Half Of Smartphone Users Incorrectly Think They Already Have 5G

from the don't-believe-the-hype dept

With smartphone sales plateauing the last few years, handset vendors and wireless carriers have worked overtime trying to make 5G seem like it’s something utterly revolutionary in the hopes of driving more phone upgrades. The problem: U.S. 5G is more evolutionary than revolutionary. And researchers who’ve been running U.S. 5G networks through their paces have made it clear that U.S. 5G is much slower than most overseas 5G networks (largely due to a lack of fiber, regulatory incompetence, and not enough mid-band spectrum).

Despite all the dumb lobbyist hype about the need to win the “race to 5G,” we’re nowhere close to doing so. One recent OpenSignal study showed how the U.S. ranked last in a study comparing 5G speeds in a list of 13 developed nations:

Not only is U.S. 5G slower than a long list of countries, researchers from both PC Magazine and the Washington Post have found that U.S. 5G deployments are, in many locations, slower than 4G. More specifically, PC Magazine found that AT&T’s mobile 5G network was actually slower than the company’s 4G network in 21 out of 22 cities tested. That’s assuming 5G can be found at all, a tricky proposition given wireless carriers have been actively misrepresenting where 5G is available by using fake phone icons or simply, much like they did with 3G and 4G, lying about coverage without government penalty.

This reality is a far cry from carrier claims that 5G will create the smart cities of tomorrow, cure cancer, or otherwise completely revolutionize communications. Meanwhile, surveys suggest that convincing consumers they need to upgrade to 5G right now will be an uphill climb. One survey this week found that nearly 50% of smartphone owners think they already have 5G. The general consensus among consumers so far is one of confusion, probably not helped by AT&T’s longstanding decision to pretend 4G is 5G:

“Nearly half (49%) of U.S. consumers (across all major carriers) believe their current iPhone is capable of accessing 5G, despite the fact that the first Apple 5G phone is not yet available ? according to a recently released Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) survey of 5,000 U.S. smartphone users. More broadly, 29% of all consumers with smartphones are unsure if their current device is 5G capable, while 38% of consumers do not know if their wireless carrier provides 5G coverage where they live.”

Yes, 5G will provide faster, lower latency, more reliable networks over the next decade. And speeds will improve when (if?) the U.S. drives more mid-band spectrum for public use, addresses (or even acknowledges) regulatory capture, and we more broadly deploy fiber (needed for 5G tower backhaul) to the parts of the nation carriers have spent years trying to ignore. But most studies show that U.S. consumers are far more interested in a lower bill than they are 5G. And with the industry rushing toward Canadian style consolidation and less competition, that’s likely going to be the last thing on the menu.

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Companies: at&t, verizon

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Comments on “Half Of Smartphone Users Incorrectly Think They Already Have 5G”

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26 Comments
Davidsays:

Tough choice.

5G networks may cure cancer, but the cooccurence with COVID-19 suggests that it spreads Coronavirus infections.

Fortunately you don’t need to rely on misleading phone icons to make a choice between voting against free radicals and injecting disinfectant: my proven tinfoil head technology helps against either and as a bonus is prepared to dispel warts.

Bensays:

As I’ve interacted with my customers, I’ve discovered that many of them believe they’ve had 5G service for a couple of years now. After all, they’ve been connecting to "Jones_Family_WiFi_5GHz" since I helped them set up the new home router.

I do my best to explain that the two technologies are different, but the looks I get from most people tell me I should have just nodded and gone about the rest of my day.

Darkness Of Coursesays:

Re: Re: Time to drop "Generation" marketing?

My wife retired from the electronic instrument manufacturing business (finally). When 5G was being spread about I asked her re is it better?

No! It’s just a rebranding of 4G variants. And a bad one. There is no long distance connects, everything has to be within some short distance (1000ft?). So cell sites everywhere (there goes the cancer fighting benefits). And everyone has to fall back to 4G anyway since they will rarely get 5G connections that are adequate for today’s users.

Her additional comment: 5G might have been an adequate upgrade for consumers that were on 3G or earlier. Which is nobody today.

Davidsays:

Re: Re: Re: Time to drop "Generation" marketing?

So cell sites everywhere (there goes the cancer fighting benefits).

By far the largest power a cellphone owner is regularly subjected to is emanating from his own phone. And this power will be larger when the next network tower is at a larger distance.

That makes even double blind studies (about sleep patterns etc) with randomly deactived cellphone towers misleading. The test persons may not know whether the cellphone tower next to them is on or off. But their cellphones certainly do.

Ehud Gavronsays:

5G icon

Imagine if Tesla’s new Model 3 — that has a 360 mile range — had its odometer modified to show smaller miles. That would make its EV go 400-450 miles without greatly affecting much other than depreciation. (There are no 6,000 mile oil changes ­čśë

Would anyone stand for it? Would the FTC allow it? It seems to me to clearly qualify under 18 USC ?1341 (fraud).

Yet here we have AT&T convincing Apple to add the icon without providing 5G, Verizon offering a "blended 5G" where you get a 5G indicator but the connection is all 4G or 3G.

Now we have half the people believing this shit, so obviously "consumer confusion" is now a thing.

Where are the FTC and the FCC and the "concerned" senators and the people entrusted to protect the Stupids?

E

PaulTsays:

Re:

No, but thanks for demonstrating how obsessed with team politics some people are that they have to inset it into discussions that have nothing to do with it.

This is why hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying unnecessarily at a rate far higher than anywhere else in the world affected by the pandemic – even basic science has to become a team game.

Davidsays:

Re: Re:

This is why hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying unnecessarily at a rate far higher than anywhere else in the world affected by the pandemic – even basic science has to become a team game.

Well, nobody said that being the leader in 5G technology would not come at a price. No other nation has what it takes to stream every funeral.

Ehud Gavronsays:

Re: Re: Re:

> Obviously only left wingers…
…sort of obvious that it’s mainly conservatives…

There’s nothing "obvious" linking political extremism to tech.
Nor is there anything "obvious" about pretending these are facts.

Obviously people who draw conclusions from political extremism to use of telephone tech know nothing about actually listening or reading the political opinion AND THEN basing their prejudicial label on that opinion.

In short, if I have a cellphone, don’t label me a "Liberawwwl". If I have a rotary phone (ad absurdum) don’t label me a "Conservateeeev". You know nothing about me and my choice of phone dial methodology is irrelevant.

E

Not THAT ACsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Rotary”. Joke perhaps – use of small ‘c’ perhaps indicating the “averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values” definition.

Let’s be really conservative and go right back to every call being voice only and operator connected. It would increase employment and the encryption argument would be moot. Who needs these new-fangled data comms anyway? (“Hello caller ?”)

Anonymoussays:

Halph of what?

My 1960’s FORD ‘Robot Secretary’ weighs 40 pounds, I once had ~3,000 flip phones, purse phones, et.al. (fashions change) under blue tarps in my back yard and a few hundred $4,000 Motorola bricks @ 6watts. I throw SIM chips away nowadays, the resulting cameras are nice & i tie my smartphone by a string to this desk, leave a fucking message. Was i smarter then than now?

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