Senators say the U.S. lacks a coordinated 5G strategy

Both the AH&LA and AAHOA released statements in support of the President’s call for bipartisan efforts to improve border security and ongoing job growth.
The eight senators cite concerns that China is leading on 5G, and that this poses a security threat to the United States.(Getty Images/Bill Chizek)

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has sent a letter to Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, calling for a more coordinated national strategy on 5G. The eight senators cite concerns that China is leading on 5G, and that this poses a security threat to the United States.

“In our view, the current national level approach to 5G is comprised of a dispersed coalition of common concern, rather than a coordinated, interagency activity,” states the letter. “Without a national strategy, facilitated by a common understanding of the geopolitical and technical impact of 5G and future telecommunications advancements, we expect each agency will continue to operate within its own mandate.”

O’Brien was appointed as national security advisor in September. He is President Trump’s fourth national security advisor.

In their letter, the senators urge O’Brien “to designate a dedicated, senior individual focused solely on coordinating and leading the nation’s effort to develop and deploy future telecommunications technologies.”

The letter was signed by Richard Burr (R-N.C.)  and Mark Warner (D-Va.), of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), of the Senate Homeland Security Committee; James Risch (R-Idaho) and Robert Menendez, (D-N.J.), of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Spectrum auctions take time

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is attempting to help speed up the process of allocating more spectrum for 5G. Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he favored a public auction of C-Band spectrum, which would commence before the end of 2020.

RELATED: Pai chooses public auction of C-band spectrum

And the FCC is also planning an auction of CBRS spectrum in June 2020.

Both CBRS and C-band spectrum will be important to carriers as they role out their 5G infrastructure. But it’s a slow slog in the U.S. Meanwhile, in China the government is leading a concerted effort on 5G, and the three main carriers are collaborating on infrastructure.