With 5G technology on the rise, existing geopolitical tensions involving China and the West are increasing, too, according to The Interpreter. This especially exists in the case of national security, since this was not highly considered during the 4G era.
When it comes to 5G, it seems that security is not a high concern for China. According to The Interpreter, China is framing it as a “technical arms race,” especially as it recovers from what it perceives as a lockout from 3G and 4G when they were released. Instead of focusing on security this time around, Chinese companies are engaged in standardization working groups on 5G at the International Telecommunications Union, and is looking to work with foreign governments to develop the technology. The Interpreter also says that because there “are fewer problems in China than other countries with getting mobile operators to cooperate on what will be an expensive roll-out, it is also likely to be an early 5G market.”
However, other countries preparing for the wave still have security as a top of mind topic. Under the Trump administration, the United States has considered nationalizing the 5G network, due to its role in national security. For example, the United States is reportedly reacting to China’s expansion with other countries by limiting the involvement of ZTE, a massive teleco in China, in the American market due to national security concerns. Britain has also followed suit, The Interpreter says. Similarly, back in 2012, Chinese telco Huawei as banned from bidding for a contract due to security concerns.
As a result, while The Interpreter anticipates 5G changing the way countries have access to data and how quickly data can fly into their hands, the technologies will be “hotly contested” across the world: “We can dream of 5G, it seems, but on waking we crash back to Earth with a thud.”