The American way to beat China at 5G

America is in a high-stakes battle with China over the future of wireless. But sometimes it seems like only Beijing realizes it.

Business as usual has ­allowed our wireless-technology industry to atrophy or move overseas, while China presses ahead with an explicit plan to dominate wireless technology and wireless networks worldwide.

Our big wireless carriers say there’s nothing to worry about. But their dirty secret is that they are marketing and customer-service outfits, not technology leaders.

Asking a carrier to secure the future of wireless technology is like asking a Walgreens employee to invent the next blockbuster drug. Walgreens is a great business, but it isn’t in the business of invention. Fifty years ago, AT&T owned Bell Labs. Today Nokia does. It’s still out there in northern New Jersey, but it’s a shadow of its former self.

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