Trump Officials Want 5G Network to Thwart Spying by China

A leaked PowerPoint presentation and memo obtained by Axios describes why America needs a centralized nationwide 5G network within three years.

WASHINGTON — National security officials in the Trump administration are examining the potential for building a 5G wireless network to counter espionage by China against the United States, according to a  leaked report.

National security officials laid out the plans in a PowerPoint presentation and memo obtained by the news website Axios. As envisioned, the nationwide next-generation mobile network would help safeguard communications from Chinese spies and other foreign actors.

“China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” the PowerPoint presentation obtained by Axios states. “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.”

There is currently no standard for 5G deployments. 5G planning aims at higher capacity than current 4G, allowing a higher density of mobile broadband users. The next-gen network is also said to support device-to-device and massive machine communications. 5G R&D also aims at lower latency than 4G equipment and lower battery consumption, for better implementation of the Internet of things [IoT].

Trump announced in December that developing 5G infrastructure would be a priority for the country’s national security strategy.

“We will improve America’s digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G internet capability nationwide,” Trump said. “These improvements will increase national competitiveness, benefit the environment, and improve our quality of life.”

The PowerPoint presentation states the U.S. must build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because, “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.”

To illustrate the current state of U.S. wireless networks, the PowerPoint uses a picture of a medieval walled city, compared to a future represented by a photo of lower Manhattan, according to Axios. The memo advocates that the government build a 5G network itself and then rent access to carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

A source familiar with the document’s drafting told Axios this is an “old” draft and a newer version is neutral about whether the U.S. government should build and own the proposed network.

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