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A comprehensive study released by CTIA, a US-based industry association of wireless carriers - has claimed that China remains ahead of South Korea in the race to develop and subsequently deploy 5G networks.

However, representatives from CTIA have conceded that South Korea has closed the gap on China. The United States is worryingly lagging behind in its efforts to deploy the fifth-generation technology that is a necessity in order to accelerate the development of self-driving cars, telemedicine, AI and other emerging technologies which will be facilitated by 5G.

The report released by CTIA was compiled by research firm Analysys Mason and they unearthed that all China’s major providers have pledged their commitment to specific launch dates, whilst the government has also committed to allocate spectrum for the respective carriers.

The study focused on 10 nations and placed the US in the ‘first tier’ of countries that are leading the way in relation to the deployment of 5G along with China, South Korea and Japan. Countries placed in the second tier of the study include European countries such as France, Germany and the UK. Russia and Canada have been placed in the third tier.

Industry experts are predicting that the deployment of 5G technology will have seismic economic benefits for the countries that lead the way towards its introduction, but warned that those lagging behind will suffer negative consequences.

CTIA president and chief executive, Meredith Attwell Baker said, “The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race. I'm confident that America can win and reap the significant economic benefits of 5G wireless due to our world-leading commercial investments."

Baker insisted that the US still needs to implement measures in order to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to spectrum as part of a broader plan for 5G.

She added, “I'm optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) are focused on the reforms needed to win the race."

Other interesting statistics that emerged from the study include the fact that Europe led the way in 2G, the second generation, while Japan was ahead in 3G and the United States in 4G.

The first commercial 5G roll-outs begin this year and next in the United States, Korea and Japan, and the wireless industry is counting on the new technology to trigger a wave of growth in equipment sales and mobile services.