Eric Xu, current Huawei Chairman, concludes "consumers would find no 'material difference between 5G & LTE'.” Louise Lucas and Nic Fildes, Financial Times He added, "Since 4G is robust, we don’t see many use cases or applications we need to support with 5G.”
Last May, I reported similar thoughts from Telefonica CTO Enrico Blanco. In November, DT CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, FT/Orange SVP Arnaud Vamparys, and BT CEO Gavin Patterson chimed in. The politicians & marketers screamed "5G Revolution." The engineers knew better.
Andrus Anders and Roberto Viola at the EU, as well as Jessica Rosenworcel & Ajit Pai in the U.S., are still lying to themselves and too proud to face their errors.
Speed: 4G LTE 2018 is hundreds of megabits, peaking over a gigabit. 90% of 5G on the way is midband, the same hundreds of megabits. Only 10-20% of the first few years will be millimeter wave, often a gigabit.
Applications: 5G's main application around the world will be more capacity, a good thing for telcos. But most of the other claims are b______.
- Connected cars are already on the road, using lidar & radar, not the phone network. Xu points out, “even today we have the technology that can support autonomous driving”.
- The talk of remote surgery is totally ridiculous unless you believe in operating from the beach. The wireless part of the transmission is only a small part of the speed. From the local connection to the operating room will be 20-50 ms. Whether the wireless is 2, 5, or 10 ms. is a minor factor.
- IoT will rarely require speeds more than 100's of megabits. Most actually is kilobits. If there so many connections that LTE is overwhelmed, a local Wi-Fi or LTE picocell can handle almost everything.
- VR experts tell me they are fine at 10-15 ms.
- Outside the U.S., very little fixed wireless requires 5G speeds. AT&T and Verizon will use mmWave where they don't have decent broadband, about 75% of the country in each case. Nearly everywhere else, the telco covers the whole country with landlines.
"5G Revolution" is dead. Millimeter wave and Massive MIMO will be crucial to telcos going forward; midband spectrum will be important, running at LTE speeds and really LTE with a minor software tweak and a press release. Until 2018, it was called TD-LTE.