from the hype-overdose dept
We’ve noted for a long time how the “race to 5G” was largely just hype by telecoms and hardware vendors eager to sell more gear and justify high U.S. mobile data prices. While 5G does provide faster, more resilient, and lower latency networks, it’s more of an evolution than a revolution.
But that’s not what telecom giants like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T promised. Both routinely promised that 5G would change the way we live and work, usher forth the smart cities of tomorrow, and even revolutionize the way we treat cancer. None of those things wound up being true, and consumers have very much noticed.
Analysts indicate that consumer interest in 5G has all but slowed to a trickle, as there’s still no real mind-blowing use cases that demonstrate its superiority to 4G:
“The hype for 5G has dwindled, and demand has shifted to more practical aspects of smartphones such as battery life, storage, processor speed, and camera quality,” says Chiew Le Xuan, an analyst at Canalys. “Everyone is feeling the pinch and the practical uses of 5G have yet to be seen.” He argues that, in the vast majority of cases, 4G speeds are sufficient for everyday use.
The problem is compounded here in the states by the fact that U.S. 5G, due in part to a dearth of middle-band spectrum, is significantly slower than most overseas variants. That made it particularly difficult for companies like Verizon that tried to justify charging customers more for 5G. Especially now that many consumers are facing higher costs for many goods and services.
The one instance where 5G services have proven more popular is fixed 5G wireless, which is making some modest competitive inroads against the nation’s cable monopolies (83 million Americans currently live under a fixed-line broadband monopoly). But in terms of being a revolutionary technology that quickly drove smart cars and smarter cities to market, years of marketing hype have come up empty.
That’s, again, not to say that 5G doesn’t have benefits, but the benefits that existed were dramatically overstated by carriers looking to generate hype. That, in turn, has associated the standard in the minds of many consumers with hype and bluster, something that could have been avoided with just a little bit of marketing humility.
Filed Under: 5g, high speed internet, telecom, wireless
Companies: at&t, t-mobile, verizon