4G, the fourth generation of wireless technology, has been around for a while, so the advent of 5G is getting a lot of press. What we are seeing, however, looks more like marketing hype.
Mainly, 5G will improve wireless networks. We may see less latency, faster speeds, and higher efficiency, but it might not be as big as we thought. Sprint’s chairman and former CEO Marcelo Claure explains the difference as being like the jump from black and white to color TV.
The exciting new things everybody is expecting from 5G, like smart cars and cities, are already possible with 4G. Eric Xu, the chairman of Huawei, says consumers will see no real difference with 5G.
Why the hype? Customers in the United States already pay some of the highest internet rates, and rates for 5G connectivity will be higher.
Sprint and T-Mobile are proposing a merger to combine their resources in order to position themselves at the forefront of 5G connectivity. Government regulators are hesitant to reduce the number of major mobile carriers in the country.
Both companies claim to be able to produce 5G independently, and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler believes that reducing the competition for this technology is a bad idea:
“The ‘China is winning on 5G’ argument of Sprint and T-Mobile is creative, and probably the only rationale they could concoct after the government twice before rejected their proposal to reduce national wireless competition from four providers to three.”
The US ranks 62nd in 4G speeds, probably because of limited competition and comfortably high rates. 5G may be an improvement, but probably not the game-changer the industry is saying. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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