When Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg delivered his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening, his speech was shaded with prophecy. 5G will change everything, he said. 5G will even power the fourth industrial revolution.
Vestberg was hardly alone in his predictions for the gains the emerging high-speed wireless technology will deliver. At this week’s CES, the annual consumer electronics fest has seen many executives and analysts making bold proclamations about 5G’s capabilities.
Look beyond the platitudes, however, and you could detect a more sober, subtle prediction from Verizon’s keynote address: Wait a year, and then we’ll see real 5G.
Telecom analysts and those within the industry say “real” 5G—that is, a network of antennas that can transmit a high-speed data signal to handsets and devices designed to receive them—won’t become a reality for at least a year. While the next-generation cellular standard holds the promise of blazing-fast speeds for consumers and businesses alike, early real-world demonstrations of 5G’s capabilities have been rare.
In some cases, those demonstrations have been misleading. As each wireless carrier boasts about how it’s going to be the first to offer a 5G network, some are developing those networks using technology that sidesteps the agreed-upon standards.
Given all the confusion, the best approach might just be to ignore the 5G hype entirely. At least, for now.
Heaven Can Wait
Verizon’s presentation at CES included marquee speakers and newsworthy demos. Mark Thompson, CEO
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