YOU ARE AT:5GKagan: When will 5G actually change our lives?

Kagan: When will 5G actually change our lives?

We have such high expectations on how 5G will change our lives. This fire is being stoked by marketing and advertising from so many companies in the wireless space. Let’s dive into the world of 5G and take a closer look at where we are today, what we can expect going forward and when.

So, let me ask you this important question: has 5G changed your life yet?

First, I do believe 5G will change our lives, just not as quickly as we have been led to believe. Every wireless competitor is in a battle for market share. They all seek recognition and want to be considered a leader. This has created a very high noise level that keeps investors, customers, workers and even executives confused.

Why 5G wireless doesn’t live up to user expectations today, yet

I asked a question at a meeting of wireless industry marketing professionals. Does 5G live up to user expectations created by the all the wireless marketing and advertising from all the competitors in the industry? Another question was, when will this marketing magic that has us in its spell finally become reality?

Marketing people don’t see the world from the same prism as the rest of us. They always think about being on top and always think about what’s coming tomorrow. That’s why even though schools just let out for summer, Target, Walmart and all the retailers are already starting their back-to-school promotions.

However, these are important questions for every wireless user, whether that be a consumer or business customer, plus every employee, executive and investor.

Wireless analyst has watched the industry change over 35 years

As a wireless analyst over the last 35 years, I have watched the wireless industry transform time and time again. It has grown from analog to digital, from 2G to 3G to 4G and now to 5G.

Each level has sped up and changed the wireless industry. This is happening once again with 5G.

However, 5G will impact more than just wireless. It will transform the way we do everything, with every company in every industry.

It has been an exciting journey so far, but 5G represents a much larger growth opportunity for all players.

5G creating new age of health tech, connected cars and so much more

Remember, there are two parts to the 5G puzzle.

·      One, speeds will be faster, and latency will be more immediate.

·      Two, it will usher in many new technologies like health tech, telehealth, connected cars, self-driving vehicles and so much more from other industries.

The first part will be with us much sooner, but that’s only speed.

The second part will change our lives but that means transforming other industries. This is a process which has already begun in recent years. It will take more time to develop and ultimately transform every product, every service in every industry.

The 5G wireless disconnect: What’s real today vs. what’s still coming

While this is an enormous growth opportunity for companies in the wireless industry, the problem is we expect this change now because we have fallen under the spell of wireless marketing.

This is the disconnect. And users don’t like the disconnect when they finally get tuned in.

User expectations with 5G are out of sync with reality today because of all the marketing and advertising from wireless players.

Users are expecting their wireless experience go through a mysterious 5G transformation immediately.

While this will happen, it will take time to unfold over years. It always has.

Overwhelming 5G marketing confuses user expectations

5G is real and what you see and hear will become part of our lives going forward. It will just take time and investment.

We need three things to get benefits of 5G.

·      One, we need to be in the 5G part of a network.

·      Two, we need to have a new 5G device.

·      Three, we need newer technology from other industries.

5G is not only faster network speeds, but immediacy. That will allow the digital transformation of other industries like healthcare, automotive, and much more to become a reality.

That is the part of 5G that will change the world in industry after industry. But that’s also the part that will take time.

We are installing 5G, but that is just laying the groundwork for the building we will construct going forward.

Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US, AT&T Mobility 5G growth opportunities

This is a huge growth opportunity for every wireless company in the 5G space.

·      That means carriers like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US, AT&T Mobility in the United States and countless wireless carriers worldwide.

·      It also means smartphone makers like Apple, Google, Samsung, and more, worldwide.

·      It also means companies who build the 5G networks like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Intel and others worldwide.  

These are powerful, real and enormous, long-term growth opportunities, but they will also take time.

The disconnect is between what we know is coming and when it will ultimately arrive.

Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Oracle, Huawei create 5G wireless

Something else that is interesting to ponder: as 5G is being installed, 4G is getting better and faster as well. Think about how your 4G connections are faster today than last year. Wireless continues to build on itself getting faster year after year.

Wireless network builders make this possible. Companies like Qualcomm, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Oracle and so on.

Today, we are in the early stages of the 5G revolution which will span over the next decade and beyond with 6G and more.

The wireless industry is in a continual state of advancement.

5G icon on smartphone screen is not real, only marketing

Remember, 5G life-changing features are still coming. They will just take time.

In the meantime, we must be careful not to rub users the wrong way.

Users see 5G on the top of their smartphone screen and think they are connected. However, in most cases they are not. The 5G icon is always on. It’s just a marketing message for most users today.

When marketing messages stretch reality too far, it can lose value after customers discover the truth. And they always discover the truth, eventually.

The point is users don’t really care about the name 5G. Industry players are all wrapped up in the term. Users just want the speed and the features it brings to their life.

Speed test your 5G with apps like Ookla Speedtest

If you want to really learn the speed you are getting, use one of the many speed testing apps like Speedtest by Ookla. There are many similar apps.  

Just remember, the speed you see is only for that single session at that location. Once you move, you are in another cell site and that may not be updated to 5G yet.

So, 5G is real and it is being installed nationwide, and in fact worldwide. It will change our lives because of the technology that is being developed.

We are just not there yet.

If you are connected to 5G today, enjoy. Just don’t expect it to change your life. Not yet.

Verizon Business, AT&T Business, Xfinity Business 5G services

The change-our-lives stuff comes from apps and services still to be introduced.

An example is Uber and Lyft. They were made possible by 4G speeds. They will get better with 5G speeds and immediacy. There are also countless other apps made possible by 4G. Even more will be made possible with 5G.

Consider what will happen when healthcare, automotive, retail, and many other vertical industries are all connected and interactive.

These are just a few of the amazing, life impacting technologies that we will be using in coming years. These are being developed today.

Plus, every other company in every other industry over the next several years will also transform themselves with 5G.

Investors watch 5G using growth wave theory

I often discuss the growth wave theory. Wireless and 5G are on the growth wave.

As each growth wave is introduced, it is on the rising side. Over time it ultimately comes down the falling side. Companies and investors need to be prepared and have the next growth wave started.

There are many companies we have seen ride this growth wave. Some successfully, others, not so much.

Example, Apple, Google, Samsung and others are still on the rising side of their growth wave.

On the other hand, companies like Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry and so many others, who were once leaders, are now on the falling side of the growth wave.

5G will change our lives over time, just not today

So, the answer to the proverbial question is yes. Yes, 5G will change our lives, but it will take time. So, it’s important to keep our expectations based in reality. Let the industry take it’s course and unfold over time as it always has.

At this time, 5G and wireless is an enormous growth opportunity for every investor and every company in every industry. Just be aware of companies on the growing side and the falling side of the growth wave.


Jeff Kagan
Jeff Kagan
Jeff is a RCR Wireless News Columnist, Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer. He shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for 35 years. Jeff follows wireless, wire line telecom, Internet, Pay-TV, cable TV, AI, IoT, Digital Healthcare, Cloud, Mobile Pay, Smart cities, Smart Homes and more.

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