Mobile 5G hype vs. reality in 2019

Mobile 5G hype
Figure 1; Credit: AT&T

Tech companies should anticipate a highly hyped 5G network breakthrough in 2019. And while carriers will be looking to deliver fast speed mobile plans, the market space will be limited in number. Nonetheless, original mobile manufacturers (OEMs) will be aiming to unveil all the necessary supporting devices. Moreover, mobile plans analysts predict significant progress under the plug – predicting the real mobile 5G impact, come 2020.

AT&T together with Verizon, sparked the 5G hype at CES with major rollouts on mobile plans. The expansion saw AT&T expand its 5G mobile services in more than 12 US cities. In addition, Verizon has also introduced a 5G broadband plan for homes – spreading it across four US cities already. There are plans underway to unveil a mobile 5G plan this year (2019).

The next intensified market window is expected to open in the following week, where OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi will be exhibiting 5G-enabled gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The same manufactures will again have another chance to showcase their new flagships in the month of February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Regardless of the excitement about the new plans; analysts are predicting low sales from these plans (5G) and the supporting devices. The alleged reason behind this is that both the carriers and manufacturers might not surpass what is already in the market – the current 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in place. Moreover, according to IDC, we should not expect any major revenue income from the 5G plan before 2020.

AT&T sparkled negative reactions for 5G branding

Various carriers are expecting to face challenges advancing from 4G to 5G mobile services. For instance, AT&T already attracted opposition for rebranding its 4G plan to the next-gen 5G service – including a 5G E icon on most of its mobile plans.

AT&T sparkled negative reactions for 5G branding
Figure 2; Credit: AT&T

It is evident that the most advanced 4G plans use bits of 5G tech. Furthermore, the branding exercise might cause a mix-up between the select 5G E plan and the overall AT&T 5G service – all bounded by the industrial standards for devices – more so, the New Radio (NR) requirements for devices.

Patrick Moorhead, a top-ranked analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy claims that the 5G E branding by AT&T will cause confusion among consumers to perceive that the 5G plan is in accordance to NR regulations, which is false. He, however, added a controversial statement on his Twitter page that the 5G plan is more than a hype and it’s soon becoming a reality.

More criticism was seen on Reddit where various users claimed that the new 5G plan is not significantly faster compared to the current 4G LTE service. However, despite the criticism, analysts came to the rescue, claiming that AT&T is working to improve on the speeds of its newly adopted plan.

4G LTE service
Figure 3; Credit: AndroidAuthority

What we’re anticipating

Patrick Moorhead anticipates AT&T to offer top speeds over low latency across all US cities by end of Q3 2019. Parameters of the 5G plans are indicating that the service will eventually clock speeds of up to 20Gbps.

The new mobile plan’s extremely low latency is deemed crucial for high bandwidths. Having a capacity to provide real-time communication between the carrier’s data centers and mobile stations (user gadgets). Moreover, analysts in the field are anticipating improved communications on all major platforms including; autonomous vehicles, CCTv cameras as well as Augmented Reality. We believe only time will tell.

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