5G will finally be unveiled in the US market and is expected to launch Apple Inc.’s next-generation iPhone on Tuesday. However, for most people, the promised astonishing speed will not be realized.
The device is called iPhone 12 by analysts and can utilize 5G or fifth-generation wireless technology. In theory, its operating speed is 10 to 20 times that of the current 4G wireless network.
However, using the next iPhone or any 5G-enabled device on today’s network is like “owning a Ferrari… but using it in your local village, you can’t drive at 200 miles per hour.” These speeds. Explained Boris Metodiev, deputy director of the research company Strategy Analytics.
Apple is expected to launch this new phone at a virtual event on Tuesday. Apple will need to walk a tightrope between attracting consumers to upgrade their phones while not overly promising what 5G can do today.
The current US 5G networks mostly use low-band wireless spectrum or airspace, which is slower than high-band spectrum, but more reliable at longer distances. It may take several years for a large number of speed-up telephone operators to promise to seamlessly integrate augmented reality and real-time cloud gaming.
Several U.S. telecom operators have deployed networks based on lower frequency bands, with speeds slightly higher than 4G. Gene Munster, a long-term analyst at Apple’s venture capital firm Loup Ventures, estimates that a significantly faster variant of “mid-band” 5G is also being launched, but it will not reach three-quarters of Americans by 2025.
The fastest speed touted by operators is a kind of 5G called millimeter wave (mmWave), which can work over a short distance. Verizon Communications Inc has the largest mmWave network currently available, which is only available in certain regions.
According to the mobile signal experience report of the research company OpenSignal in June, although the connection speed of Verizon 5G users is almost 10 times faster than that of Sprint and T-Mobile, the actual average speed is much lower.
According to the same study, on average, AT&T Inc. and Verizon customers using 5G phones have only a little bit faster than 4G speeds.
In South Korea and China, faster 5G networks are becoming more popular. But Apple will compete with local brands, including South Korea’s Samsung and Samsung Electronics, which are already selling on its second production line of 5G phones. China’s Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. saw its sales surge after Huawei was banned from selling in the United States.
Another disappointment is that applications that deliver new content at higher speeds have not yet been created. Executives say that at this stage of the technology cycle, this is a chicken-and-egg problem. He pointed out that Facebook’s mobile application and Alphabet’s YouTube are interested in 4G.
“The applications we will be dazzled by, that will really take advantage of the network, will only be developed once the network and devices are available,” said Morgan Kurk, chief technology officer of CommScope, a telecom equipment maker.
U.S. consumers most motivated to buy a 5G phone would be those who need a new smartphone right now and are looking to protect their investments.
“If you’re buying a phone that you’re going to have for three years, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s going to support the latest networks,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president of research at CCS Insight.
Just know what to expect, Blaber added. “There’s going to be relatively little that you can do on a 5G iPhone you can’t do on a 4G iPhone today.”