While Huawei and ZTE are driving the bulk of the infrastructure, Nokia, incidentally, has also got an opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest market for internet consumers.
A dream for the tech-driven world could be unfolding over the next decade. Billions of people and billions of machines enmeshed 24X7 over 5G networks. It could multiply opportunities, rake in billions for companies and create an industry worth trillions.
The opportunity is dividing people and nations. 5G could be one of the biggest technology battles being fought in modern times. Companies are being supported by governments in their countries as the battle unfolds.
After the world’s first 5G network was rolled out in South Korea in 2018, the expansion of 5G networks across several countries has already begun. All eyes are on Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson as they take on Chinese rivals Huawei and ZTE. The battle between the telecom giants is playing out in one country after another as they try to stamp their dominance on the industry.
Several other markets around the world are in different stages of rolling out their 5G networks. Estimates suggest that by 2023, nearly 10 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers will be on a 5G network.
Battle royal unfolding
From high-speed communication to video and machine-to-machine communication, 5G is being promised as the ideal solution for the emerging world’s business challenges. Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and immersive video could become a reality when 5G networks are ready. It could also revolutionise the broadcasting industry making live transmission very simple.
5G networks are expected to bring download speeds of 10 GB/s with peaks of up to 20 GB/s. Businesses would find that speed enticing to build and grow their digital businesses. It will also drive electrical grids, factories, automobiles, medical equipment and nearly all businesses to be online, making the 5G networks more ubiquitous for business.
Last month, Huawei claimed that it had won 91 contracts from supporting 5G rollouts around the world. Ericsson, in comparison, is reported to have cornered 93 deals to roll out their networks while Nokia has stitched deals for 73.
China has launched the new infrastructure campaign to drive the building of networks for the next generation of business. 5G networks and industrial internet is one of them the seven priority areas that have been identified by the government. Spending $350 billion in building 550,000 5G base stations will be tough for countries to match in pandemic ravaged times.
While Huawei and ZTE are driving the bulk of the infrastructure, Nokia, incidentally, has also got an opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest market for internet consumers. The four U.S. carriers are already going through the process of rolling out their 5G networks but China appears to have taken the lead with its scale.
The security dilemma
As the battle unfolds, Pentagon declared 20 Chinese companies as ones that had links to its military. It included Huawei, which has now been banned from participating in the 5G telecommunication business.
U.K. has decided to ban Huawei and all its equipment will be removed from the 5G networks by 2027. It decided that no new Huawei equipment can be purchased after December 2020, after a review by the National Security Council. Italy is considering whether Huawei can be excluded from its 5G networks.
The Chinese firm lost out to rivals Ericsson and Nokia as SingTel and StarHub finalised their plans to roll out a nationwide 5G network, with at least half the country covered by 2022. Singapore said all companies and their products were considered.
The battle for contracts may be well on its way. It is now time to battle for consumers.