BEIJING : As tensions rise between the United States and China in the high-tech realm, even a merger of two American wireless providers has become entangled in fears about losing internal competitiveness.

T-mobile and Sprint announced on Sunday that they would combine. By joining forces, the two mobile carriers said, they would help ensure that American companies remained world leaders in the coming era of 5th generation wireless technology or 5G.

The implication is that the failure to keep up in 5G would give China and Chinese company the edge.

Many analysts believe that that such talk is merely aimed at persuading the Trump administration to approve the deal.

United States regulators blocked a previous attempt by the companies because they were worried that fewer wireless providers would lead to higher prices.

''They kept pointing to China on the call, but that is just a nice way to grease the skids,'' said Will Townsend , an analyst with  Moors Insights and Strategy, a research firm based in Texas, referring to a  T-Mobile conference call with reporters and analysts on Sunday.

The focus on China raises tricky questions for Sprint's controlling shareholder, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which buys telecom equipment from Chinese manufacturers.

Still, most experts agree that the deal would produce a healthier company, one with more financial resources to pursue 5G. And where the rivalry in advanced industries between the United States and China is concerned, the prize is significant.

It is not just the  ultrafast  video downloads and web surfing that such networks could provide for consumers. Rather, it is the whole range of the future economic and technological opportunities    -whether self driving cars, or smart cities and factories   -that the networks could open up.

''It's hard to argue that 5G is not key to the next five to 10 years ,'' said Chris Lane, a telecom analyst in Hong Kong with Stanford C. Bernstein.

''Strategically, if you're the  US and you're trying to plan industrial  policy, this deal makes sense.''

Mobile carriers in China have already announced  bold plans to roll out  5G  networks, and the creation of a new American wireless giant  would be unlikely to affect them.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Technology, 5G and the Global markets continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Raymond Zhong.


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