agreement, Dish can roll-out a 5G network that will reach 70% of the U.S. population by 2023. However, if Dish fails to meet that deadline, it will pay the U.S. Treasury up to $2.2 billion.
Get out of the ‘regulatory swamp’
Regarding a second way the U.S. can improve its 5G situation, Hundt claimed that more could be done to help American network operators when it comes to spectrum provision.
“The second way in which the government can unlock nationwide 5G is if the FCC releases additional 5G spectrum from the ‘regulatory swamp’, to enable companies to purchase it, and further build out networks,” Hundt explained.
Hundt went on to say that the US needs to move fast “and solve our own political and regulatory problems”, if it is to stand any chance of going toe-to-toe with China.
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