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5G Race USA China

Huawei Saga: 5G Race between US and China

Being ahead of each other in global technology makes all the difference nowadays and the first ones to achieve 5G will be the dominant ones but how did it become a tussle between China and the US? Who’s winning? Why they’re winning? Don’t worry, we’ve got it all covered in our article.

What is 5G

Fifth-generation (5G) wireless iteration of latest cellular technology is engineered in such a way that it increases the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. It would make LTE look outdated when compared, just the way LTE did with 3G. How is 5G faster than 4G? This is done by numerous ways some of which are:

  • By using “millimeter waves” instead of “microwaves” (not microwave oven waves but micro as in 10−6 ). Increasing frequency and decreasing the wave length of the radio waves will help increase the amount of “Data rate” transferred per second.
  • MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). Every cell will have multiple antennas transferring data with the wireless device. The wireless device will also have multiple antennas for transferring data with the cell. This method will ensure data being transferred parallel to each other continuously which would greatly increase the data transmission speed and decrease latency. This 7 minute video explains MIMO in a very simple technique
  • Beamforming is another way which works by a computer continuously calculating the best route for the radio waves to reach each wireless device. This will be possible by arranging a path by using multiple antennas to work together as phased arrays.

5G is Important But Why

4G has limited usage as compared to 5G e.g 4G can only support 100,000 devices per square kilometer however 5G can support 1,000,000 devices per square kilometer. This means 5G can handle 10 times more users as compared to 4G. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) a government run research institute estimated that 5G will create more than 8 million jobs domestically by 2030. Major industries including health care and energy will spend billions of dollars on 5G equipment and wireless devices during this technology.

How 5G became a War Zone for US and China

US was the first country to achieve 4G which helped it’s economy in numerous ways mentioned above. US plans to be the first one to have 5G as well but US saw China working hard for the same purpose. This is where things got rough between the two. 5G would bring home a lot of money, technological advantages and power to the wielder. After the ban of Huawei in US, founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei said during a panel discussion at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters that “Huawei expect its revenues to drop $30 billion below forecast over the next two years”. The ban was removed later on. Huawei has been infact doing quite well with barriers in its way. Huawei ranks 2nd best as the smartphone maker, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple even though Huawei headsets were ignored and rejected by the big four US carriers out of security reasons. China views 5G as a crucial part for technological advancements and economic growth.

For years Chinese companies lacked behind tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple. They were referred to as “copy cats” but now Chinese tech companies want to change this and are working to be on top of the tech (food) chain

Huawei engineers also have a good reputation for making it possible to make absurd and near impossible projects like building a 4G station more than 17,000 feet up Mountain Everest to allow mountaineers and rescue teams gain cell coverage. The company has also plans to upgrade this to 5G soon. Talk about being enthusiastic!

USA Lacks Behind China

One of the reason for ‘why’ is that China has Huawei and “Huawei equipment is behind the two-thirds of the commercially launched 5G networks outside of China“, said president of Huawei’s carrier business group Ryan Ding at an industry conference. Even though the ban of US had hindered Huawei’s 5G progress, Huawei employees stood firm. The founder said that these adverse circumstances, were greater than he expected but they would not slow down the pace of the company

We are like a damaged plane that protected only its heart and fuel tank but not its appendages. Huawei will get tested by the adjustment period and through time. We will grow stronger as we make this step.”

Huawei WW II Aircraft
“Heroes in any times go through great challenges” reads a placard present on the table of a Huawei campus cafe, showing the image of a damaged World War II aircraft.

The fifth generation of networks came to US on April 3rd in Chicago and Minneapolis. In US Verizon started selling their own 5G service, a wireless version of broadband to homes and offices. AT&T plans to bring 5G to 12 cities before the end of the year. All these things would have been great if not for the fact that the residents of Hangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan had been enjoying experimental 5G networks months before April 3rd. In the city of China Fangshan, autonomous vehicles have been driving with the help of Huawei using 5G and have been avoiding collisions with the help of this wireless network.

If you compare by which country would most likely succeed in equipping it’s major cities, then China would win with a big margin. China tower, a company which builds infrastructure of the country’s mobile operators, has confirmed that it can cover China with 5G within 3 years of the government’s allocation time. That means in the year 2023 China might be fully 5G equipped. Chinese carriers will use a spectrum band similar to what they did with 3G and 4G. This will allow them to reuse a number of existing cell sites, according to Mike Murphy, who heads global 5G technology development for Nokia. But in the US, AT&T and Verizon plan to use high-frequency bands in which signals travel less farther, this would require 3 to 4 times more cell sites than 4G did in US. The carriers will have to negotiate contracts to install sites with each city and things aren’t looking good as a number of them have already signaled resistance. Even equipment makers expect China to be the first to roll out 5G proliferately. Thomas Noren, who heads 5G commercialization efforts for Ericsson, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mobile network equipment, said “History tells that (Chinese operators) ramp up very quickly. They have (already) built more than an order of magnitude larger 4G networks than those in the US”.

5G Developments Leaders

Huawei already has signed contracts to provide 5G equipment with 40 international carriers and shipped over 70,000 5G base stations or short-range transceivers. To slow down this process US trying domestically and also putting pressure on its allies around the world to ban Huawei from their 5G networks on the risk of national-security. “If a country adopts (Huawei equipment) and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in late February. Due to this two international poles have been created, with or against Huawei. Australia, New Zealand and Japan have agreed reluctantly with the US ban and some other countries such as UK and Germany have kept up contact with Huawei and also the US.

Huawei has cornored the 5G networks market. This race is the most consequential race for global technoligical supremacy and the dominant ones will reign over technological advancements. The victor will be able to take home $2 billion increase in ecnomy growth annually apart from the other advantages such as decreased unemployment rate, better facilities and faster growth. Statistically speaking things don’t look good for US and China is dominating till yet. Let us know who will win and why in the comments.

Bonus: Will 5G kill us?

That totally depends on who you trust and believe. In Netherlands a news was spread that 5G has killed thousand birds, which was later on labelled as a hoax. Scientists have submitted their reports to US government notifying them of the adverse effects of 5G. However the main assessment was that it does affect our health but gradually. In the long run we might see it’s effects. The good news is nobody knows if they’ll be there that long and after some time obviously we’ll be seeing new advancements and technology. Most probably new developments will give us something without it’s adverse effects. After all the cancer reports from usage of Cell Phones is still in works and some even claim to establish the connection with the both.


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