Takeaway: Some but not many locations will support AR/VR servers in 2020-2022. The good news: It works. 5G + Edge Cloud networks are starting to deploy with 15-25 ms latency.  Where fast enough, you will be able to move all your calculations to high-capacity servers which will do all the calculations and just send the picture to a lightweight headset or phone. Major companies including Tencent, Niantic Pokemon, and Verizon are already testing. Experts think quality VR will require 10-20 ms latency, right on the edge of what's coming.

The rest of the story. 1-5 ms is often promised. (URLLC) It works in the lab but is years away from meaningful deployment. Sorry. The best available in the next few years will be Level 2 Edge clouds, relatively close to the user, delivering 15-25 milliseconds. Deutsche Telekom has begun deploying a Level 3 Edge cloud, further back in the network, 20-30 ms. Without an Edge cloud, 5G latency should be 30-45 ms. Today, a decent LTE network is 45-55 ms average.

Unfortunately, this will only be available in limited areas for years.  China and Korea will move quickly starting late in 2019. Both nations should be mostly covered by 2020-2021. Few others will have wide deployments until 2022-2025. Verizon is one of the first to deploy real 5G. Its goal is a quarter of the U.S. by 2022-2023. 

Verizon will be ahead of most others. T-Mobile U.S. promises to cover the whole country in 2020, but it is using low frequencies with LTE-like performance. In addition, for good AR/VR you need mini datacenters fairly close to the user, perhaps at the local exchange. Few of the 5G telcos are committed to those servers. Verizon says they will start reaching customers late in 2019. AT&T is only testing and officially is uncertain. The Europeans are mostly further behind.

dave ask


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps

CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum USS2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed


Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.