The race to 5G is coming to a halt—thanks to the government shutdown.
The fifth and next generation of cellular wireless technology, is a 2019 priority for many mobile carriers. It’s a development, however, that requires extensive government approval processes. And amid the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, stretching beyond its 22nd day, those Federal Communications Commission approval processes are taking a hit.
“[The government shutdown] comes at a vital moment when the U.S. is competing to stay ahead of the world in the race to 5G, and when new products and services are being rolled out in real time,” the Telecommunications Industry Association said in a statement Friday. “Unfortunately, the FCC ran out of funding on Jan. 3 and closed down its vital device approval process as a result. The unavailability of this process will have a serious and negative impact on the approval of new connected devices that are designed to enable both 5G deployment and the full ecosystem of next generation technologies that 5G will support.”
According to CNET, new phones, tablets, Wi-Fi routers, and internet of things devices will all be slowed down. Health care consumer devices that require approval from the Food and Drug Administration are likely to see slower rollouts in the coming months, too.
These shutdown effects will largely hurt smaller companies focused on fewer devices, rather than Apple or Samsung, CNET reported.