A much-hyped network upgrade called “5G” means different things to different people.

To industry proponents, it’s the next huge innovation in wireless internet. To the U.S. government, it’s the backbone technology of a future that America will wrestle with China to control. To many average people, it’s simply a mystery.

5G is a new technical standard for wireless networks that promises faster speeds and less lag. A true U.S. mobile rollout will start in 2019. It will take a few years to go national.

Interest in 5G goes well beyond engineers: In Washington, there are fears that China could take the lead in developing the technology and sell equipment that could be used to spy on Americans.

FILE- In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, unveils the 5G modem Balong 5000 chipset in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE- In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, unveils the 5G modem Balong 5000 chipset in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo Ignacio Contreras, of Qualcomm Technologies, talks about the new Qualcomm 5G platform network at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo Ignacio Contreras, of Qualcomm Technologies, talks about the new Qualcomm 5G platform network at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
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