Verizon Promises Not To Over-Hype 5G, Immediately Proceeds To Over-Hype 5G

from the ill-communication dept

We’ve talked a lot about how while fifth-generation wireless is a good thing (in that faster, more reliable networks are always good), it’s been comically over-hyped by cellular carriers and network hardware vendors. It has also been accompanied by what appears to be a race between cellular carriers to broadly misrepresent what 5G is capable of, and where and when it will actually be available. AT&T, for example, began changing the 4G icons on user phones to “5GE,” despite the fact actual 5G isn’t even out of the oven yet.

Hoping to apparently cash in on AT&T’s well-mocked decision while at CES, Verizon subsequently penned this blog post trying to proclaim itself as the more measured of the wired carriers when it comes to 5G:

“The potential for 5G is awesome, but the potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist. If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behavior designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.”

The problem is that Verizon has been at the very forefront of over-hyping 5G for years now. When I went to go dig up numerous past CES appearances where Verizon insisted that 5G would “transform society,” I’d noticed they’d disappeared from the CES website. That said, Verizon’s own website is filled with examples where the company insists that only 5G can really help us build the smart cities of tomorrow, helping to “spur economic growth,” and “improve the quality of life” for city residents. And Verizon’s CES appearance by CEO Hans Vesterberg was packed with what most certainly smelled like misleading hype to me:

“It?s going to change everything,? said Vestberg, athletically clad in a tight Verizon-branded T-shirt that wouldn?t be out of place at an Apple or Google product launch.

“It?s quantum leap over 4G,? Vestberg added, in a statement he repeated no less than four times.

Did he also use the term ?fourth industrial revolution,? another favorite of 5G marketers? Yup. At least three times.

This idea that a universe of smart city and smart car innovation is only possible via 5G has always been misleading in and of itself. Yes, faster, more resilient networks are good, but there’s nothing inherently magical about 5G that will make it somehow forge innovation out of whole cloth. Most existing 4G networks can generally do most of what 5G can (especially with the latest MIMO antenna or other upgrades), 5G networks will just be faster and more resilient with lower latency. 5G is not some mystical panacea. It will, however, probably be used to justify Verizon’s higher prices, to be sure.

Verizon has also been accused by competitors like T-Mobile of being misleading on timelines for 5G delivery:

That said not everybody was all that impressed by Verizon’s CES demonstration of the “5G revolution”:

Again: 5G will ultimately be a good thing whenever it arrives at any real scale (likely 2020 and later), offering faster speeds, lower latency, and greater reliability. But it’s not going to magically fix the wireless sector’s nastier problems, like high prices due to regional cell tower backhaul monopolies, the waning competition caused by merger mania, or the slow but steady erosion of internet equality and consumer protections thanks to the industry’s lobbying stranglehold over government.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: verizon

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Verizon Promises Not To Over-Hype 5G, Immediately Proceeds To Over-Hype 5G”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DannyB (profile) says:

In Icons We Trust

While I can’t speak about Verizon, I notice AT&T switches out the tiny LTE icon for a 5GE icon.

Dear AT&T, please be truthful. Instead of a tiny 5GE icon, how about a tiny 5G LIE icon. Yes, it says LIE right there in front of God and everyone.

But here’s the thing. That icon is so tiny that people will recognize it as saying 5G LTE instead of 5G LIE. Especially if you carefully choose or design the font. The difference between the two might be only one pixel or even a sub-pixel.

Nobody could accuse you of lying.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A real "quantum leap" describes the smallest change it’s possible for an electron to make.

The abruptness of the change, not the magnitude, is the basis for this expression. That doesn’t work either, because the 4G to 5G transition will be very gradual (like earlier ones—some areas don’t have 4G yet).

Anonymous Coward says:

Takling of networks

Verizon and tel com is not the only type of network.

PG&E Gets AIG-ed: Moody’s Downgrade Triggers $800MM Collateral Call, Liquidity Crisis

If PG&E goes down financially it is not much of a stretch for electrical system failure to shortly follow and with that California will be back into “California electricity crisis”

WhatThe4G says:

Repeat of 4G madness

Considering that Verizon, along with AT&T, strong-armed the standards body to label 3G enhancements as 4G, even though it never was tells me that Verizon was just too slow to get their own magic-wand relabling of 4GLTE as 5Ge.

In this case, that was a good thing for Verizon, but due to their actions related to the 4G strong-arming forced-relabeling, they’re still a bunch off ass-hats.

Glenn says:

Back in the ’80s and ’90s we dreamed of such speed and ubiquity as 5G (and 4G, 3G, 2G…) could provide. Still, dialup back then, though slow, was way more fun than this wonderful wireless future is becoming. It was so text-based, but at least we had none of this annoying social media.

Verizon’s initial price for “5G Home”: $70/mo.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...