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5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

[ Edited ]
petergdownload

I've long been pretty skeptical of the hype of 5G. So many articles and Telco announcements breathlessly telling of a coming revolution (Here in Oz its supposed to make the NBN obsolete overnight). All the while only "laboratory tests" where referenced and indicated the still not quite invented status of the technology. Very real issues of coverage and in building penetration were continually mentioned but considered almost solved (but never quite).

 

While apparently mobile handsets remain in that bracket, the industry has been (loudly) starting off with fixed in home internet 5G offerings. Optus have done so in an extremely limited invite only trial in a few suburbs across Australia. In the US Verison have gone to actual an commercial offering so it now been possible for someone outside the industry to start looking at real world performance of 5G - and the results so far are not encouraging.

 

Coverage is a big issue, very patchy and within a limited range of the cell tower. Residential setup is sounding like it needs a technician to visit. Ultimately many more 5G towers are needed than 4G towers we have. Coupled with this is the real lack of need for 5G for most potential customers. Super fast mobile is nice sure, but the ubiquity of 4G, while only just real fast makes it plenty for most households.

 

Anyway this article on Verison's first deploy makes for interesting ready (for me anyway) and suggests strong headwinds for Telcos who have paid enormous amounts $$$ to get into 5G.

 

Peter Gillespie

Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

Paddylee

Things to remember:

 

Verizon is rolling out their 5g on 28Ghz, unlike Australia where its launching with 3.4-3.6Ghz - this is a major difference.

 

5g is very attractive in Aus as the margins on NBN services are extremely low, if your able to deliver an equivilant service over your own 5g network, you wont be paying NBN wholesale rates at all - money goes back into the network expansion.

 

Sure its a slow rollout so far, 4g was also a slow rollout at the start.

 

Verizons implimentation needs a tech visit, Optus offering does not (28Ghz vs 3.4-3.6Ghz makes a huge difference there)

 

4g and 5g can use the same bands at the same time - this is a very practical solution to the large amount of spectrum that is already available.

 

If you could offer 50+ Mbit to a household thats stuck on FTTN with no hope of faster then 25Mbit at a betteer pricepoint - people would sign up without hessitation.  We have thsi current Gov to thank for the FTTN mess, this is the Telco's reaction to this.

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Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

petergdownload

Great points @Paddylee . Oz does seem to be going a bit different in its 5G implimentation so perhaps that will make all the difference. My understanding is we are intending to adopt the US versions down the track but for now we're going with different tech (mostly to try combat the short distance 5G can cover). 

 

US Telecommunications is on my reading a big mess. Many, many areas still only on ADSL while other areas on fibre (bit like Oz I suppose). I'm sure they're also hoping 5G will fill in the gaps but as a business model its looking shakey at this point. I agree its still early days yet it seems 5G has been around the corner for years now.

 

Possibly one of the biggest point the article I linked makes is there's not really a compelling need for 5G speeds yet. Already we see 4G speeds (50-100 Mpbs) being offered to homes with decent data allowances. Its going to take a lot longer for 5G to reach and exceed the 4G footprint. 

 

I've no doubt 5G will eventually cover the major cities well but making a buck from it could  (once its technologically matured) prove difficult. Although as you say there's a lot more scope for product innovation in the mobile sphere than what is essentially just reselling the NBN with a small profit margin tacked on top.

 

Peter Gillespie

Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

Paddylee

5g is more about capacity over speeds.

 

Sure 4g gets people 100Mbit in some areas, but oibviously not in may.

This is where 5g comes in with its capacity over 4g.

 

Did see one test case where a stadium of 50k people all sharing 4g resulted in.. lets just say a failurre.

With 5g (of course needing a 5g device, but this is a test case) each of the 50k people could get 100Mbit without issue.

 

People love seeing "fast" speeds, hence why its marketed at that, but capacity is one of its major benefits.

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Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

[ Edited ]
petergdownload

5g in a stadium definitely a potential winner. There's no doubt niche scenarios it can do very well. However the Broader rollout seems to me a big stumbling point. It seems Optus are going the small cell approach like in the us where 1000s of nodes for the city.

 

It will be an interesting 2020 (I don't think we'll see 5g this year)

 

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/optus-roasts-5g-small-cell-property-placement-rules-523442

 

 

Peter Gillespie

 

Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

Paddylee

Optus 5g is live, you just have to be in the right circles to try it Smiley Happy

 

By June Nokia will have the home router production churning out devices as needed, so wont be long after that more people in coverage areas will be able to access 5g.

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Re: 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband is a Loser - Worries for the Industry

petergdownload

Its going to be interesting. I'm a firm believer in technology making lives better but I'm also very aware how companies make bets on incremental improvements that can end up massively unwanted. B&W Laser printers did 150x150. 300x300. 600x600. 1200x1200. All good but then they released 2400x2400 onto the market only to find the human eye couldn't actually distinguish between that and last years model. 

 

5G has an air of inevitability about it but I'm suspecting it will crash and burn in its first desperate and rushed iteration. Similar perhaps to driverless cars. Read recently that with most great technologies there's an initial innovation phase that burns brightly. It makes sense, its highly desirable. But the first attempts generally end up failing. There's disillusionment, but quietly the advances and lessons are picked up by the second round and that's when things really start happening.

 

That's all a bit wishy washy and I look forward to be proven wrong Smiley Happy

 

Peter Gillespie

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