The US government's scepticism and mistrust of China has been reiterated once more following reports it is set to nationalize 5G in an effort to further protect itself from the country. It has been claimed that the US plan to construct its own 5G network and thereby nationalise a portion of the country's mobile infrastructure.
Nationalisation in any industry is a completely foreign concept to the US and the current Trump administration that are viewed as being very pro-capitalist. However, it is believed by many within the administration that the best way to combat the potential security threat posed by China is for the United States to build its own 5G network.
A US news outlet obtained a government report which was produced by National Security Council officials - and in the document it highlighted how Trump's administration was considering an unprecedented takeover of a portion of the nation's mobile networks.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did acknowledge that there are a number of options currently on the table as the government attempts to find a resolution in order to address the need for a secure network. However, Sanders did stress that the administration was in the very early stages of the dialogue in relation to this issue and reiterated that no decisions have been made.
It has been claimed that the US government is currently considering two options. The first option would see the government build and pay for a centralized 5G network within three years which would ultimately make the 5G infrastructure nationalised, in an industry that is traditionally private it would inevitably spark outrage amongst many in the mobile industry. If this decision is passed operators would have to rent capacity from the government's new network.
The other option would see operators build their own 5G networks, which is what many analysts expect them to do. However, the national security report has highlighted that while this would prove less commercially disruptive to the industry, it would cost more and take much longer to construct.
A source close to the US government has suggested that one single centralized network would be more than sufficient to protect the country against China and other aggressors. He also claimed the US will now enter negotiations to debate whether they should construct the network, or examine whether the country's leading operators could form a consortium to build one network together.
The report has said that the US need to construct a 5G network soon because China has positioned itself in a dominant place in relation to the manufacturing and operation of national network infrastructure. It also claimed the country to be a dominant malicious actor in the information domain.
Several key questions will need to be addressed before the US government can move forward on this issue. It is unknown whether or not the state has enough spectrum-band to even build its own 5G network as operators have already invested billions acquiring airwaves suitable for 5G launches in the forthcoming years.
The proposal by the US to construct its own network is likely to be met with vehement opposition by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Chairman Ajit Pai already labelled the idea a costly and counterproductive distraction.
Whether or not a 5G nationalised 5G network comes to fruition, it remains clearly evident that the Trump administration has serious concerns in relation to Chinese technology companies operating in the US.