Documents obtained by Axios outline National Security Council (NSC) plans to guard against Chinese cyberattacks by bringing at least a portion of the 5G network in-house.
The documents suggest two options for how a centralized nationwide 5G network would be built and paid for.
The PowerPoint presentation says that the USA has to build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because "China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure", and "China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain", report said.
Currently, US wireless carriers are planning to launch their own 5G networks in 2019 or 2020, which they would not share.
Accenture, a leading technology outsourcing company, has estimated that wireless operators will invest as much as $275 billion in the United States over seven years as they build out 5G networks.
A source familiar with the matter said the second option was not really a good one as only a single centralized network could protect the United States from China and other bad actors.
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Wireless carriers AT&T Inc.
Pai's Democratic colleague on the FCC, Mignon Clyburn, agreed, saying a network built by the federal government "does not leverage the best approach needed for our nation to win the 5G race".
"Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction", Pai, a Republican, said. To illustrate the current state of USA wireless networks, the PowerPoint uses a picture of a medieval walled city, compared to a future represented by a photo of lower Manhattan.
5G Nationalization ProposalAccording to reports published by media outlet Axios, the 5G nationalization proposal advocates nationalization as a means of countering threats posed by China's dominant position in the manufacture and operation of wireless network infrastructure, as well as the One Belt, One Road Initiative, which aims to enhance China's influence in other countries.
Apart from providing faster connectivity and ubiquitous coverage, 5G is expected to serve as the wireless platform to support driverless cars, smart transportation systems, cloud computing and other businesses yet to be developed.
Trump recently began making good on his aggressive "America First" trade agenda, with China as a primary target by imposing steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.
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This month AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers handsets built by China's Huawei after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
A Huawei spokesman said the company was looking into the reported 5G plan and had no further comment.
Reuters points out that the idea is now only "being debated at a low level in the administration", and it could be "six to eight months" before it is "considered by the president himself".
China has denied that its companies are trying to install spyware.
Building a centralised and nationwide 5G network would involve numerous discussions regarding impact on market mechanism and government expenditure, according to Kelly Hsieh, a research director at consultancy TrendForce.
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