back to article Europe-style 5G standards testing? Consistent definitions? Who the fsck wants that, asks US mobe industry

5G mobile networks have been held out as the future of not just mobile communications but also smart cities, the internet of things, rural broadband access, and countless other future innovations. But with the standard still only partly finished, and with lots of additions and adjustments expected in the coming years, one of …

  1. DeKrow
    Black Helicopters

    Tangentially related

    So, US companies started the whole globalization thing by using cheap labor in China to manufacture their wares and see them for US-scale prices and make gigantic profits off the backs of, effectively, slave labor in other countries. Over the years this has resulted in the decline of manufacturing in any country with higher-than-the-lowest wage rates, giving these low wage countries both control of manufacturing and possession of the best knowledge of the everything to do with manufacturing processes.

    When it comes to consumers trying to do the same thing as the cheap-labor companies, purchasing in markets cheaper than the US, we get region-locked DVDs , laws against counterfeiting (even when the clothing comes off the same line), and excess branded stock being burnt / shredded to "protect brand integrity".

    When it comes to these countries that have been, for years, doing the manufacturing of goods for companies based in other countries actually manufacturing goods for companies based in their own country, and therefore not needing the profit margins of high-wage countries, the US Government goes straight to "National Security".

    I mean, technically, I think it is a National Security risk, but for reasons of the future economic stability of the US, not for "hack the planet" reasons.

    The US acts in its own economic interests. Everything else is secondary. What the US is saying, however, is to give the impression that their motives are more honorable than "give us money, not them". This isn't necessarily "wrong", as most countries probably act in the same way, it just happens that the US are the ones shouting from the rooftops at the moment.

    1. thames

      Re: Tangentially related

      Yes, the Americans have declared that Chinese 5G equipment is a "national security threat". They are also claiming that Canadian steel and aluminium are a "national security threat", and are preparing to declare that German cars are also a "national security threat".

      Draw your own conclusions as to how the Americans decide what constitutes a "national security threat".

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Tangentially related

        ... and they have called German cars a National Security Threat[TM]. Yeah, right...

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: Tangentially related

          Sounds daft, but it is in fact true:

          "US commerce department has concluded its investigation into European car imports and [...] concluded that European cars constitute a threat to US national security"

          Src, another source, more.

          I'll leave it up to you to guess where in the US government such a daft idea might possibly have originated from...

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: Tangentially related

            I assume you mean Trumpo the Magnificent, but whatever his awfulness, it was the Clintons, Bushs, Comeys, Obamas, Muellers, etc. etc. all detesting the old rascal, who ramped up the xenophobic threats of the Other and declared Wars of Liberation to keep America's dominance.


            Former Vice-President Joe Biden announced, “we will be back. We will be back. Don’t have any doubt about that.” He was referring to what he sees as America’s natural leading role in the international stage.

            National Interest

      2. RobThBay

        Re: Tangentially related

        I recently read that US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum are higher than the US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum. National security BS

  2. Ole Juul


    I realise that the US want's to protect their own ability to add back-doors to equipment and sell US made products. But, could it also be that they have an interest in stalling the adoption of 5G because their infrastructure doesn't have enough capacity for a 5G future? I mean, they're already making money to the max, so why would they want to spend more money on new technology?

    1. thames

      Re: Stalling?

      I think it has to do with they want to stall 5G adoption until they figure out how to get American companies at the heart of 5G standards.

      I believe that I read a while ago that royalties on standards patents accounted for roughly 40% of the cost of a DVD player, while the companies that actually manufactured them made razor-thin margins. Most of those standards were owned by American or Japanese companies.

      If IoT and 5G really lives up to their billing, then the big money from 5G is going to be made by the companies who will collect royalties on the standards for everything which incorporates them, which means nearly everything made for any purpose (look at the latest overpriced crap from Nike to see IoT shoes for example). The American government will see it as their duty to ensure that it is American companies collecting that economic rent on nearly everything made and sold. They have said repeatedly and clearly that they want the US to be the global "leaders" in all things.

      Keep in mind that this is the same American government who claim that the Canadian and European steel and aluminium industries are a threat to national security and imposed massive import tariffs on them, and are preparing to do the same with automobiles.

