By Art King, Corning Incorporated
We’ve all been mulling the meaning of 5G and the move to it. While gathering my thoughts about the what, when, why, and how of 5G in the indoor market, I was trying to put my finger on what smelled different about 5G compared to the more obvious transition movement from 3G to LTE. At the same time, I read a fantastic post by Ed Gubbins, principal analyst at GlobalData, titled We’re Not Entering the 5G Era; This Is the Age of 4G/5G. In this post, Ed aptly describes the landscape we see emerging in front of us.
Two excerpts speak to the situation very clearly (emphasis added by author):
“In fact, as 5G hype pervades the public consciousness, it may be useful in sparking discussions between enterprises and operators (or RAN vendors) that lead to LTE investments, because in many cases, the operator will tell the enterprise that what they want from 5G can be accomplished with LTE, only sooner (and perhaps cheaper).”
“Going forward, operators are likely to talk less and less about 4G as they try to stir public demand for 5G. But 4G will remain a silent, steady workhorse, enabling the industry to achieve many of its 5G ambitions.”
So, why is this important? In talking with a number of pretty smart people in the industry, it looks like many real estate decision makers are waiting for 5G infrastructure availability before investing in major cellular service improvements. While that wait occurs, exasperated tenants in poorly served buildings may depart, and potential tenants may say “No bars, no thank you.”
The wait for 5G could be long due to a number of factors: