- - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

As we begin this new decade, America stands at the gateway of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be powered by fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology. Bringing with it lightning fast speeds, low latency and vastly expanded network capacity, the use cases for 5G seem near endless. 

For American consumers, this means access to a new level of innovative, quality products and services at affordable prices. It also means closing the digital divide that affects the 46 million Americans living in rural communities.

To realize the many benefits that 5G promises, American consumers need access to a nationwide 5G network as quickly as possible; that is why I applaud U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s opinion last week approving the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile and urge that there be no further delay in closing the deal and getting to work on building our nation’s 5G network.

I had early reservations about this merger. While I had zero doubt about the potential for 5G to change American life for the better, I was deeply concerned that working Texans, especially in rural communities, would be left behind as Americans in urban centers took part in the vast benefits promised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

5G represents America’s best shot at addressing many of our nation’s unmet needs — especially in the health care, education and agriculture sectors. That is why I engaged with T-Mobile and those constructive interactions ultimately satisfied my concerns with the merger.



American consumers are excited, ready and waiting. In fact, a recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies found that nearly 80 percent of those surveyed are excited about what 5G can do for their lives and the American economy overall. 

Nine out of 10 Americans say that wireless technology has changed their lives in a positive way, and more than three-fourths say they expect to depend on it even more in the future. When it comes to 5G specifically, two-thirds of Americans say it will have a significant impact on their lives, and nearly nine out of 10 say it will have a positive impact on the country’s economy. 

With nationwide 5G, no American will be left behind in this fast-approaching industrial revolution. 5G will allow all hardworking Americans to reach a new level of connectivity and efficiency, no matter where they live and work. The Sprint and T-Mobile merger will enable American consumers to grow their businesses and the American economy to boom.

The urgency of successfully rolling out 5G across the country simply cannot be overstated.

Ensuring American leadership in 5G, however, is not just about securing and strengthening our economic future. Today, China’s “Belt and Road” initiative now extends to the Western Hemisphere just beyond our southern border in Latin America. China is urgently working to set the global standard for 5G infrastructure and development and is doing it right in our own backyard. Just last year, Huawei announced plans to build its second facility in Brazil, an $800 million facility to respond to expected demand following the country’s first 5G spectrum auction, which is scheduled for next month. 

The American people know establishing American dominance in the 5G race is critical. Eight-four percent of Americans say it is important for the United States to win the 5G race against China.

The court has taken a critical step forward by removing the obstacles currently in place, allowing the parties to begin establishing a nationwide 5G network and smartly deploying 5G technology across the country. This will jumpstart economic growth in rural communities across America, create an environment for rapid economic and technological expansion that benefits consumers and establish the United States as the worldwide leader in 5G.

• Ken Paxton is attorney general of Texas.

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