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This report is divided into three sections, which are published separately. The first, presented here, looks at the environment for competition by exploring how 5G creates wealth, the standards contest, and the effect of technological change in telecommunications as we move to an 'open' environment. The second will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of two key national competitors in Europe and China. A final section to be published later concludes by assessing U.S. strength and recommending elements of a comprehensive national approach to 5G strategy.
The growing recognition that technology builds national power has led to a narrative of a “race” between the United States and China. China is now what the European Union calls a “systemic rival” and technology is a central part of this rivalry. China has recognised the advantages of being a leader in technology and uses statist economic policies and espionage to obtain an advantage. Fifth-generation mobile technologies (5G) have become one of the most high-profile domains where this competition is playing out.