The Wall Street Journal - 07.09.2019 - 08.09.2019

(Barré) #1

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.** Saturday/Sunday, September 7 - 8, 2019 |B








500 miles
500 km

Tongguan already has superb
4G service, thanks to a nearby
cellular tower.

In 1998, Netflix’s Reed Hastings traveled to Seattle for a meeting with Jeff Bezos.

Tongguan, China


n either side of the
brown river running
through this misty
mountain village, resi-
dents live in wooden
huts without window-
panes. Chickens and cats mingle
on the road.
But this southwestern Chinese
backwater has seen a glimpse of the
future that even major U.S. cities
such as Boston and Philadelphia still
haven’t experienced. As part of a
publicity stunt two years ago, a gov-
ernment-owned wireless carrier
briefly flipped on a superfast 5G cel-
lular network to broadcast a song-
and-dance performance from mem-
bers of the Dong ethnic minority.
This is the audacity of Beijing’s
plan to roll out the next-genera-
tion wireless technology, which
government leaders around the
world say could spark the next in-
dustrial revolution.
5G, short for fifth-generation
wireless, promises to be the heart-
beat of the future. Expected to be
100 times faster than today’s 4G
networks, 5G’s seamless connec-
tions could enable innovations
such as driverless cars, robot-run
factories and remote surgery. Be-
cause 5G is set to be embedded in
so many fields of endeavor, the
country that dominates the tech-
nology is likely to reap outsize
profits, attract top-tier engineer-
ing talent and seize an edge in
other critical future technologies,
including weaponry.
President Trump has said 5G is a

race that the U.S. must win. But
while American wireless carriers
are leading in early deployment of
the technology, some telecom-in-
dustry leaders say Beijing is poised
to vault ahead in coming months.
While U.S. wireless carriers
shuffle from city to city to intro-
duce 5G, China plans to blanket ur-
ban areas with it by the end of
next year and the rest of the coun-
try soon after. A local manager at
one carrier estimated that even
Please turn to page B


Note: Cellular site defined as macro base station;
investment figures also include 4G and earlier
Sources: Bernstein Research (site); Dell'Oro Group


Wide-area 5G cellular sites
by end of 2019






Projected investment in cellular
equipment in 2023



$12 billion








Fear Factor
sillyriskquiz B

lovedbystaff B


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Boys playing
videogames on their
phones in Tongguan.
The village, which
lacks modern
plumbing, could get
superfast 5G
networks by 2021.

The superfast wireless technology is expected to revolutionize

everything from manufacturing to medicine—and everyone
wants to have it first. Right now, Beijing may have the edge.

In the Race

To 5G, China

Sprints Ahead

Purdue Pharma LP is in dis-
cussions with the U.S. Justice
Department to resolve criminal
and civil probes related to its
prescription painkiller OxyCon-
tin, according to people famil-
iar with the matter.
Investigations by multiple
federal agencies into Purdue
began at least as early as 2017
and have been run by the Jus-
tice Department along with
the U.S. attorneys’ offices in
Connecticut, New Jersey and
Vermont, the people familiar
with the probes said. The gov-
ernment has subpoenaed for-
mer employees in recent
months, the people said.
The investigations have at
times looked into Purdue’s
possible failure to report doc-
tors who were illegally pre-
scribing opioids and the com-
pany’s order-monitoring
systems, the people said. The
government has also consid-
ered charges under ”continu-


Losses at WeWork’s parent
aren’t the only concern
mounting about the shared-of-
fice company as it prepares to
go public. Some of its prac-
tices push the boundaries of
traditional corporate gover-
nance, analysts and investors
The New York-based
startup, which was recently
renamed We Co. and filed for
an initial public offering in Au-
gust, is weighing slashing its
IPO valuation and could delay
the listing, The Wall Street
Journal reported Thursday. In
addition to questions about
the company’s steep losses
and its business model, cur-
rent and potential investors
have also raised governance
concerns—including adequate
oversight of top executives—to
We and its underwriters, peo-
ple familiar with the discus-
sions said.
When it filed to go public,
We disclosed far more poten-
tial conflicts of interest than
Please turn to page B


We Wo r k


Worries of


“Jesus, Reed, where are you taking us?”
The street looked like a movie set of
skid row. There was trash on the sidewalk,
broken glass in the window casements.
“Should be right around the corner,”
Reed replied, squinting down at the Seat-
tle map he’d printed out that morning.
I glanced toward a group of shabbily
dressed young men huddled in the door-

way of a large building. “Somehow I think
I expected something a little more...I don’t
know, modern?”
“There it is,” Reed said, pointing to a
rundown four-story brick building. He
seemed less certain now. Leaning in to-
ward one of the tall windows, I could just
see into the dimly lit lobby. On the wall,
behind a faded wood desk, was a large
sign reading
Please turn to page B

When Netflix Almost

Sold Itself to Amazon



ing criminal enterprise” stat-
utes typically used to
prosecute drug dealers.
The talks are heating up at
a critical time for Purdue and
its owners, the Sackler family,
as they grapple with the fu-
ture of the company—includ-
ing a possible bankruptcy fil-
ing—and work to resolve legal
issues on multiple fronts over
OxyContin and its alleged role
in the opioid crisis.
A Purdue spokesman de-
clined to comment Friday.
Spokesmen for the Justice De-
partment and U.S. attorneys in
Connecticut, New Jersey and
Vermont declined to comment.
The talks with the Justice
Department could add another
complication to already con-
tentious negotiations with
state and local governments,
which are collectively seeking
to recover billions of dollars
from Purdue and other drug-
makers and distributors.
Whether Purdue and the Sack-
lers can come up with enough
money to appease the myriad
governmental factions is for
now an open question.
Any deal with the Justice
Department, which would
likely include a monetary fine,
Please turn to page B

Purdue, DOJ in

Settlement Talks

OxyContin maker

looks to end probes
over drug’s alleged

role in opioid crisis

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