Rush to 5G: Carriers behave like children in a pointless race for & # 39; first! & # 39;

7 min read

Imagine four tokens who are at the start of a race. The gun goes off and the runners come forward. Before one of them has taken three steps, one of them shouts: "First!" While all four continue to follow the track, far from the finish line. If you saw that happen in a real race, you'd laugh about it.

I am ashamed of the wireless network operators in the US, but they certainly have no shame. The four major airlines – AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – are all in different racing modes to expand and deploy mobile 5G service across the country. It's a long way, and industry has barely arrived at the gate, but that hasn't stopped the Big Four from acting like a bunch of schoolyard boys.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G 5G logo

Set the 5G phase

Before we lie down in the coachmen, we show where we are today. The 3GPP trade association approved the 5G New Radio (5G NR) specification in December 2017. The 3GPP is an international standard organization that oversees the development of wireless technologies. Although carriers were already able to start 5G preparatory work before the specification was completed, the official ratification of the standard implementation plans was in a higher gear.

AT & T and Verizon Wireless said they would launch 5G networks before the end of 2018, while Sprint and T-Mobile targeted the first half of 2019 for them. There are two flavors of 5G: fixed and mobile. Fixed is intended for home replacement broadband replacement services, while mobile works as a traditional mobile network.

Let us not forget telephone manufacturers. LG announced in August 2018 that it would launch a 5G phone with Sprint. Samsung showed up later to say that it would sell a 5G phone with AT&T and Verizon (we now know that the LG V50 ThinQ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G are exactly the same phones). Mobile World Congress 2019 was full of 5G telephones this year.

Meanwhile, the FCC has just finished the first auction for 5G mmWave spectrum and there is currently a new auction at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G camera

How it played

On October 1, 2018, Verizon Wireless scratched to launch the & # 39; the world's first & # 39; 5G network. In reality, it debuted a fixed 5G service that was not based on the approved 3GPP standard. The company said it would upgrade the service to the correct 5G standard over time.

There is still no word about whether or not this happened. The footprint for this service is limited to different neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Houston, Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA. To use this service, customers must install specific items in the coverage area outside their home.

AT & T achieved the self-imposed launch date "before the end of 2018" by unblocking the mobile 5G service on December 21, 2018. However, there are a lot of reservations. AT & T & # 39; s service is available in parts of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio and Waco. Where in those markets? Nobody knows. AT&T does not share coverage cards.

In addition, AT & T's service is available from a single device, the $ 499 Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. AT & T has so far refused to test the Nighthawk and, as far as is known, only one person has one in Indianapolis. The company said it would initially be made available to a small group of early adopters, with a broader roll-out to follow later in the first half. AT & T says the first 5G phone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, will arrive in the first half of the year.

AT & T & # 39; s fake & # 39; 5G E & # 39; nonsense is a completely different matter. The company is lying and being charged with it.

While Sprint and T-Mobile continue to pitch their proposed merger with the US government, their respective 5G launch plans have been reduced.

Sprint says his network will get off the ground in May. It will be available first in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City and later in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, DC before July 1. The courier offers the LG V50 ThinQ and an HTC-made mobile hotspot.

Similarly, T-Mobile is planning a limited launch with the LG V50 in the first half of the year and a more meaningful extension to no fewer than 30 cities in the second half of the year.

Switch on the drama

What happened this week is a different story.

In mid-March, Verizon said the mobile 5G network went live on April 11 in "select areas" of Chicago and Minneapolis. The device? The Motorola Z3 with the Moto 5G mod. Nice. It is expected that Verizon will not sell the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G until May.

This week, Korea & # 39; s SK Telecom announced plans to "launch the world's first commercial 5G network that works with a 5G smartphone." The launch would take place on April 5.

Verizon then moved its planned launch from April 11 with a full week to April 3 to beat SK Telecom.

SK Telecom responded by postponing the launch to 3 April – at 11 p.m. – according to Verizon with approximately two hours Yonhap News.

Both companies naturally claim to be the first.

Serious?

Who cares?

Social media, especially Twitter, have a way to strengthen hysteria. Representatives of the companies involved in this race repeatedly repeated with claims that they were the first, and the funny thing is that none of it really matters in the long run.

AT & T and Verizon both claim to take the lead because they leave the entire race from the starting line to run away. Launching mobile 5G services for a handful of blocks in two markets is not important to the vast majority of people. What matters is the complete build-outs with real, affordable equipment at price plans that make sense for everyone (if you think the LG V50 ThinQ and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will cost a cent less than $ 1000, you dream).

LG V50 ThinQ 5G logo close-up

Transformative 5G service that affects ordinary people has been removed for many months. Of course, the first launches are exciting and it's great to see the industry coming together and finally done. But this is not a sprint, it is a marathon and we still have 26.1 miles to go.

NEXT: Besides Qualcomm, who else is in the 5G race?

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Written by

Don Bradman

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