Forget 5G. President Donald Trump wants the U.S. to be a leader in 6G – a technology that is nowhere near ready for prime time.
Trump took to Twitter on Thursday morning to say that he would like 5G, a technology that allows for faster data speed transfers over telecom networks from companies like AT&T and Verizon, to be in the U.S. "as soon as possible."
"I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible," Trump tweeted. "It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind. There is no reason that we should be lagging behind on........."
He followed that up saying the U.S. should "win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies." "We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!"
It's unclear what brought the mention of 5G to Trump's attention Thursday morning. The U.S. has repeatedly refused to allow Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei to provide networking equipment over concerns of national security.
CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, told Fox News that it shares the President’s commitment to 5G.
“Thanks to the innovation, hard work and investment of America’s wireless industry, the first commercial 5G deployments are happening now, in communities across the country,” explained a spokeswoman, via email. “With the Administration's continued backing, the U.S. wireless industry can bring more robust 5G networks to more communities faster.”
Trump is no stranger to bold statements on technology. In 2015, the then-presidential candidate surprised his rivals during a debate when he suggested clamping down on internet connectivity as a way to limit ISIS’ ability to recruit and raise funds online.
The following year, he called for a boycott of Apple products when the tech giant was embroiled in a high-profile security row with the FBI. At the time, Apple was fighting a judge’s order to help hack the phone of a shooter in the deadly San Bernardino terror attack.
5G isn't fully ready yet and security implications
Building out a fifth-generation network is an expensive and timely process. In December, AT&T said it started the initial roll-out of its 5G network to 12 cities across the U.S., but they would not be available for consumer use as 5G devices are not currently available, tech website The Verge reported.
Verizon is the only network that currently offers 5G use for consumers (through home internet access), but its coverage is presently limited to just 4 U.S. cities: Sacramento, Houston, Indianapolis and Los Angeles, according to Lifewire. On Wednesday, Samsung introduced its Galaxy S10 smartphone, which will be the first 5G smartphone available in the U.S.
AT&T has come under scrutiny for putting its "5GE" (short for 5G Evolution) logo on smartphones, including iPhones, a move critics have cried is deceptive.
The advancement of a fifth-generation network is considered to be instrumental for newer applications, such as autonomous driving, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and a host of others.
Earlier this week, the Chinese government accused the U.S. of trying to block its industrial development after Vice President Mike Pence said Chinese equipment poses a threat to countries that are rolling out next-generation mobile communications.
And in a potential blow to U.S. efforts to rally its allies on the issue, British media reported U.K. intelligence agencies found it is possible to limit potential security risks of Chinese equipment in fifth-generation networks.
The U.S. argues Beijing might use Chinese tech companies to gather intelligence about foreign countries. The Trump administration has pressured allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei Technologies Ltd., threatening the company's access to 5G markets.
Huawei, the biggest global maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies, denies accusations it facilitates Chinese spying. Its founder said last month it would reject government demands to disclose confidential information about foreign customers.
The U.S. government is trying to "fabricate an excuse for suppressing the legitimate development" of Chinese enterprises, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.
He accused the United States of using "political means" to interfere in economic activity, "which is hypocritical, immoral and unfair bullying."
Following the accusation from China, German's interior ministry told CNBC that it was not ready to exclude the company from its own 5G network.
Fox News has reached out to the White House with a request for comment on this story.
The Associated Press and Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this report.