The 5G race is on.
As Apple introduces its new line of mobile gadgetry, Mobile World Congress Americas opens in Los Angeles for a few days and manufacturers are in high-gear planning mode for the coming CES in January, the elephant in the room is 5G.
What started as a glacier some time ago, the new mega-speeds of 5G are now picking up freight train speed.
Qualcomm is creating new chips for the phones that will be required to handle the speeds and AT&T has added five cities to the markets where it will launch 5G mobile service later this year. AT&T is also working with Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm on its 5G activities.
Now Verizon has added a twist, by giving its 5G a new name: 5G Ultra Wideband, implying it is beyond 5G.
The new speed is a very big deal, as Verizon notes in its 5G naming announcement: “5G is not an incremental improvement over 4G; it’s a revolutionary new technology that requires a new approach in designing and deploying networks. As 5G rolls out, you will see differences in the capabilities of various deployments.”
Verizon plans to launch its 5G services into homes, creating wireless home broadband services. Others, like AT&T, are focused on mobile applications.
The even longer-term use case for 5G will be in connected cars, which will need instant communication capabilities as more connectedness is added to vehicles.
We’ll see if the wait for 5G puts a damper on new mobile phone sales in the short term, although wireless service providers and other phone sellers are not likely to suggest waiting.
Like most evolving technology, it’s a moving river and the only decision for a consumer is to determine at what point to jump in.
For Verizon customers in certain cities (Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento) the 5G river starts flowing this week, with online orders for 5G starting now and service going live on Oct. 1.