“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible,” the presidential tweet read last February 21. “American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”
The race to 5G, as it is often called, has been characterized as a rush to be the earliest adopter, the first over the line, the leader in the establishment of the infrastructure for a modern, global, digital economy. It starts out innocuously enough, sounding like dozens of neighborhood kids racing to be the first to jump into the pool on a hot summer day — the last one in is a rotten egg. Then some of us admittedly get a little zealous, elevating it to “the race to replace the future” and “the battle over 5G,” as though the global stage were a board game, and the objective were world domination.