September 24, 2015 — You can sometimes get an idea that someone is behind the curve when they take a bit of a negative approach to something everyone else is uber-hot on.
While 5G may not be well defined, or even defined at all yet, there is no doubt that it is real, it is coming and it will be a hugely disruptive platform, unlike the progression in “G” up till now. In fact, at the recent CITA show, 5G was the hottest item on the menu.
For example, Verizon has let the world know it is working with partners Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to test 5G in the company’s innovation centers in Waltham, Massachusetts, and San Francisco. They are targeting field trials to begin in 2016.
What is interesting about this is that this is the first time any U.S. operator has announced its intent to actually trial what is being referenced to as 5G technology. Verizon said that these 5G trials will run in “sandboxes” and will be conducted in the Verizon Innovation Centers as a way to foster collaboration and help develop compelling applications.
So it sounds to me like they are pretty comfortable in their 5G skin.
Also throwing their support to the next generation of wireless was Rhodes & Schwartz, which was big on 5G test solutions at CTIA. They previewed a variety of 5G test equipment, including ultra-wideband signal analysis hardware for 5G component and device development. And for millimeter wave component test, their ZVA Vector Network Analyzer covers the frequency ranges required for 5G. They also showed a wideband radio communication tester, for testing Massive Machine Type Communications – a key development area in 5G. And this only scratched the surface.
Where this brings me is to wonder why AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie would say “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 under-delivering when it comes to new technology.”
My guess is that AT&T missed the 5G mark and is behind in both technology and deployment plans, and is trying to throw some confusion into the 5G game. Maybe you, AT&T are very good at “overpromising and under-delivering when it comes to new technology – like the 40,000 small cells that never appeared, but I’m not so sure the rest of the industry is on that same page.
Ernest Worthman is the editor of AGL’s Small Cell magazine.