Verizon Tries To Temper 5G Enthusiasm After Report Clearly Shows US 5G Is Slow, Lame

from the ill-communication dept

For the better part of two years, Verizon has insisted that fifth-generation wireless (5G) would revolutionize everything. Simply by upgrading from 4G to 5G, Verizon repeatedly insisted, we'd usher forth a "fourth industrial revolution," resulting in smarter cars, smarter cities, and an endless array of innovation. 5G technology was so incredible, Verizon insisted, that it would also quickly usher forth incredible new cancer cures, allowing doctors to conduct remote heart surgery while wearing VR/AR headsets from the back of a rickshaw.

Granted 5G was never actually that exciting. While an important update in terms of faster and more reliable mobile networks, the technology was rushed to market in such a way that coverage was sparse and overstated, 5G handsets were expensive and clunky, and service plans were equally pricey. Worse, recent studies have suggested that because the U.S. lacks a lot of the mid-band spectrum available in other countries (read: policy failure), 5G in the United States is going to be significantly slower and not all that much different than 4G (at least for a while).

On the heels of one particularly damning 5G report on slow US speeds by OpenSignal, Verizon is now suddenly attempting to temper enthusiasm, noting that 5G at first won't be all that much different from existing 4G networks:

"In the beginning, you're going to see some improvements. Over time, dramatic improvements," Vestberg said. "We already have one of the best 4G networks in the world, so that's what you're competing with. It's not like you're competing with an inferior 4G network. In the beginning, it's going to be small [improvements on 5G]."

Verizon's problem is that while the company will be deploying a lot of millimeter wave (mmwave) spectrum in key urban markets, that flavor of 5G lacks range and can't penetrate walls particularly well (for 5G conspiracy theorists, that means the technology is less likely to penetrate your skin and harm you, as well). For most users, what you see now with 4G is what you'll get for several years to come:

"But millimeter-wave frequencies don't travel as far as low- and mid-band radio waves and are easily blocked by walls and other obstacles, making them unsuitable for nationwide coverage. As such, Vestberg was asked whether consumers will see a noticeable difference between 4G and 5G in areas without millimeter-wave coverage. Vestberg said that customers will eventually see "dramatic improvements," but not in the near term."

Again, that's a far cry from Verizon's marketing materials. Especially the ads insisting that 5G will revolutionize healthcare (despite the fact that most hospitals will continue to use existing WiFi and fiber connections and not less reliable cellular, no matter how speedy). U.S. consumers, who already pay some of the highest prices in the world for Verizon 4G service, will also need to pay $10 extra a month (you know, just because), and shell out significant cash for early-adoption 5G devices that are fatter, more expensive, and have worse battery life than their current gear.

Again, 5G five to ten years from now will be a good thing in that it provides faster speeds, lower latency, and more resilient networks. For now though, the consensus remains that 5G has been aggressively over-hyped to spur lagging smartphone sales and network gear orders, and there's no need to rush toward 5G's "transformative" technology anytime in the next year or two.

Filed Under: 5g, enthusiasm, oversold
Companies: verizon


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  • identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 21 May 2020 @ 6:33am

    If people aren't enthusiastically supporting 5G, maybe Verizon should've worked harder on their viral marketing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 6:54am

    Think the stadium fiasco was quite damning

    The inability to provision a stadium with full coverage summarized the problems quite neatly.
    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/09/verizons-5g-network-isnt-good-enough- to-cover-an-entire-nfl-stadium/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 7:17am

    Was anyone other than 5G carriers actually excited for 5G? Who is Verizon trying to convince that 5G isn't so awesome after all?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 7:26am

      Re:

      They are trying to convince people that Verizon was calm and measured about it and never hyped anything up.

      They are still going to bill you for it, though.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 7:29am

    the U.S. lacks a lot of the mid-band spectrum available in other countries (read: policy failure),

    Yeah, really, who did we forget to steal spectrum from, force them to shift spectrum, or move to shitty digital? For the sake of bullshit "innovation" we must never stop shafting people. We were fools not to do it sooner!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      Yeah, really, who did we forget to steal spectrum from, force them to shift spectrum, or move to shitty digital? For the sake of bullshit "innovation" we must never stop shafting people. We were fools not to do it sooner!

