Trump campaign chief: U.S. needs a single, private 5G network

Brad Parscale, President Trump's 2020 campaign manager, thinks that a single, private, nationwide 5G network is the best way to boost mobile speeds and eliminate spotty service.

Why it matters: Parscale tweeted that "It is time for America to have a single 5G network for all carriers." This raised questions of whether an early White House proposal to nationalize a U.S. 5G network, which was largely panned by the industry and telecom regulators, was again getting traction inside the administration. Parscale clarified that it was his personal opinion.

The big picture: The U.S. is racing against countries like China and South Korea to be first to the 5G market, for both economic and national security reasons. The administration had floated an idea of a government-operated 5G network — rather than networks owned and operated by the country's wireless carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Yes, but: As Axios reported in January, this would be logistically difficult and would be very disruptive to the wireless industry, which is already rolling out 5G trials around the country. Parscale's latest iteration of that idea indicates that he thinks a company that is not a wireless carrier should run the network.

  • He also said: "Government doesn't own or operate it but it does provide the spectrum. An open bidding process for bandwidth!"
  • Be smart: This is how the system works today: Congress authorizes the Federal Communication Commission to license spectrum to private companies through an open auction, where the highest bidders win.

Voice from Capitol Hill: When asked about the idea at an Axios 5G event Wednesday morning, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who's been active on 5G issues, said he thinks competition from multiple carriers — rather than a single 5G provider — will yield the best outcome.

We have great industries that are competing for this. I think we should keep it open, we should keep it competitive and we should make sure that we don’t fall in line to one single system. I worry about that.
— Sen. Cory Gardner

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