The race is on for dominance in the coming world of 5G smartphones and telecommunications.
5G is an abbreviation of “fifth generation” in upload/download speeds and is the successor to the well-established 4G standard we use today. These much-higher speeds will allow more video and music streaming and downloads and enable more multitasking.
The profits from 5G will be enormous because every smartphone user in the world will have to buy a new phone to take advantage of the new technology. It’s a windfall for manufacturers of handsets, screens, chips and other components and a gold mine for content providers.
The winners will include a handful of companies such as Huawei and ZTE of China, Samsung in South Korea, Apple in the U.S. and Nokia from Europe. But don’t expect a level playing field in the competition. Already the world is dividing into a “China camp” consisting of Huawei and ZTE and a “Western camp” led by U.S. champions.
As this article shows, the competition has gone far beyond quality and price. The CIA has developed evidence that Huawei is funded by China’s intelligence community and the People’s Liberation Army. It is suspected that users of Huawei 5G equipment will be targeted with “back doors” that relay sensitive information straight to Beijing and allow for other dysfunctions in the event of an all-out cyberwar.
The U.S. is trying to rally European and other users to ban Huawei. Europe and Japan are caught in the middle between a suspicious U.S. and the jobs and generous terms offered by Huawei.
A likely outcome will be a world divided into two mutually hostile technology platforms. For those too young to remember the Cold War (1947–1991), you may get a chance to re-live it.
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