      If there were genuinely some serious threat posed by Huawei equipment, then I would imagine that we would be seeing some actual evidence for it by now. There are enough independent security researchers out there that could have found something if there were even a hint of something to find that was at all credible.

      If the American government have some clear evidence, then let's see it. Just saying "trust me" isn't going to convince many people outside of the US about "national security threats" whether we're talking about bars of aluminium, cars, or 5G equipment. The American record so far doesn't exactly inspire trust.

      1. rskurat

        Re: Stalling?

        Not going to convince many people inside the US either

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    If it wasn't pathetic, it'd be almost funny

    And here comes the USA again, pretending that it is the sole arbiter of what is right.

    I get that it wants to be first but, just like that annoying bully in college, wanting it does not make it so. Especially when nobody is depending on you to reach a decision.

    The CTIA has nothing on the GSM Association, no influence, no leverage. Basically the only thing it has achieved is to very publicly describe how it is going to be screwed.

    I'm counting on the GSM Association to just ignore that kid in the back row and get on with the project.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: If it wasn't pathetic, it'd be almost funny

      the US 5G will simply be ignored. There is enough rest-of-world to build different spec chips for 5G in Europe or whereever else buys into that standard.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: If it wasn't pathetic, it'd be almost funny

        The Americans have done the exact same thing: introducing new and incompatible standards, just because they can, in a rather more critical area: aircraft flight conflict resolution.

        The world solved this problem by extending an existing system, which uses mode C transponders, by adding an ES data packet that includes the aircraft's velocity vector to the transponder response. This allows TCAS equipment in aircraft carrying it to compare its vector with that of nearby aircraft to tell the pilot that there's a problem and how to resolve it and the transponders still work correctly with existing secondary radar systems, which simply ignore the ES data.

        The Americans decided this wasn't nearly good enough and introduced UAT. UAT does more or less the same thing BUT all signals have to go through a ground station: UAT equipped aircraft do not talk to each other, only to a nearby ground station. The ground station does the conflict resolution and broadcasts avoidance information to the affected aircraft. This is is totally incompatible with the internationally used Mode C+ES and TCAS system so aircraft need to carry UAT kit as well as a Mode C+ES transponder if they want to see both systems - needed by airliners inside the USA because the FAA pushes UAT use for light aircraft rather than Mode C+ES. On top of that it uses different frequencies, provides at best only patchy coverage of the continental USA due to a lack of ground stations in parts of the country and is not used outside the USA. But US equipment manufacturers love it - of course!

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Go East to Worship the Beast? They Realise the Prize is an AI Leading Great Game Changer.

    As Western Numpty 0day Neros and Wannabe Caesars fiddle about, Rome burns.

  5. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Who cares?

    From a user PoV surely the thing that matters is real-life data rates. I don't care how many gs it is - all I care about is how long google maps or a web page takes to load. I get 5/5 bars of 4g in central London but in some places it takes so long to load a web page that it's not worth bothering with.

    1. wyatt

      Re: Who cares?

      Great point and one I make out to many who want the latest and greatest. You can have the best technology in the world but if you've a pinch point in the supply pipeline/circuit you'll only ever work at the slowest speed.

      3G can be quicker than 4G which can be quicker than Broadband Internet sometimes. IoT is a buzzword, it'll be a good 5/10 years before things are more connected, if ever. Until there's a benefit to the user of it being connected it'll only be early adopters/force on tech that we see in use.

    2. Nick Kew

      Re: Who cares?

      The time it takes you to load a webpage is not necessarily down to the speed of your 'net connection.

      My 'net connection has been 4G for the past year, and it's a huge improvement on Virgin cable (which was fine when it worked, but all-too-often didn't). I'm not looking for more speed, but if 5G improves other things (I understand capacity is a core objective), that sounds like a good reason for it.

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Who cares?

      Service speed is indeed all that matters, so long as the phone and base station are mutually compatible. With the CTIA getting grumpy there's a possibility that when you go to the US one's phone won't work at all...

