The main points non-technical reporters get wrong about 5G

I find it fascinating how non-technical reporters (for example An Investor's Primer: 5G, the Internet of Things, and Augmented/Virtual Reality and 5G Wireless Will Redraw the Wireless Industry Map: Who Stands to Lose?) try to simplify 5G and explain it in nearly binary fashion.

So let’s get a few things straight:

1. Stop calling it a “race”.
It isn’t a sprint nor is it a marathon. The better analogy is that 5G is like the Olympics. There will be many winners in many different events and some losers. Some events will end up getting added; some will go away due to lack of popularity. But trying to simplify 5G as if it is just a single race demonstrates a lack of understanding of the complexity and sophistication of the 5G protocols.

2. 5G at its core isn’t sexy- so stop trying to make it so.
The wireless industry likes to make 5G exciting and futuristic by glorifying things like self-driving cars and wireless virtual reality and remote surgery. While these types of applications may (operative word is may) end up being part of the 5G ecosystem, they are a nominal part of 5G. The business case for 5G is in improved network reliability and cheaper delivery of services. All of the glamorous applications will require significant densification- which many experts still question as economically justifiable anywhere other than urban areas.  


3. The average consumer won’t see the benefit from 5G in any significant fashion until 2021 at the earliest.
It doesn’t matter when each carrier says they will have some cities online or test markets active. 5G use will be constrained by handset availability and business development even in these test markets.  
 

I don't mean to be disrespectful to the work of non-technical reporters, but rather to clarify certain topics related to 5G that I've seen the media get wrong. 
How about you? Have you come across hyped or technically incorrect 5G commentaries or articles? What did they claim?

One comment

  1. The race and hype is driven by vendors who need to sell more, most operators will continue building capacity on 4G thru 4G LTE Adv Pro etc for next 5 years as that can deliver up to 2Gbps with 5 carrier aggregation.

    Its is likely that consumers will not need nor ask for 5G day one, but that industry could step up and provide not only 5G revenues to carriers but also decent margins to help offset the investments required.

    The next anomaly is the belief that 5G will fix coverage issues, as if overnight the rollout of 5G is nationwide immediately and all current problems are fixed. The cost of that scale of RAN rollout is not achievable.

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