The COVID-19 pandemic could delay the rollout of 5G networks in the U.S. According to a report from The Verge, the warnings come as businesses cited the impact the coronavirus could have on their bottom lines as they reported their quarterly earnings.
Analysts say they are waiting for the June data to make a final determination about whether the newest generation of wireless communication technologies that support cellular data networks will be put on hold in the U.S.
Today, the 5G debut appears to be in better shape in Europe, with China’s deployment on track, the online news service said.
Samsung has said “investments in 5G networks will be reduced or delayed domestically and internationally as more effects of COVID-19 unfold.”
Ericsson and Nokia, two of the three major network providers alongside Huawei, also warned of delays, The Verge said.
“COVID-19 and actions taken by governments to slow down the spread are making our service delivery and supply harder due to lockdowns and travel restrictions in many countries,” Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said.
Still, not everyone is convinced there will be delays. Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Inc., told The Verge that the U.S. 5G rollout seems to be on track. He acknowledged there had been minor delays in 5G deployments in some regions, but in the U.S. some carriers are ahead of schedule.
Verizon shares that optimism despite the pandemic, the report said.
AT&T warned that logistical issues outside of its control may reduce the company’s spending on 5G, but was unclear on the specific impact this may have on its rollout.
T-Mobile has not reported its quarterly earnings, but announced that it is taking the first steps to combine its 5G network with Sprint’s after officially completing the merger last month.
Last month, Amy McCune, vice president and COO of Ericsson North America, told PYMNTS the headwinds to 5G deployment is not limited to the uncertain business investment climate caused by the coronavirus. She said there is an infrastructure challenge, as local government restrictions are delaying those deployments. “As cities get their arms around what a smart city could do for them, their appetite to move more quickly will change,” McCune predicted.