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China aims to dominate 5G mobile technology—and it’s off to a strong start

The country has spent tens of billions more dollars than the US on infrastructure that will support next-generation cellular networks, according to a new Deloitte study.

What it’s for: 5G is the successor to today’s 4G networks and will be deployed in limited areas in some countries later this year. Because 5G will use different frequency bands than 4G, it is expected to bring greater capacity, higher speeds, and more rapid reaction times to everything from autonomous vehicles to VR headsets and smartphones.

The upshot: Countries that roll out 5G early will have a head start creating and selling a wide range of technology products and services. That’s one major reason the Trump Administration considers the development of 5G a national priority. Currently, China is in the lead, with 350,000 5G cell sites compared to fewer than 30,000 in the US.

But: No country has deployed 5G broadly for public use yet. Deloitte says the US could catch up by simplifying requirements for 5G equipment and encouraging mobile carriers to work together.

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