Consensus Quietly Builds That 5G Was Overhyped, Rushed To Market

from the ill-communication dept

Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That's not to say that 5G won't be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon has repeatedly hyped early non-standard launches that, when reviewers actually got to take a look, were found to be barely available.

If you looked past press releases you'd notice that Verizon's early launches required the use of $200 battery add on mod because we still haven't really figured out the battery drain issues presented by 5G's power demands. You'd also notice the growing awareness that the long-hyped millimeter wave spectrum being used for many deployments have notable distance and line of sight issues, meaning that rural and much of suburban America will not likely see the speeds you'll frequently see bandied about in marketing issues, and many of the same coverage gap issues you see with current-gen broadband are likely to persist.

If you looked past the headlines you'd probably noticed that even Wall Street was concerned that 5G was being over-hyped and wasn't yet ready for prime time. Those concerns continue to be expressed largely in industry trade magazines, where you'll often find stock jocks noting that most of the purported promises of 5G remain well over the horizon:

"What of the other fancy features of 5G, like massive IoT and ultra low latency? Specifications for those technologies are scheduled for availability in -- wait for it -- 2020, when the 3GPP's Release 16 is scheduled to be finished.

"We believe the current investment opportunity associated with 5G is limited and unlikely to drive meaningful incremental upside for companies involved considering the mature state of the smartphone market," wrote the analysts at Wall Street research firm Cowen in a recent note to investors."

None of this is to say that these early deployments aren't providing some very useful knowledge that will inform broader deployment. And when "real" 5G does start to slowly materialize over the next decade or so the ultra-low latency and high-speeds will ultimately help improve connectivity -- provided it's available to you. But consumer groups like the EFF continue to point out how 5G hype is obscuring our repeated failure to deploy fiber (necessary to feed cellular towers) across America despite countless billions in subsidies having been thrown at telecom giants:

"All this hype over 5G networks by these large companies has done little to answer fundamental questions in the U.S. broadband market: why are the largest ISPs not aggressively deploying fiber to the home despite its proven track record of profits and success? How is it that the United States, as the FCC has recently acknowledged, starting to slow down on fiber to the home, whereas the rest of the world moving is faster? Fiber to the home is cheap to upgrade to even higher speeds once it is laid, making it an infrastructure investment that will be good for decades to come. And its top speeds are already dwarfing even the loftiest 5G hyped assertions."

Meanwhile, these early 5G marketing missteps are creating an aura of distrust in the minds of American consumers. Instead of being directly and clearly shown what the standard can do in the form of fully-cooked product, consumers are being taught that carriers still can't really be trusted to accurately portray where or when the technology will be available to them. And that's of course before you get to how much more 5G is going to cost everyone, or how many nickel-and-dime restrictions will be included in these next-generation networks in the wake of the repeal of net neutrality, hampering its full competitive potential.

Filed Under: 5g, overhype, wireless


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 7:23am

    So what I've been saying for a long time. 5G is oper hyped. It's going to take YEARS before it's really useful. Some places don't even have 3G, let alone 4G. I was up in Northern California and saw a E on my iPhone. What the F is this? I believe it's the Evolution Network, basically 2G. This was a couple of years ago. So SSLLLOOOWWWW!!!

    Point being, 3G and even 4G is not everywhere. There's also dead zones, and weak spots and 5G that has less of a range means it needs more towers to be useful. Some places like S.F. it's almost impossible to get a new tower built.

    How about just get 4G everywhere. I think it's far more than fast enough. What are you doing on your Smartphone that you need 5G speeds for?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Glen, 16 May 2019 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      How about just get 4G everywhere. I think it's far more than fast enough. What are you doing on your Smartphone that you need 5G speeds for?

      That kind of logical thought can't be tolerated in this day and age.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 10:53am

        Re: Re:

        The first and foremost thing I learned about ADVERTS..
        DONT listen, or CLOSE your eyes and listen to the words..
        Maybe, could be, might be, probably...Upto, including..

