A group of US politicians urged President Donald Trump to appoint a leader to coordinate the country’s 5G strategy, arguing a unified approach is needed to maintain technology leadership over China.

In a letter, the politicians noted a number of different government agencies are working to push the technology forward, but said their efforts “are not informed by a coherent national strategy”. They pressed Trump to designate a senior official solely focused on the 5G issue, adding a “fractured approach will not be sufficient to rise to the challenge the country faces.”

“A challenge of this magnitude requires a more ambitious response than traditional agency processes can support.”

The letter was signed by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence, Homeland Security, Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees.

Trump flagged 5G as a national priority in 2017, and the following year pressed federal agencies to develop a national spectrum strategy to free up more airwaves for mobile deployments.

But disputes over spectrum allocation and strategy have raged behind the scenes.

Michael O’Rielly, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in June noted spats with other agencies were hampering its efforts to open new spectrum bands for 5G and in September warned a move by the Department of Defence to develop its own spectrum strategy could “jeopardise all commercial wireless allocations”.

The internal disagreements appeared to contribute to the sudden resignation in May of a key official responsible for advising the Trump administration on telecommunications issues. His departure came days after he spoke out against “inefficient” spectrum policy process which he said “too often devolves into a zero-sum game”.