China is building a big advantage in the race for 5G

US behind China in 5G race

China has outspent the United States by $24 billion since 2015 and has built 350,000 new cell phone tower sites, while the United States has built less than 30,000.

The United States is being outspent by China in the race to build the next generation of wireless communication, known as 5G, and it risks losing out on the potential economic benefits, according to a report by consulting firm Deloitte published on August 7.

China's economic commitment to 5G makes it a formidable competitor, the report said.

Together with a number of other countries in the region, China is on its way to create "a 5G tsunami", making it "nearly impossible" for the U.S.to catch up, as per the same study.

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.

"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.

"We predict that 5G will expand the network effect dramatically by extending the reach of the internet to nearly any kind of connection, by nearly any kind of device, anywhere a wireless signal can reach", said.

"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.

Two other important factors in the 5G race are research and development spending and how quickly the government allocates additional radio frequencies to wireless companies.

Posters about 5G technology by China Mobile are seen at the 2nd World Intelligence Congress. South Korea was second, and the United States was third.

The report backs up an April study that placed China and South Korea ahead of the U.S. and Japan as the global leaders in 5G.

The US government has indicated it's aware of the threat from China. The telecom giants in the Far Eastern country were right to start early investments in the field as large-scale 5G deployment is estimated to require a sustained investment cycle spanning around a decade, meaning the markets that are yet to play catch-up with China won't be able to cut corners once they move forward with buildouts, Deloitte's experts argue.

T-Mobile US last week awarded a $3.5 billion contract to Nokia for supplying 5G networking equipment, to be delivered over multiple years.

Beijing plans to deploy 5G on a large commercial scale by 2020.

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