        Words that can be exaggerated.. not min or max of what you are going to get.
        Then go look up abit of history, and find out it took about 20 years to get the MAIN cell towers up and running to Cover JUST the cities..and another 10 to get he highways covered, BECAUSE the cell system SUCKED if you lost connection when you went driving.. And Still today, they dont have it all covered to every Public location.
        NOW to update that system, so 5g is everywhere?? OMFG...more work, and they WONT do it until its paid for 100 times.. OH! and what are they going to Drop..1g, 2g, 3g...
        They have not even Standardized what and how this is going to work. Widen the bandwidth and over lap what is already there?? with a TON of users in an area10,000 people using the other Freq?? FORCE everyone to go up the ladder and charge them MORE for nothing??

        God:
        Caps?? who watching YT on a cellphone and can tell me how much they are being charged for it?? And when do you get kicked to slower speeds??

        Who wants to take the Internet to WIRELESS?? I get over 150mbps SOLID connection out in the rural areas of idaho..($80) I can watch 3 TY at 1080 at 1 time...can your phone do this?? CAP?? whats that?

        GEt a hint. whoever you are.. Promises are never kept. and expecting the world when you dont know WHO is going to rule over it, is asking for Problems.. Hitler tried..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 11:44am

        Re: Re:

        Well, to be fair, what 5G really brings once deployed is cost savings for the telcos. 5G includes a bunch of failover, band traversal and mesh network technology that makes 4G transmissions cheaper.

        So in a nutshell, 5G networks provide pretty much nothing that a cell phone user will benefit from directly. But they provide the cell providers with greater control over and flexibility in their network, cheaper expansion, better oversubscription handling, and, of course, access to new markets and higher billing rates.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did you work for the phone company 30 years ago?

          Replace "5G" with "ISDN" in your comment and it's a perfect match.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ECA (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 3:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "better oversubscription handling, and, of course, access to new markets and higher billing rates."

          New markets..More adverts and Forced Prices..Telco's went to court recently about how many fee's were on a bill, and what they were for...AND LOST.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Valkor, 16 May 2019 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      I wish someone had said this to my city council. I missed the meeting where they decided to take a discounted lump sum payment for the lease of 4G cell towers on city owned property. They threw away almost half of that lease money because someone scared them about 5G making 4G obsolete.

      I live in the desert. The city is much less dense than your average suburb. When 5G actually happens in cities, my city will be the reason why legacy 4G will still exist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 7:43am

    5G Will be very expensive to install ,it needs a cell tower to be built
    every mile, cell towers have to be connected by a fibre to the network.
    Its range is limited compared with 3g .
    Just getting planning permits for 1000,s new of cell towers will take years .
    It will be easier to install in citys and urban area ,s .
    Who will pay the billions it will cost to build a new network.
    Most people don,t care if their download speed is 3 or 4 times faster on a phone if they are left with download caps like 40gig per month.
    5G phones will be expensive to make as they will have to use new chips and battery tech to operate faster than a 3g phone.
    5G phones could be like driverless cars, it could be 5 years or more before
    they are in common use and are avaidable to the average user.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      First off, it's nice to finally see someone other than myself pointing out that 5G doesn't exist.

      As to your towers every mile and another commentators observation that fiber is better, et al....

      ...you're missing the strategy.

      You can blame ALL of this on one specific, unethical model.

      Hyperspeed computerized trading.

      The market sharks run millions of trades a minute, sight unseen by computers based not on how "good" a stock is, but by miniscule fractions of a point fluctuations.

      "5G" as proposed is never going to happen. By making sure it's so cumbersome and impossible to implement, the "providers" ensure that their actual costs are so minimal over so long a time (ever try to get a permit for a cell tower?) that hypertrading won't be "harmed".

      The same for fiber deployment.

      I'm in NY. I can't really disagree with how deployment is done, as it's a damned good business model. By servicing JUST NYC with fiber, I've now got millions of subscribers with a minimal outlay in labor and materials.

      If I go outside of a dense population center like a city, I've now got to string hundreds of miles of fiber and maintain it.

      That's one of the reasons copper telephone deployment was federally controlled. And it's THE driving reason companies like Verizon are letting copper rot on the poles.

      The "fix"? Dig up the "rural deployment" laws from the dim past concerning electrical and telephone service and apply them to fiber/cable.