      The CTIA is ignoring recent history, as the article says. They're in danger of repeating it! TBH it depends on who gets there first and what they do with their version of the standard. Last time, the CDMA standards were proprietary and you couldn't do anything independently, whilst GSM's standards were utterly complete and free / readily available, telling you everything there's was to know. If the CTIA learn from that, it's not necessarily the case that Europe's version will dominate.

  6. big_D Silver badge

    Well, of course it is...

    evidence-free insistence on the part of the US government and mobile industry that all those Chinese products that work just as well, are built to the same specs, but are much, much cheaper are a security threat.

    Of course it is a security threat, the US can't insert its own spy software in the kit, if it is delivered directly from China instead of coming from the USA. Which page of the USA World Police playbook are you stuck on?

  7. James 51

    I assume then that if the EU pours funds into Nokia and Ericsson to have a source of 5G network technology independant of China (in the name of international security of course and not illegal state subsidies), they'll be happy to get on board?

  8. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Why bother with 5G if you cannot get 1G right?

    It is simply amazing to me that companies like AT&T are investing a lot of money into 5G when they still fail to do 1G correctly. If a cellular phone has areas of well-populated areas of no coverage of any kind, you failed. And yet, I can do just that with every mobile phone service provider here in the United States. Now I realize the US is very large and as such, I am not expecting coverage in the middle of an Arizona desert where the closest man made structure is 10 miles away. But I am expecting to be able to send and receive calls from areas where many people live. I would rather AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint spend most of their money making sure I can use the phone part of my smartphone everywhere there is a sizeable population of people than to have faster internet only in large cities.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with 5G if you cannot get 1G right?

      A few years ago I was visiting relatives in the back of beyond -- rural Saskatchewan, Canada. My brother noted he got better 4G service there than in the wilds of West Sussex. It was certainly consistent compared to the service I'm used to in the more remote parts of the US (even the 'not so remote' parts -- just go a few hundred yards off the Interstate and coverage drops -- no sense in wasting power on areas that won't return the max profit, is there?).

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Why bother with 5G if you cannot get 1G right?

      It is the same where I work, my LTE contract with Vodafone Germany say 500/100mbps maximum speed, but at work I get about 360bps (no, I didn't forget the M!) and at home I get 5mbps.

      It is so slow at work that Vodafone's own speedtest app fails, because it says it can't get a data connection.

  9. phuzz Silver badge

    "It's not entirely clear why the US feels that these sort of bully-boy tactics are going to work in its favor. Europe is a big-enough market by itself not to have to go along with whatever the US decides."

    Of course, if there was a little country on the edge of Europe, that didn't have the rest of the continent backing it up, they might be easier to strong-arm into accepting whatever the US wanted them to.

    Nah, no country would be stupid enough to put itself in that position though right?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      No small country would, but I know of one "superpower" otherwise fitting the description to a T ;)

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    How can this be true if we're leading the market?

    In the Business section of our local rag, the Los Angeles Times, there's an article headlined "US Leads Early in 5G Race". It builds on content from Cisco's annual "Visual Neworking Index" report. So we in the US can breath easier (so continues the article) because we've got the Huawei dragon tamed. And so on (fade in thunderous applause, chants of "USA! USA!" and visions of a sea of MAGA hats......).

    As someone who's "in the trade" I can't help being a bit skeptical. The last decade or two have been rough on engineers -- not the Silicon Valley apps developers but the regular grunt sort that do the infrastructure development -- with corporations offshoring facilities and laying off talent in the never ending search for higher profits. (I haven't visited a Cisco campus for quite a few years now but the last time I went to one in the Bay Area it had a distinct ghost town feel to it -- hollowed out workforce in buildings that had obviously seen much better days.) This doesn't bode well for the future and while I'm not prepared to concede the race just yet I do feel that no amount of fancy marketing materials can substitute for engineering and manufacturing capability.

    This will have a familiar feel to people from England. When I first started work the UK had a fairly robust engineering sector that was capable of developing advanced technologies. This got hollowed out in the search for profits -- companies separated their defense work from their commercial work and pretty much left the commercial sector to wither on the vine. Companies were struggling with limited investment caused by exaggerated expectations of profit, they merged and eventually collapsed due to their inability to deliver globally competitive product on time. There was no shortage of talent, it was just systematically abused so much of it found better work overseas. In the US this cycle was only just beginning when I arrived so I have been lucky to get many decades of good eating off it.

