Wireless networks

The "national 5G" plan that won't die

A radio tower emanating radio waves in the shape of Donald Trump's profile
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The idea for a government-mandated nationwide 5G network has reared its head again, and it may not be the last time.

Why it matters: 5G is the focal point for a global rush to dominate the next wave of technology development — a race many policymakers worry the U.S. is already losing. National security fears about Chinese firms like Huawei are also motivating efforts to build home-grown 5G infrastructure.

Behind the scenes of the Trump campaign's 5G network plan

Trump 5G illustration
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

People close to Trump and a politically connected private company have, for months, been laying out the broad outlines of the plan to create a national wholesale 5G network in op-eds and tweets — which the Trump campaign was then forced to walk back, following widespread confusion within the administration.

The big picture: Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale said last June that it would be an "open wholesale market with a privatized company that isn't a carrier," in his "personal opinion." Last month, he tweeted again about the need for a "wholesale" network.

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