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5G

Watch Out for 5G Pretenders

There's one striking thing about the Verizon's CEO statement that the operator's initial 5G service will offer maximum download speeds of a gigabit a second over the air. This is exactly the same maximum download speed initially called for in the original 4G specification!

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Lowell McAdams said Wednesday that the operator will start initial 5G deployments in select US cities in 2017. He also said that maximum download speeds will be 1 Gbit/s. (See Verizon CEO: US Commercial 5G Starts in 2017.)

Let's leave aside for the moment that the 2017 deadline doesn't appear to be very realistic. The technology specifications that underpin 5G are still being hashed out by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and other industry bodies.

Instead let's focus on the question of whether we are going to let operators market whatever sort of decently fast wireless broadband technology they feel like as "5G."

Lest we forget, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) originally defined 4G as a wireless specification that should deliver 1 Gbit/s when the user is stationary, and 100 Mbit/s when a person is on the move. The body backed away from that and acquiesced to market pressure when carriers started to sell upgraded 3G networks as "4G." (See ITU Backtracks on '4G' Definition.)

At the time, I coined the term "fauxG" to describe this weaselly marketing tactic. (See The Battle of FauxG.)

Well, a few short years later, and here we are again!

McAdam's promise of a gigabit download for 5G is nowhere close to the ITU's requirements for 5G, which were set out this summer. The body is expecting "IMT-2020" (5G) networks to offer download speeds of 20 Gbit/s. (See ITU Unveils Its 5G Roadmap.)

What McAdam appears to be promising for Verizon's initial "5G" networks is a back-to-the-future style offering that tracks the original maximum download speeds that should been offered over 4G networks! (Accepting -- of course -- that wireless is a shared medium and you're unlikely to get maximum speeds on a crowded network.)

So what do you think? Can we come up with a snappy name for the early 5G pretenders that are bound to arrive as the technology gets closer?

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DanJones 12/14/2015 | 9:25:43 AM
Re: 5G pretenders Probably so!
danielcawrey 12/11/2015 | 9:29:10 PM
Re: 5G pretenders Might as well call what they are claiming 6G. Becuase its going to take one more generation to get to the speed and capabilities these guys are talking about. There's simply no way this is going to be feasible. There has to be infrastructure to support this kind of capability. 
DanJones 12/11/2015 | 4:21:17 PM
We're talking about this on Twitter too!
DanJones 12/10/2015 | 1:36:42 PM
Re: Verizon peddling 4.5G as 5G "Again, Verizon's marketing of LTE-A Pro as 5G will only work when the US reporters traveling to Pyeongchang in January of 2018 get to taste what the real 5G is like on loaned out Galaxy 5G phones. But other telcos are not this shameless and are marketing LTE-A Pro as 4.5G, not 5G." Wait now! Didn't I just point out that what Verizon is calling 5G won't be 5G? No need to wait for 2018 to know that! :-)
TV Monitor 12/10/2015 | 1:08:38 PM
Re: Verizon peddling 4.5G as 5G Dan Jones

What Huawei will demonstrate at Russia World Cup in 2018 is TD-LTE+, which uses a 200 Mhz wide channel plus Massive MIMO, 256QAM and a whole bunch of other optimization techniques to extract 10 Gbits/s peak speed. The only problem is that this isn't globally harmonized and will likely remian a China and Softbank(Includes Sprint) Only technology, since a 200 Mhz wide band in LTE spectrum is generally unavailable in most countries but China and Japan. Sprint will to a 120 Mhz wide subset of TD-LTE+ in the US. And China is fine with that, since the biggest phone market in the world is China and driving foreign companies out of China plus taking 35% of Japan nets them a 30% of global phone and telecom equipment market share.

Again, Verizon's marketing of LTE-A Pro as 5G will only work until the US reporters traveling to Pyeongchang in January of 2018 get to taste what the real 5G is like on loaned out Galaxy 5G phones. But other telcos are not this shameless and are marketing LTE-A Pro as 4.5G, not 5G.
DanJones 12/10/2015 | 1:00:12 PM
Re: 5G pretenders FauxG 2.0?
Bappy 12/10/2015 | 12:42:55 PM
5G in 2017 Why not ? 1G downlink is not the ONLY requiremnt for 5G. There are other technologies  IOT, Mmwave which can be implemented sooner. It is just PR spin :-)
DanJones 12/10/2015 | 12:42:12 PM
Re: Verizon peddling 4.5G as 5G 4.5G is an option I guess. Isn't that what Huawei it's calling their 2018 path to 5G work too?
TV Monitor 12/10/2015 | 11:18:31 AM
Verizon peddling 4.5G as 5G The ITU WRC-15 defined 5G as a mobile internet service that operates within the frequency of 24 ~ 86 Ghz and the peak speed of 20 gigabits/s. The specific 5G spectrums are 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-40.5 GHz, 42.5-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-50.2 GHz, 50.4-52.6 GHz, 66-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz. Anything operating out of these bands aren't globally harmonized and ITU regconized 5G.

Japanese government is in panic right now because the Japanese candidate 5G technology proposed for demonstration at the Tokyo Olympics operates in the C band, and cannot be called 5G anymore. Think about it, the Docomo 5G and Chinese TD-LTE+ are far more advanced than the advanced form of LTE-A that Verizon's peddling as 5G, yet they are no longer classified as true 5G.

Verizon's claim will be difficult to hold after 2018, after when the visiting world press experiences the true 5G technology demonstrated on specially prepared Galaxy phones at Pyeongchang 2018 and write home about how they were able to upstream real-time 4K videos shot at the Olympic event back to their offices.
mendyk 12/10/2015 | 11:11:47 AM
Re: 5G pretenders Labels exist to be co-opted. "Conservative" is a case in point. But really, Dan, nobody is going to top FauxG.
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