      You clearly must be new here. The US in USA stands for "Universal Shafting"*. It's the one thing everyone agrees on: The person standing next to you hasn't been screwed enough yet, so feel free to take advantage of them for your own personal gain. They deserve it.

      *Fun fact it also explains the mindset of the monsters running the place: "Universal Shafting of America."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 10:02am

    hospitals will continue to use existing WiFi

    Yes, but since doctors will be operating from rickshaws, they won't have access to the hospitals wifi.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 10:17am

    CURSES! FOILED AGAIN!

    My plan--clever in its simplicity--to end global warning and take over the world by delivering measles vaccines to unsuspecting barnyard fowl via 5G, will have to be deferred indefinitely.

    I may even have to redesign the delivery system to utilize twitter.

    I so HATE it when that happens.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 10:35am

    It isn't 5G, that's why! Fucking wankers! Trying to con the customer, as usual!

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 12:01pm

    Umm, verrry interesting..not really.

    " 5G five to ten years from now will be a good thing in that it provides faster speeds, lower latency, and more resilient networks."

    For what they want to give, we could update/upgrade 4g, and do better..
    By that 10 years Huawei. will have the rest of the planet covered, and running 2-5 times faster then what the USA corps will give us.

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-07/The-United-States-quietly-concedes-defeat-on-Huawei-s-5G-Q i6WsNhqGA/index.html

    "Despite increasingly vocal anti-China rhetoric by American politicians of late, the United States government as reported by Reuters is set to sign off on new rules which allow American technology companies to work with China's Huawei in coordinating on standards for global 5G internet networks.

    "The move comes despite an all-out war against the Shenzhen firm by the United States government for nearly two years which has seen Washington attempt to bludgeon the company with a number of tactics, including domestic blacklistings and sale restrictions, coercing foreign governments against using it and tactics which have included legal charges at home and the pursuit of Meng Wanzhou in Canada."

    Whats amazing also, is the USA Corps always bitching about Copyrights and How China keeps stealing OUR stuff, and China has gone out and BOUGHT and created NEW Copyrights, that our corps are bitching about, ALSO.

    USA corps love a 1 sided competition, and all those interesting words, free trade, capitalism, managed prices, balance of trade, all of the words Iv ever heard tend to be meaningless If not fabrication.
    It scares our corps to Know that the other nations are trying to get into the USA market Without the USA corps getting Anything out of it. Direct sales and infrastructure, from outside the USA. talk about competition.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 12:36pm

    Maybe... add a zero in there?

    Again, 5G five to ten years from now will be a good thing in that it provides faster speeds, lower latency, and more resilient networks.

    Given past and current care and investment put towards the networks 'five to ten years' is almost certainly a wildly optimistic timeline, with double or higher more likely to be accurate.

    Why invest a lot in the next network when you can charge obscene prices for your current one, and pocket massive government subsidies designed to help you fund the upgrade, subsidies that are likely to shrink once that task is actually done?

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 21 May 2020 @ 3:13pm

    US 5G Is Slow, Lame

    That's good news for conspiracy theorists then, because that will bog down the plans of the Lizard People to spread Coronavirus.

    And don't forget that Affordable Healthcare - Obamagate was just step one of getting the government to meddle with your vaccinations by making it "more affordable" to see a doctor. You've gotta get that Lizard DNA somehow.

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

  • icon
    tz1 (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 4:13pm

    But they can use it as an excuse to kill 3G

    Which is important out here in the Zero Bar Ranch country where many areas are still EVDO 3G only. But the phones won't do that anymore, but 5G won't be there either.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 7:09pm

    mm wave spectrum is still being lied about too much to not be a conspiracy

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

  • icon
    R2_v2.0 (profile), 21 May 2020 @ 7:12pm

    My new t-shirt

    "I bought into the 5G hype and all I got was this lousy coronavirus"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 May 2020 @ 11:58pm

    Which industry standard 5G do you mean?

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


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