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White House reportedly considering federal intervention in 5G

It's another bid to compete with Huawei on 5G technology, a report says.

The US wants to lead on 5G.
Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

5G networks across the US could get a boost from the federal government, according to a report Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. Trump administration officials are considering the move so they can compete better against Huawei globally, the report says.

The Trump administration has reportedly met with US networking companies including Cisco to discuss the acquisition of Western European networking giants Ericsson and Nokia. It's also looking into giving tax breaks and financing to Ericsson and Nokia, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

It comes after the White House reportedly planned a 5G meeting for early April with Nokia, Ericsson, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Samsung on how best to combat Chinese networking giant Huawei. But the spread of COVID-19 meant the meeting had to be postponed.

Ericsson said it is "frequently invited to different government forums" in the US to discuss technology. "As an industry leader, Ericsson is continuously engaging with governments in all parts of the world that want to roll out 5G rapidly," an Ericsson spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Cisco said nothing new is happening since the meeting slated to take place in April was cancelled due to COVID-19. Intel declined to comment.

The Trump administration, Nokia, Dell, Microsoft and Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Huawei was blacklisted last year by the US when it was added to the United States' "entity list" (PDF). In addition, President Donald Trump at the same time signed an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge.