FCC declares 5G safe, 5G devices hit 100, Beijing wants 10,000 base stations

The speed of 5G news is impossible to track, so we get you up to date on the latest highlights.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge
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PK at the Hanover Fair
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When the Pentagon pours money into its own 5G shop and the Moscow mobile industry shakes hands with Qualcomm for a network roll-out deal, it's time to sit up and take note of the role 5G is already playing among geopolitical movers and shakers. This past week also saw more US local government issues piling up as municipalities continue their uphill battle to collect utility fees from leading service providers. But none of that stopped three countries from kicking the tires on new 5G networks, including Ireland, which switched on its first one.

So kick back and catch up. We're keeping tabs on tech's hottest topic with a quick run-down on the most important developments this week in 5G. 

  • After the FCC ruled 5G technology safe last week, it moved this week to greenlight the $26.5 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile with a supportive draft order. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said it "will bring fast 5G wireless service to many more Americans and help close the digital divide in rural areas." All the same, the FCC got slapped back when a federal court ruled that the agency couldn't bypass environmental regulations on 5G small cell sites. It's a win for residents like those in Costa Mesa, California, this week who are still concerned over health risks. Where's the concern coming from? The debate over 5G radiation.
  • The 5G buzzwords of the week are "network slicing." What is it? Something that could ultimately determine the success of failure of 5G wireless.
Watch this: 5G means more than just fast downloads to your phone

5G around the world

  • Who's on deck? For one, Vodaphone (a.k.a. Vodacom Group) is pushing South Africa to start allocating 5G spectrum, but India's a bit further ahead. It's on the verge of inviting telecom majors to conduct trials for the upcoming network, but is flirting with not inviting Huawei to the party. Ouch. And it looks like 5G retrofitting could kick Aussies in the wallet, as consumers face higher public costs. We wouldn't expect a 5G commercial spending surge either if we're to believe the new Australian research revealing "fewer than half (46.9%) 'would seriously consider buying a 5G phone.'"

What 5G can do for you besides fast phone downloads

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