Trump takes strategic steps for U.S. 5G spectrum strategy

The Trump Administration is moving to develop a comprehensive long term spectrum strategy to prepare for the launch of next-generation 5G wireless networks.

In a significant development, U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Commerce Department to develop a long-term comprehensive national spectrum strategy to prepare for the launch of next-generation 5G wireless networks.

Trump has also called for the creation of a White House Spectrum Strategy Task Force which will collaborate with federal agencies to report on government spectrum requirements and review how spectrum can be shared with private sector users.

The memorandum requires the generation of a series of reports over the next nine months and aims to look at ways to increase spectrum as well as share existing spectrum between private players and the government. A long-term strategy is due by July 2019.

The goal of the memorandum is to ensure there is enough spectrum to handle the growing amount of internet and wireless traffic and that future faster 5G networks have adequate spectrum.

In this context, the White House also stated, Trump is withdrawing presidential memorandums on spectrum signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2013.

U.S. ISPs

According to the Federal Communications Commission, T-Mobile US Inc, AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, and Sprint Corp are working on acquire spectrum and are beginning to develop and test 5G networks, which are expected to be at least 100 times faster than current 4G networks; 5G networks are also slated to cut latency to less than one-thousandth of a second from one-hundredth of a second in current 4G networks.

CTIA, a wireless industry trade group has praised the Trump administration for “recognizing the importance of establishing a national spectrum strategy. With the right approach based on licensed wireless spectrum, America’s wireless carriers will invest hundreds of billions of dollars and create millions of jobs.”

Although a leaked document in January 2018 suggested that the Trump Administration was considering the idea of nationalizing the 5G network, White House officials stated they do not support any effort to nationalize the 5G network.

“We will prioritize efforts to accelerate the private sector’s development of 5G, so that the American people can reap the rewards of this incredible technology,” said Michael Kratsios, advisor to the White House.

Jessica Rosenworcel, the Democratic Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) has questioned the length of the time for the reports saying, “Other nations are moving ahead while we’re headed to study hall – and in the interim we’re slapping big tariffs on 5G networks. This doesn’t speed our 5G leadership – it slows us down”.

One major issue that needs to be resolved is a band of spectrum reserved for automakers to enable vehicles to “talk” to one another that has gone largely unused. Cable companies and others want the FCC to award part or all of that to expand Wi-Fi.

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