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5G Competition Heats Up

The competition to control various parts of 5G is heating up, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s happening: “Equipment makers, smartphone sellers and chip designers are all vying for control of machines and services that use the fifth-generation wireless standard, which is becoming easier to find across parts of Asia, Europe and North America. Since its start as a series of plans developed by engineers and government policymakers, 5G technology has moved from a rounding error to a multibillion-dollar business for many tech companies.”

Shifting positions: China’s Huawei Technologies Co. continues to lead the $90-billion-a-year telecom-equipment market, but others, such as Ericsson and Samsung, are making inroads.

  • “Analysts agree that Samsung is a company to keep an eye on. The South Korean company differentiates itself  with a range of products that cover all aspects of 5G, from smartphones to base stations to chips. The breadth of products gives the company a slight advantage in that it can fully test its products and optimize their performance before offering them on the market, according to [Patrick] Filkins [of International Data Corp.].”

Competition with China: The U.S. is benefiting from 5G, but China is now getting the most out of the technology. “China’s lead stems from its head start in the rollout of 5G networks. In July, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the country had installed 961,000 5G base stations, more than any other country so far. That’s about one base station for every 1,500 people—an impressive figure for a country as sprawling as China, says Bill Rojas, an analyst at IDC.”

  • The U.S. is not far behind, however. By the middle of 2021, the U.S. had installed about 100,000 5G base stations.
  • Japan is a distant third to China and the U.S. when it comes to 5G, though it deployed some applications for the Tokyo Olympics.
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