San Francisco: American marketing activities favor ultra-fast 5G telecom networks, but they are still more hope than reality.
Promoters of the technology say it will bring such innovations as fast-thinking self-driving cars and rapid-fire video downloads.
And nationwide coverage with 5G could add $1.5 trillion to GDP in the next five years. But actually deploying it here is “very fragmented” given the maze of local regulations and agencies that telecom companies have to navigate across 50 states, said Jefferson Wang, head of 5G strategy at Accenture.
Approval needs to be sought. Usually, when streets, buildings or other structures are involved, hearings can be held to install antennas to relay telecommunications signals.
Samsung and Huawei released the first 5G smartphones in mid-2019.
Apple launched its first 5G iPhone at the end of last year. Although this rapid service has not yet become widespread, it still prompts telecom operators to talk about it here.
Integrating gadgets and services into 5G networks is the main theme of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ends on Friday after its first online-only event.
People using Verizon can get 5G connectivity as long as they are in the right city and within the line of sight of the antenna.
Verizon has invested in a portion of the radio bandwidth, in which high-frequency signals move the fastest, but at the expense of travel distance, and will be blocked by objects such as walls or rain.
Rivals AT&T and T-Mobile have been investing in medium and low frequencies, which travel further but at relatively slower speeds.
AT&T has taken to calling its enhanced 4G network “5G E” in a widely criticized marketing strategy. While smartphone screens might show connections stamped “5G,” speeds do not deliver.
“With 4G, that is like driving a Ferrari at rush hour,” Qualcomm senior vice president of engineering Alejandro Holcman said of using 5G smartphones on slower networks.
“You probably can do it but you need 5G to take full advantage of the capabilities of the devices,” he added, while speaking on a CES panel.
Innovators have been publishing miracles through 5G networks, and the connections are so rich and fast that remote surgery will be a viable option.
Hans Vestberg, the owner of Verizon, boasted at CES that it has installed 5G in more than a dozen football stadiums in the United States this year, allowing fans to watch live games from various camera angles. And use augmented reality technology to superimpose information.
He also provided a glimpse at a project to allow people to examine 3D digital versions of Smithsonian Museum exhibits in their homes.
“The reality is you don’t need 5G for that. You just need an internet connection,” quipped Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi.
“I wish people would spend more time talking about the real benefit, which is the quality of service is going to be better. But that’s not sexy.