China is now outspending the United States in the global 5G race and is deploying next-generation wireless technologies at an unprecedented pace, a Tuesday report from market insight firm Deloitte found. Together with a number of other countries in the region, China is on its way to create “a 5G tsunami,” making it “nearly impossible” for the U.S. to catch up, as per the same study. The telecom giants in the Far Eastern country were right to start early investments in the field as large-scale 5G deployment is estimated to require a sustained investment cycle spanning around a decade, meaning the markets that are yet to play catch-up with China won’t be able to cut corners once they move forward with buildouts, Deloitte’s experts argue.
China already has ten times more cellular sites rated as 5G-ready than the U.S., according to the same study, with its findings indicating that Chinese mobile service providers deployed more 5G-enabled sites in three months of 2017 than the U.S. did over the last three years. Coupled with the fact that the Federal Communications Commission won’t be holding its first millimeter-wave spectrum auction until November, it’s extremely unlikely that the U.S. will beat China in the global 5G race. South Korea, Japan, and Australia all presently seem to be ahead of the stateside wireless industry in 5G buildout preparations even though American network operators and tech giants such as Qualcomm greatly contributed to recent research and development efforts in the field.
Since 2015, China invested $24 billion more than the U.S. did in 5G, Deloitte found. Besides a more aggressive approach to 5G investments in general, one of the main reasons for the discrepancy may lie in the fact that the deployment of next-generation cellular solutions is up to 35-percent cheaper in China compared to the U.S. All major stateside wireless carriers are presently targeting nationwide 5G coverage by 2020.
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