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A memo produced by a senior member of the US National Security Council shows officials are thinking about taking over part of the country’s mobile network as a way of guarding it against China, Axios reported, according Telecompaper. The documents say America needs a centralized nationwide 5G network within three years and puts out two options on how to pay for it. In the first option, the US government would pay for and build a single network, which in fact would mean the nationalisation of a historically private infrastructure. The second option would have mobile providers building their own 5G networks and competing with each other. The memo notes that this option would take longer and cost more but that it would cause less commercial disruption to the industry.
 
A source familiar with the matter said the second option was not really a good one as only a single centralized network could protect the US from China and other bad actors. The source said the internal White House debate will be over whether the US government owns and builds the network or whether the carriers bind together in a consortium to build the network, an idea that would require them to put aside their business models to serve the country's greater good. 
 
 
The memo noted that the proposal to nationalize a 5G network only covers one part of the airwaves; there’d be other spaces where private companies could build. The presentation around the memo highlighted the fact that the US has to build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.” The best way to do this, the memo argues, would be for the government to build a network itself. It would then rent access to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Another source said that a new draft was in the works for the memo and that the newer version is more neutral about whether the US government should build and own this 5G network. 
 
The federal government would also, according to the memo, be able to use the banner of national security to create a federal process for installing the wireless equipment, preventing states and cities from having their own rules for where the equipment could go. The documents also consider China's dominance of Artificial Intelligence, and use that as part of the rationale for “nationalising” 5G networks. The memo suggests US work on a secure 5G network could be exported to emerging markets to protect democratic allies against China. 
 
 
The US mobile has been working on deploying 5G networks for years, with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US investing heavily. The process for setting 5G standards is also well underway, all around the world.
 
Responding to the report about the memo AT&T said that private sector work was well under way and testing has gone to field trials. “We can’t comment on something we haven’t seen. But, thanks to multi-billion dollar investments made by American companies, the work to launch 5G service in the United States is already well down the road. Industry standards have been set, trials have been underway since 2016, and later this year AT&T is set to be the first to launch mobile 5G service in 12 US locations. We have no doubt that America will lead the 5G revolution.”