The core technologies for 5G wireless networks – millimetre-wave transmission and massive MIMO radio transmission – are coming to fruition faster than was anticipated just a few years ago.
So big has been the focus on 5G that the technology looks like being ready before the long established 2020 launch date.
The problem is the market may not be ready for 5G.
In his book entitled the ‘5G Myth’, wireless comms expert Professor William Webb, believes that rather than heralding a huge mobile advance, users will simply not value the higher data rates promised and will not need the higher capacity forecast.
He argues that the 5G vision is flawed because mobile operators are not profitable enough to afford it.
The effort the that is being put into developing the 60GHz radio transmission and 500MHz radio channel bandwidth, has not been matched by a similar effort explaining what 5G services will offer the mobile market.
So it is not surprising that financially-pressed mobile operators are not jumping at the opportunity to plan their investment for 5G networks.
For one, operators in Europe think there is too much EC-inspired downward pressure on prices, too many operators and too much regulation.
Mega-investment for 5G does not look all that attractive to them. Especially so as they are not yet sure what 5G will give the mobile business which is different and better than 4G.
Technologists may be getting to grips with “the how” of 5G, but they have done very little explaining “the why” to the market.