According to recent reports, AT&T will launch a nationwide 5G mobile network in the first half of next year. In fact, not only AT&T, operators across the US have invested in 5G networks. However, the lack of infrastructure investment over the years has made the US 5G construction face serious practical problems. Some of the problems arising from poor prior 5G infrastructure investment include
- Policy regulations cannot catch up with actual needs
- Coordination between industry and government
- Coordination within the industry
- Long basis facilities construction period
- Unbearable urban facilities and roads with pits and holes
The key to this is the serious lack of fiber infrastructure. For 5G to achieve ultra-high-speed data transmission, it needs the strong support of fiber optic cable. AT&T estimates that it takes ten years to complete a 5G network deployment. However, some analysts and industry insiders believe that the decade is far from enough. Lack of funds and poor cooperation with local governments will seriously slow down the progress of its construction. Especially when we consider that the cost of fiber optic pipeline is more expensive and requires the approval of the municipal government, land owner’s consent, and needs to install antennas and other supporting facilities.
Looking at China, it has a strong deployment of fiber optic infrastructure over the past 10 years. It has more than 50% of the global fiber optic cable used in the world. In addition, it has an existing nationwide fiber-optic network. Although 5G network in China still needs more fiber, it has more than enough to pull through relative to the US.