Military Warns China’s 5G Interferes with U.S. Weapons

The U.S. military’s Defense Innovation Board warned Congress that China’s fifth generation telecommunications rollout is designed to interfere with U.S. weapons systems.

The Congressional Research Service issued a report titled ‘National Security Implications of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technologies’ that highlights China’s incorporating “Low to Mid-Band” electromagnetic spectrum into its 5G wireless networks and technology will directly interfere with the U.S. military systems and secure government communications.

Mobile data upgrades are implemented about every 10 years. AT&T and Verizon began rapid deployment of fourth generation long-term evolution (4G LTE) mobile data technology in 2010 that was about 10 times faster than 3G consumer network speeds.

That bandwidth expansion set off a financial boom for Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and countless others commercial companies. But U.S. military capability was virtually unaffected by the 4G LTE commercial upgrade, because its systems operated on the U.S. government-owned “Sub 6” gigahertz (GHz), especially to 3-4 GHz bandwidth.

With 100 times faster speeds than 4G, telecommunications suppliers from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan were preparing to roll out a 5G upgrade beginning in 2022 by focusing on internationally available radio “High Band” spectrum between ~24 and 300 GHz, commonly referred to as “mmWave.”  

But the Chinese government with $180 billion in state-sponsored investments has taken the lead in the development of low-cost 5G equipment. Claiming that Sub-6 will provide broad area network coverage with lower interruption risk due to mmWave’s longer wavelength, China’s Huawei and ZTE have installed 350,000 domestic and 10,000 foreign 5G operable base stations that combine “Sub-6” and High Band spectrum. Small-scale deployment has begun, with Huawei is promising global 5G networks in 2020. 

Technical experts agree that mmWave would achieve the highest functioning speeds, but the companies that attain first mover upgrades in the telecommunications tend to set global technology standards that force competitors to license their intellectual property.

The America can stop Huawei’s 5G deployment in the U.S. by refusing to share its Sub-6 government-owned bandwidths. But Huawei seemed poised to set the global 5G standard due to 30 percent lower pricing, high reliability products, and Chinese bank financing.

The U.S. could “clear” another international spectrum for its secure military and intelligence needs, but the U.S. Defense Innovation Board is warning that such an effort takes “typically upwards of ~10 years.” Even if the US chose to share its Sub-6 spectrum, it would “require a complete upheaval of existing federal users” and take upwards of five years.

With China’s cybersecurity agency officially warned that all domestic companies must comply a 2017 National Intelligence Law requiring active cooperation, President Trump banned Huawei products and directed U.S. companies to end licensing deals in May.

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei stated on June 17 that the American ban could wipe out about $30 billion in annual revenue over the next two years. Ren admitted that Huawei had underestimated the Trump administration’s ability to negatively impact the company’s participation in international organization and force interruptions with its supply chain

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