Attorney General suggests US should take stake in Ericsson, Nokia to compete with Huawei


Attorney General

US Attorney General William Barr suggests a way for the US to compete with Huawei. 

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The race for 5G goes beyond just faster download speeds for the average phone user. Concerned with Chinese tech companies such as Huawei taking the lead on the faster spectrum, the US Attorney General says the US should take a stake in foreign tech companies to compete. 

US Attorney General William Barr said the US should take a “controlling stake” in Nokia or Ericsson to counter Huawei’s 5G dominance according to a report from Reuters Thursday. He suggests this could be done directly by the US or done via a consortium with allies. 

“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,” Attorney General Barr said at the China Initiative Conference held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday.

One of the reasons for this push for ownership in the companies is over the development of better AI with the 5G spectrum.

“As China captures more and more of the data generated by its 5G infrastructure, it can produce better artificial intelligence because that is what artificial intelligence learns from,” he said. “The more data, the better the AI. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

Huawei had a commanding 37% of the 5G market share in 2019 with China and South Korea being the countries with the most demand for the faster network phones while the US and Europe lag behind. In January, senators proposed a bill for more than $1 billion in subsidies to enhance and research the development of 5G. 

In a statement, Finland-based Nokia said it always welcomes investor interest, but cannot comment on Attorney General Barr’s statement. 

Sweden-based Ericsson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Originally published on Feb. 7, 6:52 a.m. PT. 
Update, 7:19 a.m. PT : Adds Nokia comment and background details. 


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