WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Thursday morning he had asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to look into helping develop telecommunications infrastructure for speedy 5G wireless networks.
During his visit to a Texas plant on Wednesday, Trump met with Cook and asked “to see if he could get Apple involved in
building 5G in the U.S. They have it all – Money, Technology, Vision & Cook!” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Apple is not known to have made any investments in 5G telecoms infrastructure to date and is yet to release a 5G
device. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump met Cook on Wednesday during his visit to Apple’s upcoming campus in Texas, in the latest sign of a close
relationship between two of America’s most powerful men. This is not the first time Trump has used his Twitter
account to address Cook. In one of his latest tweets, Trump, who uses a government-issued iPhone, lamented the loss of the home button on some iPhone models because it forced users to swipe upward, rather than tap a button to unlock the phone.
Trump has earlier said that the United States intended to deploy 5G services rapidly and plans to cooperate with
“like-minded nations” to promote security in next-generation 5G networks.
5G networks will offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than the current 4G networks, and serve as critical
infrastructure for a range of industries. Mobile operators have to upgrade their networks with 5G gear
made by the likes of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, Sweden’s Ericsson and
Finland’s Nokia Oyj.
The United States has been pressing nations not to grant Huawei access to future 5G networks and alleged Huawei’s
equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied.
The U.S. Congress has been considering legislation to authorize up to $1 billion for small and rural wireless
providers to replace network equipment from companies such as Huawei.
Among U.S. firms, Qualcomm Inc is the dominant player in radio chips that help mobiles connect to networks and
Cisco Systems Inc that makes networking gear. Some of Apple’s rivals in the smartphone market – notably
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd – have already released
Apple, which is expected to release its first 5G phones in 2020, will be able to beat Samsung and Huawei to capture the top
spot by the end of next year, according to research firm
Many carriers that are investing heavily to build 5G networks are also likely to put their marketing efforts behind 5G phones.