Longtime Republican political operative Karl Rove has waded into the wholesale 5G network debate that has plagued the Trump administration, according to a report from Politico.
Rove has been involved in meetings with Rivada Networks.**A spokesperson for Rivada said, "We do believe that there should be a nationwide wholesale, open-access 5G network, but one that is privately funded, privately operated, voluntary to use and subject to the normal rules of market competition."
Two bipartisan bills recently have been submitted in the House of Representatives aimed at preventing the federal government from pursuing a national 5G network. The bills are in response to a confused announcement from key officials of President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign that seemed to signal that the president would call for a nationalized wholesale 5G network.
Rove has reportedly joined forces with Rivada Networks to push for a system that would enable spectrum allocated for the Department of Defense to be made available on a wholesale basis to other parties. Rove is not, however, a registered lobbyist for the company, according to Politico.
Rivada Networks, which counts Newt Gingrich and President Trump ally Peter Thiel as backers, found itself embroiled in a disagreement between Trump advisers and wireless industry stakeholders on 5G. A recently leaked 5G policy proposal from the Trump 2020 campaign appeared to show support for Rivada Networks’ own proposal, sparking concerns that the company would unfairly benefit from a wholesale approach to 5G.
President Trump has at various times called for a nationalized 5G network to compete with China, though his own advisers have commented publicly that the White House officially supports a “free-enterprise, free-market approach” to 5G.
**Update: This story was corrected after publication. Neither Rove nor Rivada are advocating for a nationalized 5G network.