Nokia: China Doesn't Have Corner on 5G Tech

5G tech supplier Nokia told Congress Wednesday (March 4) that the suggestion that non-Chinese vendors can't match the breadth and quality of 5G tech simply isn't true.

That was according to testimony from Michael Murphy, CTO, Americas, for Nokia at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on supply chain security.

He said that thanks to Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung collectively, the U.S. can claim a bunch of firsts, including "the first country in the world to launch 5G in the fourth quarter of 2018, followed by more significant launches in April of 2019; the first country in the world to launch 5G based on mmWave; the first to launch 5G on low band frequencies nationwide; the first to deploy a virtualized solution; and [it will be] the U.S. will also be the first globally to launch what is called a Standalone 5G core network, and the first to launch a technology called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing or DSS."

Given that, it told the Hill, "it is factually incorrect to say non-Chinese vendors are incapable of leading in 5G." Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Committee, said he thought that point was an important takeaway from the hearing. 

But what Chinese vendors do have, Murphy said, was aggressive financial policies to help "support its indigenous suppliers."

(One argument smaller carriers being asked by the U.S. government to replace existing Chinese tech in their networks is that the tech is there because it was lower cost (subsidized by the Chinese government) and they were bidding on government subsidy money that went to the carrier who could build out at the lowest price.)

Nokia encouraged the U.S. Export Import Bank to focus more on telecommunications so that Nokia's customers could get the same kind of lengthy, low-interest payment terms.

It said the bank, along with the International Development Finance Corporation, could provide billions of dollars in "grants, direct loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to exporters of 5G technology with its origins in the U.S, including to Nokia."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.