Why 5G Wireless Is Not Yet Up To Speed: Jeff Kagan

Jeff Kagan  |

Image source: ADMC / PIxabay

We have been hearing for years about the incredible speeds and low latency that 5G will bring. It seems that the advertising from major wireless carriers is getting our mouths watering in anticipation. We see the 5G icon on the screen and think we are getting those fast speeds now. When users actually test their speed using Ookla Speedtest or something similar, however, they are usually disappointed. Let’s take a closer look at the problem. When will we finally get access to the fast speeds and low latency that 5G offers?

Don’t get me wrong. 5G is fast. And it is available in many wireless towers today. And if you have a device with the proper 5G chips, you can get fast speeds.

5G is not everywhere yet, however, and, in fact, it’s only available in limited areas today. Plus, you need a 5G phone or device.

That means it only affects a small percentage of users at this point.

Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T Mobility and 5G wireless speeds

Rather than shooting straight with users nationwide, wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T seem to be using 5G as a marketing tool.

They are all saying they offer 5G, without clarity about what that means.

What it means is, in their rush to beat the competition in the 5G marketing wars, they are not paying attention to the damage they are causing to their relationships with users.

You see, wireless carriers need to build solid, long-term relationships with users. Instead, I fear their exaggeration around 5G will be costly to them because they may ultimately lose user trust.

Wireless carriers are indeed early adopters. That’s the good news.

5G speed is not everywhere yet, however, and this is not what their customers are expecting.

Not yet anyway.

Calling your wireless service 5G, yet only offering speeds that are 4G or a little better will not serve carriers well in the long run.

And this is the dangerous game carriers are playing.

5G wireless rollout will take years

You see, wireless carriers are afraid of being left behind their competition. So, they are all rushing to roll out 5G as fast as they can. And they are talking it up.

This is great, but this kind of rollout takes years. It’s never overnight.

The areas where 5G is available today are much larger than a year ago, but it will be much better next year and even better the year after.

So, 5G is growing, but it takes time.

Every carrier wants to be a leader in 5G wireless

That’s the way the wireless world has always worked. Over time, it has wound up all tied up in marketing, advertising and public relations.

That’s why they all seem to follow the same path. They all claim they offer 5G. And that’s true, to a point. They do all offer 5G.

Just not everywhere yet. That will take several years to achieve.

This is the same battle the industry fought with 2G to 3G to 4G and now to 5G.

Marketing works at first until you lose customer trust

In the short run, this kind of marketing works. Customers will believe something that is only partly true.

In the long run, however, customers will eventually figure out that they have been played. And when that happens, they will get very angry.

They will lose trust in their wireless carrier. And that will be a shame. Carriers spent decades building relationships and trust with their customers, but they could lose that trust in the blink of an eye if they are not careful.

Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T should be honest with users about 5G

I like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility. I want them to succeed. I don’t want then to hurt themselves.

What they should be doing is focusing on what they are doing today, and what their users are experiencing today.

Be honest with the marketplace.

In marketing, advertising and PR, tell your users where you actually are with 5G deployment. Where the entire wireless industry is.

Tell the users that sometimes they will get 5G speed and low latency, but also be honest and tell users that most of them will not yet see the 5G speeds they are expecting.

Not yet anyway. It will take time. It will take years.

Include the customer in the rollout discussion of 5G wireless

Include the customer in your rollout plan. Keep them up-to-speed on your progress.

Today, I have not found any carrier being better than any other carrier in every location. Some carriers are stronger and faster in one location, and other carriers are stronger and faster in another location.

That’s just the way it is, no matter how much they huff and puff and make claims trying to beat the competition.

And that’s OK.

Pulling wool over user eyes will only work only till they catch on

So, going forward, I hope all the wireless carriers will be honest with users and not try to pull one over on them. Don’t break their trust.

Be honest, and you and your company will continue to build and grow over time.

5G wireless will be everywhere at some point over the next few years. Just not today. Not yet.

That’s why I plead with wireless carriers to shoot straight with their users. It’s the best course to take for your long-term benefit.


Jeff Kagan is an Equities News columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Technology Analyst and Commentator who follows Telecom, Pay TV, Cloud, AI, IoT, TeleHealth, Healthcare, Automotive, Self-Driving cars and more. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-kagan/.


Equities News Columnist: Jeff Kagan

Source: Equities News

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