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The Top 10 News Stories Of 2020 (So Far)

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a steep economic downturn, the IT industry’s response to the social justice movement, an abandoned corporate takeover attempt, a possible spin-off, new technologies and old technology rivalries. It has been a very tumultuous 2020 – so far.

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10. The IT Industry Accelerates The Rollout Of 5G Wireless Networks And Products

Since the 5G wireless standard won final approval in 2018, the industry’s largest communications carriers have been racing to build out their nationwide 5G networks. 5G promises dramatically faster speeds, instantaneous communication and the ability to connect everything from autonomous vehicles to Internet of Things devices to the network.

AT&T is counting heavily on 5G as a way to step up its competitive game and in 2020 the carrier has been rolling out its low-band 5G network across more than 35 cities. The company also joined forces with Google Cloud to enable 5G networking and edge computing services via Google’s Global Mobile Edge Cloud.

Following its April merger with Sprint, T-Mobile has brought together low-band, mid-band and high-band millimeter wave technology to complete its three-layer vision for 5G. T-Mobile also shut down Sprint’s 5G network and began moving customers to the T-Mobile 5G network in July. The company has even brought its 5G network to Alaska.

Verizon, meanwhile, has pursued a strategy to use only millimeter wave or high-band spectrum technology, which it developed before the 5G standard was set, and that has reportedly slowed download speeds on its 5G network in Manhattan.

The Federal Communications Commission, meanwhile, has sought to accelerate wireless infrastructure upgrades to 5G by speeding up state and local government reviews of proposed upgrades for wireless transmission equipment.

The action goes far beyond the telecommunications giants. Intel, for example, is developing processors the company says will provide the foundation for 5G system infrastructure. In February, for example, the company debuted the Intel Atom P5900 processor designed for 5G’s high-bandwidth and low-latency requirements. In June chipmaker Qualcomm unveiled its Robotics RB5 platform that the company said will help pave the way for the proliferation of 5G in robotics and intelligent systems. And Apple is developing 5G iPhones – but they aren’t likely to hit the market until 2021.

5G hasn’t been without controversy, however. The U.S. government has been fighting to keep network equipment manufactured by the Chinese communications giant Huawei out of nascent 5G networks in the U.S. Those efforts reportedly included a plan for the government to work with companies like Microsoft, Dell Technologies and AT&T to develop 5G software that would provide an alternative to Huawei.

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