Briefing

Microsoft, Dell and AT&T part of White House-backed 5G development plan

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The companies are working on software for upcoming wireless networks. U.S. telecom and tech firms are also negotiating shared engineering standards to allow such programs to run on hardware from different providers. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: This move targets Huawei, which leads the world in 5G tech. Different departments within the Trump administration have tried to create a national champion to take on the Chinese firm, which has grown its market share by selling equipment for cheaper than competitors. The White House wants “all of the U.S. 5G architecture and infrastructure done by American firms,” economic adviser Larry Kudlow said of the new plan. Neither Microsoft nor Dell has a long track record in networking technology, but Kudlow said both are working on software and cloud products that could substitute for hardware. Widespread use of the technology now under development could assuage U.S. security concerns as other governments ignore its threats and allow Huawei equipment into parts of their own 5G networks. The U.K.’s decision last week “provides Canada with cover” to similarly skip an outright ban, Scotiabank telecom analyst Jeff Fan wrote in a recent report.