      AND ENFORCE THEM.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Annonymouse, 16 May 2019 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re:

        How is that enforcement going these days?
        That little issue with rotting power lines that blacked out the northeast a while back has been taken care of right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 11:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Love that part...
        ENFORCE them,.
        And really...LEVE the corps with the copper, and let the gov do Fiber.
        Then Sell it at PRIME prices or LEASE the lines to the corps..Cut our taxes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 8:11am

    Don't worry - I'm sure president rumps much trumpeted 6g solves all these issues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 16 May 2019 @ 8:39am

    5G may simply not happen at all.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/05/5g-networks-will-likely-interfere-with-us-weather-satell ites-navy-warns/

    The short: NOAA, NASA, the US Navy, AMS and more are urging the FCC not to auction the needed spectrum for 5G off until someone figures out how to keep it from interfering with weather radar.

    National defense issue, national safety issue. So of course Idjit Pie has already started the auction for spectrum!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 8:46am

      Re: 5G may simply not happen at all.

      That's only one specific spectrum that isn't particularly needed for 5G. Most (all?) other countries where 5G is being rolled out aren't using that particular range. Auctioning it off is highly irresponsible for the reasons mentioned in the article, and whether or not it's sold off is going to have very little impact on 5G's availability or usefulness.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 8:49am

      Re: 5G may simply not happen at all.

      Technically, the bands that interfere with weather satellites aren't "needed" for 5G.

      There's more than enough space in the 5G spectrum (~3-85Ghz) that the part that screws up weather measurements (~24Ghz) is just a small slice that can easily be done without. Like how pretty much every country except the US hasn't been dumb enough to put up any 5G at the 24Ghz band.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2019 @ 8:53am

    Seems like this should have been filed under the "welll....duh" department.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Burning woodchipper, 16 May 2019 @ 9:36am

    You have your expert,someone else has theirs

    https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/industry-voices-5g-and-potential-for-widespread-healthcare-dis ruption

    Historically, the healthcare industry has been slower to adopt new and emerging technologies—partially due to regulatory boundaries and legacy IT infrastructure. But as of late, the healthcare industry is rapidly becoming one of the most technologically advanced in the world.

    New and emerging technologies are becoming established tools that help healthcare companies and professionals provide exceptional customer service and patient care. This is also spurring new startups that are entering the fray with innovative ideas to disrupt this industry with data, analytics, robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence. The range of benefits includes the complete value chain of healthcare, everything from administrative duties, such as triage and payments, to medical diagnostics, advanced medicine, clinical trials and collaborative initiatives at life sciences organizations.

    This recent surge in technological adoption could not be more perfectly timed, as 5G comes to the forefront, causing waves of disruption across a wide variety of industries. The potential for 5G integration is limitless. 5G has the potential to revolutionize and reinvent car connectivity, manufacturing and supply chain automation, and more. But a less discussed topic—and potentially one of the most impactful use cases for the technology—exists in healthcare.

    Is it even possible to get more buzzwords in three paragraphs?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 10:40am

      Re: You have your expert,someone else has theirs

      health care dis-ruption??

      ADVERT..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 3:22pm

      Re: You have your expert,someone else has theirs

      "slower to adopt new and emerging technologies—partially due to regulatory boundaries and legacy IT infrastructure."

      Dear whoever..
      Do you understnad what it took to get info/data around BEFORE the internet REALLY hit?
      The only way to get Stuff around was to Phone every doctor, or publish in there Own news paper, Biweekly, and HOPE someone reads it.. As well as MOST of it got Copy written by a 3rd party, as the same with Lawyers..

      It was So overwhelming and stupid, and Info/data took YEARS to get around...and even Then (on my own handicaps) I have surprised Many doctors..
      The internet itself is faster then 5G, at least it Should/will be if they get fiber DONE..

      Does this article Even consider anything besides 5G, or the Past history of medical?? nope.
      The Current ability of Computers and the internet is FANTASTIC.. As a Doctor had a child With my handicap, and did a FULL diagnose and discovery... And even WE(the handicapped) found out NEW information.. And the group we created is one of those Doctors Talk to, about Anything in our handicap.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2019 @ 12:11am

    I’m totally not trolling right now

    Has 5g shipped or not?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 7:50am

    TLDR;

    Handful of Apple Zealot Journalists Pretend They Are "consensus", whine because Apple still doesn't have 5G.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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