Image – Geographic distribution of 5G patents – courtesy Godfree Roberts Unz Review
By Charles F. Moreira, Editor
There are plenty of videos on You Tube and articles online by various people and organisations claiming that 5G (fifth-generation) cellular signal frequencies are dangerous to human health, that 5G technology belongs to China-based telecommunications equipment and network systems provider Huawei, which will use 5G networks to spy on countries such as the United States, where several cellular service providers plan deployment of 5G networks in 2019.
Then there was the arrest at Vancouver airport, Canada on 1 December 2018 upon the request of United States authorities, of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, whom the United States wants to extradite to face charges for allegedly evading U.S. sanctions on Iran in 2013, which worsened the already tense relations between China and the United States.
Is there any truth behind this or is it FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) being created by governments, commercial rivals or conspiracy theorists?
Firstly, digital cellular communications standards and specifications including 2G, 3G, 4G, 4G LTE and now 5G are defined by working groups within the 3G Partnership Project (3Gpp), an international organisation currently comprised of seven Organisational Partners – i.e. standards bodies and industry associations in Japan, the United States, China, Europe, India and South Korea.
Each Organisational Partner can invite a Market Representation Partner which can provide market advice to the 3Gpp and which is committed to the 3Gpp scope. There currently are 21 Market Representation Partners, all industry associations and technology organisations from around the world, including the GSM Association, Small Cell Forum, IPv6 Forum, 5G Americas, 4G Americas and others.
The 3Gpp currently has three Observers – i.e. standards development organisations from Australia, Canada and the United States which have the qualifications to become future Organisational Partners.
Its largest body of members are the has 646 Full Members, also called Individual Members from around the world, which must be a member of one of the Organisational Partners to be able to participate in the 3Gpp’s activities.
These individuals members include cellular equipment suppliers, cellular service providers, mobile device manufacturers, silicon chip manufacturers, software suppliers, universities, standards bodies, research bodies and government agencies which collaboratively contribute technologies, expertise, ideas and experiences towards defining 3Gpp standards and specifications.
Several Huawei and ZTE units in China and in other countries are Individual Members of the 3Gpp through Organisational Partner the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), whilst their other units are Individual Members through Organisational Partners in other countries or regions.
Malaysia’s Telekom Research & Development Sdn Bhd is an Individual Member of the 3Gpp through the CCSA.
Huawei’s experts and those of others participate in the 3Gpp’s various Technical Specifications Groups or Working Groups to collaboratively define the various 3Gpp standards, such as those for the radio access network (RAN) and other parts of 5G.
So Huawei participates in the 3Gpp’s 5G development and contributes its knowledge and expertise towards collaboratively defining 5G specifications and standards with many others from around the world but 5G does not belong to Huawei, as is being made out by various parties, either through ignorance or for propaganda purposes.
5G – a game changer
Secondly, in his article, Huawei, 5G and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in the alternative media site The Unz Review of 29 January 2019, Godfree Roberts sees 5G becoming a “national productivity tool whose benefits, like those we derive from our railways, are less noticeable to end users yet critical to industry and commerce”.
5G bring together gigabits per second speeds with massive machine-to-machine communications and ultra-reliable, low latency (delay) communications to enable the realisation of smart homes, buildings, smart cities, delivery of 3D video, ultra-high definition video, augmented reality, access to cloud-based applications, industrial automation, smart factories, mission-critical applications, self-driving cars and so forth.
Potentially 20 times faster than 4G, 5G will serve as the fast backbone for the Internet of Things (IoT) and will be able to support a million connected devices per square kilometre simultaneously with millisecond latency (delay).
This millisecond latency enables millisecond reaction time which is 10 times faster than the human experience, which gives a man-machine interface a ‘living’ feel and a surgeon in China had performed the world’s first remote surgery over a 5G network.
Roberts cited Deloitte as saying, “First-adopter countries embracing 5G could sustain more than a decade of competitive advantage. Countries that adopt 5G first are expected to experience disproportionate gains in macroeconomic impact compared to those that lag. China’s Five-Year Plan calls for investing a further $400 billion in 5G and consequently, China may be creating a 5G tsunami, making it near impossible to catch up.”
IDC predicts that the 5G infrastructure market which was worth US$528 million in 2018, will grow at 118% CAGR to reach US$26 billion in 2022, while direct and indirect outputs will reach $6.3 trillion and $10.6 trillion by 2030.
Largest share of the 5G pie
Roberts presented data from market intelligence firm Netscribes in a pie chart of geographic distribution of 5G patent families, which shows that China owns 32%, the largest share of 5G patents worldwide, followed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (22%), the United States (17%), South Korea (12%), Europe (6%), Japan (3%), India 2% and others combined (6%).
As of the end of 2018, Japan led the pack with 15.2 5G sites per 10 square miles (per 25.9 sg km), followed by China with 5.3 sites per 25.9 sq km, Germany with 5.1 sites per 25.9 sq km and the United States with 0.4 sites per 25.9 sq km.
Based upon data on planned rollouts from the Eurasia Group, the United States, Japan, China, South Korea and Australia had 5G trials in 2018. The European Union and Canada will begin 5G trials in 2019, whilst China, South Korea and Australia would have moved on to commercial non stand-alone deployments this year.
