Last week, Verizon Wireless shook headlines as the company claimed that they would begin conducting field tests using 5G technology next year. Verizon’s chief information and technology architect even stated that they expect “some level of commercial deployment” to occur by 2017. Earlier projections were slated for 2020 at the earliest. Yet trials by 2016 would position Verizon as the world’s first carrier to make substantial strides towards fifth-generation technology. While we can’t be sure just how large the scope of influence 5G will have, many reflect on how 4G LTE services ushered a new wave of mobile devices, tablets, and consumer goods. Verizon suggests that 5G connectivity will be 30 to 50 times faster than our current 4G LTE services.
Unfortunately, AT&T isn’t biting. Although Verizon turned up the heat by announcing 5G plans, AT&T believes this claim is drastically premature. According to Glenn Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility, “We’re not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is. We as an industry have been really good at overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to new technology.” At this time, 5G technology remains in beta stage; no one can agree on what 5G actually entails. Lurie wants to be sure that before wireless companies begin making bold claims, the industry holds a solid consensus.
Verizon countered AT&T’s argument by presenting its strong network connections and facilities. While most heavyweight wireless carriers are dabbling in 5G technologies, Lurie asks the industry to first come together and figure out a standard for the technology. History distinctly recalls Verizon as the first to bat with 4G technology in 2008. Although AT&T initially downplayed the immediate benefits of 4G connectivity, the eventual adoption of 4G LTE by both Verizon and AT&T significantly changed the landscape of the wireless community.
For now, the hope is that 5G will bring speeds higher than Google Fiber optics to wireless devices. A full-length movie should be able to download in 15 seconds instead of the 6 minutes it currently takes on 4G. Now that’s fast!