United States falling behind China in race to 5G wireless - Deloitte report
10 August, 2018, 04:01 | Author: Patty Hardy
As a result of all this, the United States risks ceding its tech leadership position to China, Deloitte concludes - particularly because of the disproportionate economic benefits that come with early tech adoption.
The US is at risk of losing its technology leadership position as it falls behind China in the race toward 5G deployment, a new report from Deloitte found.
As a result, the United States risked losing out on the potential economic benefits of the technology that's generally perceived as the mobile industry's future, the report said.
China built around 350,000 new cell sites over this period, compared to fewer than 30,000 for the US. "The potential economic benefits of 5G will soon become a key differentiator for cities looking to attract both businesses and residents".
"We're talking about billions of devices on the same network, not just millions", said Dan Littmann, a principal at Deloitte and an author of the study.
Despite the economic gains that are widely expected to come from 5G, investing in network infrastructure isn't always an obvious choice for carriers, the report points out.
"The ongoing pattern of steep declines in what customers pay per MB of mobile data makes the new investment needed for 5G hard for many carriers to support", the report says.
The study found that since 2015, China has outspent the United States on investments critical to 5G by around $24 billion.
Deloitte noted that adoption of 5G technology in the communications infrastructure is becoming increasingly critical.
Deloitte estimated that the equipment necessary to add a carrier in China cost about 35 percent less than the United States, suggesting that Washington would need to spend 2.67 times the amount that China does to generate an equivalent amount of wireless network capacity.
China was building network site density at an unprecedented rate, the report said, adding that China Tower, the leading provider of sites, owned about 96% of macro towers, small cells and DAS sites that were used by the country's wireless carriers. This means the USA has 0.4 sites compared to China's 5.3 sites for every 10 square miles.
In the meantime, Deloitte says, China and other countries are "creating a 5G tsunami".
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