US president Donald Trump (pictured) insisted the country must win the race to 5G, as regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to hold a third mmWave auction and pledged to invest $20 billion for rural deployments of the technology.

In a press conference held at the White House alongside FCC chairman Ajit Pai, Trump underlined the importance of 5G to the US, stating his administration was freeing up spectrum to encourage investment in the technology.

“5G networks must be secured, they must be strong…they must also cover every community and they must be deployed as soon as possible,” he said.

Trump’s comments were made in tandem with announcements made by the FCC and Pai designed to address the country’s 5G ambitions.

Rural drive
Pai unveiled plans to launch a new $20.4 billion subsidy programme to support broadband deployments in rural regions.

Over the next decade, he said the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will distribute monies to help companies finance construction of new fibre infrastructure with the aim of connecting up to 4 million rural homes and laying a foundation for future 5G sites.

Pai also announced a third mmWave auction, covering licences in the 37GHz; 39GHz; and 47GHz bands, will commence on 10 December. The proceeding will offer largest amount of spectrum (3,400MHz) ever auctioned at one time in the nation’s history, following sales in the 24GHz and 28GHz bands held earlier in the year.

He explained the moves form part of the FCC’s so-called 5G Fast plan, to help the US beat China and other markets to the punch on the technology.

But Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel blasted the FCC’s focus on mmWave spectrum as impractical for widespread deployments and isolating on the world stage.

In an FCC meeting, she said the US is “increasingly alone in our mission to make mmWave the core of our domestic 5G approach”.

Without a “pivot to mid-band” frequencies favoured elsewhere, she warned the US could lose its influence over the global supply chain: “This means less scale, higher cost, interoperability challenges and less security as other nations’ technologies proliferate”.

Rosenworcel also sharply criticised the Trump adminsitration’s 5G policies, stating in a Twitter post its interventions have “done more harm than good”.

“From imposing tariffs on 5G equipment, to alienating allies on 5G security, to falling behind the rest of the world on critical mid-band spectrum, it has yet to offer a workable plan for US leadership.”