The race towards 5G connectivity is very much on, with companies working towards the standard. However, while much of the coverage about development comes from the US, China is actually outpacing the west. According to Deloitte, China is deploying more 5G infrastructure and is expanding more quickly.

United States based network carriers may be the first to launch 5G, but it will be more available in China. The consultancy firm says China is on course to become the leader in next-generation wireless technology.

In a little bit of fear mongering, Deloitte says carriers much adapt now or get swamped by a “5G tsunami, making it near impossible to catch up.”

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5G connectivity will deliver improved wireless performance, including bandwidth, security, and responsiveness improvements over 4G LTE. In a growing age of interconnected devices, Deloitte mirrors analyst predictions that a country that leads in 5G will gives it companies an “era of untapped economic potential.”

China is currently leading that push. The report shows the country has added more mobile sites in the last three months that the US has achieved in the last three years. Since 2015, US-based carriers have created 30,000 new 5G cell sites. In contract, China has spent $24 billion more on the connectivity and built 350,000 sites.

Regulatory Limitations

This is just the start as China is planning to spend hundreds of billions more. With access to affordable components from its homeland, the country is able to develop more rapidly and more affordably. In the United States, regulators have prevented companies using affordable Chinese components due to privacy concerns.

To change the tide, Deloitte says the US government must become more cooperative with network carriers. Regulators can cut deployment requirements to encourage carriers to build new sites more quickly.

“[U]nless tangible steps are taken to help rebalance the private investment case for the upgrade with the demonstrated external benefits to other industries and the public good,” the report says, “the United States may risk losing the leadership it gained in the previous era. The negative consequences could take decades to overcome, and other countries are already making their moves.”

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