5G Explainer: There Will Be Five 'Flavors' [telecom]

By Mark Lowenstein

If you're in the telecom/wireless space, you've no doubt been asked by tech industry colleagues, or even by curious friends and family, about

5G: What is it, how will it be different than 4G, and when and where will it be available? It's awfully difficult to give a clear and succinct answer. As evidence, I present AT&T's August 6 press release announcing the availability of 5G in New York City: it serves a very limited area (which AT&T did not specify), and is only available to select enterprise customers. And, in the same announcement, AT&T said that "5G will be launched broadly over sub-6GHz in the coming months, with plans to offer nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020". Huh?

So, dear Techpinions reader, I offer you the tech equivalent of a 'summer beach read' - the easiest way to understand, and then explain, what 5G will look like over the next couple of years. You can thank me now for laying it out in a way that eliminates the need to use the following terms: 5G SA/NSA, mmWave, sub-6, mid-band, 5G TF,

3GPP-based. This is also meant to help you ignore, and/or override, operators' particular branding of their own version(s) of 5G, and (often obfuscating) marketing terms that they might use.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

Every "flavor" of 5G leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so I propose "Horne's Corollary to the Negroponte Switch" -

"Every part of the telecommunications network that is maintained by union technicians will be converted to a black box which can be swapped out by a low-wage non-union menial."

Bill Horne Moderator Moderator's Note Copyright (C) 2019 E.W. Horne. All Rights Reserved.

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Monty Solomon
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