  11. DerekCurrie

    AT&T Doesn't Even Bother To Provide Proper 4G

    "Recently, for example, in the US, AT&T has been heavily criticized, and been at the end of a Sprint lawsuit, for adding a "5G E" symbol on its phones when they don't actually support a proper 5G standard."

    Not only is "5G E" a nonsense marketing moron (versus maven) invention, but AT&T mobile speeds doesn't even qualify for REAL 4G. Read it and be disgusted:

    Then there are the numerous scientists concerned about the health effects of 5G:

    $25 Million NIH Study Proves Wireless Technology Causes Cancer and DNA Damage - US Brain Tumor

    5G And The IOT: Scienticc Overview Of Human Health Risks

  12. DerekCurrie

    China: Criminal Nation already spies on and rips off the world.


    China has been documented to have been spying on and stealing from the rest of the world since 1998, the year the US Clinton administration provided them with 'Most Favored Nation' status. Of course China is going to use 5G hardware to continue their consistent hacking and robbery of IP and government information. This has a massive DUH Factor.

    Ask yourself: What does China actually INVENT?

    Then ask yourself why countries want to buy hardware from China when they could be buying from the countries that INVENTED and MAINTAIN the 5G standard.

    What continues to go on is CHEAP versus SENSIBLE. It's sad that my country, the USA, has an idiot for a President. But that has nothing-at-all to do with the state of China: Criminal Nation and their continuing abusive behavior toward the rest of the world. May sanity prevail.

    1. gyaku_zuki
      Thumb Down

      Re: China: Criminal Nation already spies on and rips off the world.

      "INVENTED and MAINTAIN" the 5G standard how? Citation needed.

      How is it more 'sensible' to go with a country like the USA who has also been noted to have been "spying on and stealing from the rest of the world" - thinking of the diplomatic cables showing the US was spying on allies for many years, PRISM etc.

      I don't expect China to be any better, but let's not pretend that the USA is! And so, if you're going to be spied on either way, you may as well pay less...!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America embraced CDMA?

    FTA: "It wasn't that long ago that America decided not to embrace the global GSM standard and opted to go for CDMA instead"

    That's not entirely true. Prior to 4G, American carriers never embraced a single wireless standard. In the 2G days, some adopted Qualcomm's CDMA standard, NexTel adopted Motorola's iDEN, and the rest eventually adopted GSM.

    AT&T Mobility was actually a huge driver of GSM because of its partnership with BT and founding membership in what eventually became the 3GPP. After they dumped their D-AMPS kit for GSM, most other North American carriers using D-AMPS did the same.

    Sprint briefly flirted with WiMAX, but eventually every American carrier adopted LTE for 4G.

  14. M.V. Lipvig

    Regardless of how you feel about the US, China is already a proven rogue nation who thinks nothing of spying and stealing. Even if no spyware has been discovered in the gear they want you to install going forward, it's not going to be hard for them to install it once the gear is up and running your networks. The equipment already has the innate capability of spying on any data passed through, it merely needs a software patch to allow it to do so. You'd be better off making the gear in your own backyard than to buy it from a nation known to be willing to build backdoor spy flaps. That includes US built gear. So far as a single 5G standard goes, the only ones who would be against this is those who will lose money on it. The rest of us are fine with a single standard allowing full compatibility on all gear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OHMYGOD! You have just made an amazing discovery! Patches could contain malware! Quick, call the CIA/GQHQ/BND/DGSI to share your incredible insights!

      /sarcasm, because it's not obvious you might get it

      "China is already a proven rogue nation who thinks nothing of spying and stealing"

      Just like, err, the US? UK? Any world power, really? How come some Anglo-Saxons can become so enraged when a nation they used to literally invade, occupy and pillage dare to follow in their steps, albeit in a much more reserved way?

  15. Neoc

    "It's not entirely clear why the US feels that these sort of bully-boy tactics are going to work in its favor".

    Oh, I don't know, but it might have to do with seeing their President act that way and thinking that they can, too. Never mind the fact the rest of the world regards the current PotUS as a badly-written SitCom.

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