According to Reuters, Barr, a former general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc, made remarks about countering Huawei’s dominance in 5G technology in his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Thursday. According to him, there were proposals of “the United States aligning itself with Nokia and/or Ericsson”, and the alignment could take place “through American ownership of a controlling stake, either directly or through a consortium of private American and allied companies”. He further explained that “putting our large market and financial muscle behind one or both of these firms would make it a far more formidable competitor and eliminate concerns over its staying power, or their staying power.” This idea, however, was dismissed by both U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday.
Reuters reported that when asked for his response in an interview on Friday, Pence said bluntly that with great respect to Attorney General Barr, he believed the best way forward was what Federal Communications Commission’s chairman Ajit Pai announced, referring to his efforts to free up more spectrum for 5G wireless use. He added that the United States can expand 5G “by using the power of the free market and American companies.”
Kudlow gave his response as well later on Friday. According to Reuters, Kudlow first mentioned that the U.S. was working closely with Nokia and Ericsson, but he immediately added that “U.S. government is not in the business of buying companies, whether they’re domestic or foreign.”
According to U.S. government’s approach, if they are to win this battle on their own, the U.S. will pay nearly 10 billion dollars to some satellite broadcasters for freeing up certain C-band spectrum, so that U.S. telecom companies can build their 5G telecom networks. If the U.S. government’s plan goes well, the recovered frequency bands will go up for auction by the end of this year to help operators with their programs of expanding 5G networks.