Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

China Pushing Ahead With 5G

Man holding a smartphone
By Eric Sinrod on November 12, 2019 10:57 AM

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

China recently launched a tremendously large 5G network. How large? This network has the capacity to bring 50 cities online. This is reportedly one of the largest-ever rollouts of an extremely fast 5G mobile network.

Why 5G Matters

In the short run, this type of 5G rollout can enable smartphone users in China to gain high-speed internet access. And, looking downfield, some experts reportedly worry that this deployment could move China past the United States with respect to 5G technology and the various applications it will support.

Plainly, 5G is entering the field with Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing when it comes to the United States-China technology competition.

And while 5G networking allows for quicker video streaming and game downloading, it also can enable faster decisions by robots and communications with military units and drones, according to Axios.

Is the U.S. Falling Behind?

It is true that the United States and Europe have some consumer 5G networks currently in service. But they reportedly are more limited in scope than what China has launched.

At this point, the United States, while behind in certain aspects of 5G networking, still leads China when it comes to technologies supporting the networking. And meanwhile, the United States has levied bans and sanctions against Huawei, the massive Chinese networking company.

Paul Scharre, the Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, reportedly has stated that the United States government needs to actively promote homegrown 5G competition where Huawei has been out front. And it is possible that the recent 5G launch in China could help keep Huawei at the forefront of the international 5G market.

It appears that greater 5G capabilities here in the United States would be beneficial commercially and militarily. Indeed, the current administration has indicated openness to cooperating with certain nations in developing 5G technology while seeking to keep away from Huawei equipment.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

Related Resources