Despite Huawei Ban, China Still Leads U.S. in 5G Network

Despite Huawei Ban, China Still Leads U.S. in 5G Network

China is making tremendous progress in its 5G roll out despite US ban on its lead telecom company, Huawei. China Daily reported that the number of 5G users in Beijing has hit 5.06 million since the network was launched in 2019.

The unprecedented growth has been powered by the proactivity of Beijing Branches of China Mobile, China Unicorn and China Telecom. These three companies with 5G licenses have applied 5G in over 1,000 projects, according to the report.

A total of 44,000 5G base stations have become operational as of August, and the number is expected to exceed 50,000 by the end of 2020, according to Beijing Municipal Communication Administration.

The Administration said the numbers are enough to meet the demand of industrial internet, internet of vehicles and telemedicine.

In the US, the cities are still struggling with 5G infrastructure that should provide the speed needed for services such as the internet of vehicles and telemedicine. While the US is recording an increase of 5G deployment in many cities, users say its speed and effectiveness are very poor compared to other countries and cities outside the United States.

Opensignal report published in August confirmed that the US is lagging behind compared to many other countries. The report was based on average 5G download speed, which saw other countries way ahead of the United States.

South Korean 5G users have the best experience with 5.3 times faster average 5G speeds than 4G – 312.7Mbps. Australia came second with 215.7Mbps, followed by Taiwan with 210.2Mbps and Canada, 178.1Mbps. Saudi Arabia has 414.2Mbps, a speed 14.3 times faster than 4G. However, the US recorded slow speed in both 4G (28.9Mbps) and 5G (50.9Mbps), making it the slowest among the countries in opensignal report.

The compared speeds show that users in several countries enjoy 4G connections faster than the average US 5G speed. Another country with a low 5G speed is the UK, due to its government’s decision to oust Huawei from 5G roll out. VentureBeat reported that there is a scanty 5G network in many UK cities, but where it can be found, the network download speed is 133.5Mbps, which is 2.6 times faster than that of the US.

Consequently, the United States 5G status places it behind several other countries in innovations and technologies expected to be powered by 5G networks. Telemedicine, car internet and industrial technologies waiting to be powered by 5G networks will have to wait longer, at least 2021 or 2022, when the US is expected to Improve the speed of its 5G network.

Meanwhile, Huawei has continued to lobby Washington to allow US companies to supply it with chips. Though the embattled Chinese company’s Rotating Chairman Guo Ping said it has enough chipsets for its business to business operations, including 5G network enterprise, it desperately needs chips for smartphone production. Rolling out 5G networks without the devices will amount to a half-done job to Huawei.

Some US companies have applied for licenses to supply Huawei with the chips it needs to make smartphones. Early this week, the US government grants Intel license to supply Huawei with chipsets, now Qualcomm has applied for license and so does other chip-making companies including South Korea’s SK Hynix, and US’ MediaTek.

If the applications are approved, it means Huawei will have enough for its 5G smartphones. The Chinese telecom giant said it is willing to use chipsets from US companies, including Qualcomm.

“It is understood that suppliers such as Qualcomm were applying for U.S. licenses which would allow them to continue serving Huawei,” said Guo Ping, Adding that he hopes that the US government would reconsider its policy and allow Huawei to get supplies from US companies.

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