China will deploy commercial, stand-alone 5G sites in 2020, whilst the United States, the European Union, Japan and Canada would have moved on the commercial, non-stand-alone deployments and only in 2025 will the United States, European Union, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Australia have commercial, stand-alone 5G deployments.
“Remarkably, only one company owns significant 5G intellectual property, controls its own silicon from end to end, produces all the elements of 5G networks–including proprietary chips–assembles and installs them affordably on a national scale: Huawei,” wrote Roberts.
“Non-Huawei customers must integrate more costly, less functional, less compatible and less upgradeable elements, pay twice as much, take twice as long to implement 5G and experience inferior service because Huawei produces every element of 5G systems and assembles turnkey networks–from antennas to the power stations needed to operate them to chips, servers and handsets–at scale and cost. It is literally unrivalled in enhanced mobile broadband.
Huawei’s semiconductor division, HiSilicon is expected to face stiff competition to U.S.-based mobile communications chip maker Qualcomm and in some areas is comfortably ahead.
Its 7 nm Ascend 910 chipset for data centers is twice as powerful as Nvidia’s v100 and the first AI IP chip series to natively provide optimal TeraOPS per watt in all scenarios. Its 7nm ARM-based CPU, the Kunpeng 920 boosts the development of computing in big data, distributed storage, and ARM-native application scenarios by 20%. Its Kirin 980 CPU is the world’s first commercial 7nm system-on-chip (SoC) and the first to use Cortex-A76 cores, dual neural processing units, Mali G76 GPU, a 1.4 Gbps LTE modem and supports faster RAM. With 20 percent faster performance and 40 percent less power consumption compared to 10nm systems, it has twice the performance of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 and Apple’s A11 while consuming 40% less power. The Kirin 980 fits 6.9 billion transistors on a chip no larger than a thumbnail. Huawei’s patented modem has the world’s fastest Wifi and its GPS receiver taps L5 frequency to deliver 10cm positioning and supports speeds up to 1.4Gbps and 2,133MHz LPDDR4X RAM.
Also, Roberts expects Huawei to launch its 5G phone in June 2019, whilst Apple is expected to launch its 5G handset in September 2020.
On the ground, four of Beijing’s cellular operators spending 30 billion yuan (US$5.4 billion) on a 5G network in the city by 2022 and applying the technology to infrastructure like the new airport, the new satellite city and the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“The US labels Huawei a ‘security risk’ because Huawei gear protects the confidentiality of users’ communications.
“In addition, you will be clearly notified of any personal information being collected, and have complete control over the collection, processing, and sharing of your personal data”, wrote Roberts.
China’s plan to aggressively deploy 5G is in line with the Made In China2025 road map.
“Initially, this focused on the domestic telecoms sector’s ability to increase broadband penetration nationwide to 82 per cent by 2025 as part of a push for industrial modernisation. Another objective was to see local suppliers making 40 percent of all mobile phone chips used in the domestic market. Under an updated version published in January, Beijing now wants China to become the world’s leading maker of telecoms equipment”, wrote Roberts.
“Smart factories will integrate the entire factory production process, arranging the smooth transfer from minimal energy, raw materials and water inputs and the just-in-time delivery of subcomponents to the optimised assembly line production of custom-designed-and-ordered by customers to the effective delivery of these products to the user and the continual (and maybe continuous) product reporting of its use, effectiveness and location. Smart cities will have driverless cars, buses and delivery trucks and ports and airports. The smart economy will have very fast HST intercity services, along with transparent data on the operation of mines, energy generation, transport, communications and government. Medical monitoring and the rise of the extended healthspan technology will free China from the dependency trap because people are likely to remain healthy all their lives using continuous medical assessment through an internet bangle.
“President Trump has attacked the Made In China 2025 policy because the US, stuck in neoclassical macroeconomics, is committed to a system which not only does not produce the goods but also can’t afford the essential infrastructure required for the next major advance in the ongoing industrial revolution.
“The decision will put the Five Eyes countries ten years behind China in 5G and its associated technologies. The Germans correctly describe their version of China2025, Industrie04 as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’. The 5G stakes are so big that, if Germany rejects Huawei it risks committing economic suicide”, Roberts concluded.
Politically motivated arrest
On the the U.S. trade war with China and the arrest of Meng Wanzhou towards the end of the article, Trump is God’s gift that keeps on giving – but to whom? of 2 February 2019, Proletarian News, publications of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) wrote:-
“It is clear, however, that what motivated this arrest was the fact that Huawei is well ahead of its US rivals in development of 5G mobile phone technology and infrastructure, which is causing the US government, on behalf of US telecoms multinationals, to work to destroy the Chinese business.”
“It seems that 5G is not just an upgrade on 4G: ‘A leaked memo, apparently written by a senior national security council official, revealed as far back as the start of this year exactly how worried the US is about Huawei.’
“Huawei has gone all out to be the first and the best in the field. The superiority of the system that Huawei are poised to be able to implement before anybody else obviously threatens to steal a considerable competitive march on its rivals, which US imperialism is determined to prevent by means mostly foul. It is spreading panic about Huawei equipment being compromised by programs that will enable the Chinese government to control Huawei-based networks both for the purpose of espionage and of sabotage”, Proletarian News concluded.
In Part 2 we will deal with the fears over the supposed dangers of 5G signals to human health.