China Unicom says it is unaware of megamerger plan

Cheng Yiu-tong

Cheng Yiu-tong

Verizon's 5G fixed wireless will launch in four USA cities; AT&T will begin its millimeter wave commercial deployments this year; Sprint will launch in the 2.5 GHz band while T-Mobile's 600 MHz 5G launch will take place in 30 cities.

Bloomberg reported that the government is now only weighing up a proposal for the merger and that it is by no means definite, but noted that if the two state-run operators were combined it could position China to compete more effectively with the USA in terms of 5G development. The current argument for a merger between the two is based on the ability of a combined company to more easily make the huge investments required to build out a 5G network. This would strengthen their position in the mobile market versus market leader China Mobile and support quicker development of 5G in China. China Unicom's listed unit fell 2.4 percent to HKD9.35 (USD1.19) a share, while China Telecom lost 1 percent to HKD3.85. Additionally, neither the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology nor the Assets Supervision and Administration unit - which effectively controls state-owned companies - made any statement.

Huawei has also been effectively frozen out of the USA market on national security grounds, while Australia has banned its telcos from procuring kit from the company. The United States has banned the sale of ZTE and Huawei equipment. China holds a narrow lead over the US and South Korea in 5G readiness, thanks to proactive government policies and industry momentum, according to research firm Analysys Mason.

The United States is pulling out all the stops to ensure it leads the world in deploying 5G. Conversely, leading the world in wireless brings significant economic benefits, as the US has seen with its 4G leadership. These are the serious stakes that face American policymakers in the escalating global race to 5G. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission reveals that U.S. 5G technology will be 100 times faster than 4G service.

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