The U.S. has been investing heavily in 5G technology for a decade, with the first deployments coming a few years ago. But it has been very slow going. Part of the problem is getting companies to design phones that are compatible with 5G technology. But there are also technical issues. For example, the new 4G LTE service can support a lot of devices at once, but 5G networks can only handle a handful of devices per cell.

The U.S. is rolling out the 5G network, but the process is so slow that the nation’s biggest carriers are feeling the heat, which is good news for AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ). But other carriers are struggling, and the big question is why.

The United States is planning to launch the country’s first 5G network in a few years. This upgrade to our cellular networks will be a huge boon to people living in rural areas and it will be a tremendous boon to expansion of services such as high-speed Internet and better cell-phone usage. However, the rollout of this 5G network is going to be a multi-year process, which means that most people will not see this new service for quite some time.

The word fast, or one of its variants, is often used to describe the speeds that 5G promises.

The same cannot be said for the rollout of 5G networks in the United States.

The promise of fifth-generation wireless networks has been attracting attention for at least three years, but 5G, which justifies the hype, has yet to win over most Americans. All major U.S. wireless carriers claim to have 5G services available nationwide, but industry analysts say these services are little different from 4G LTE services. Market research firm Evercore ISI predicts that wireless services with significantly faster speeds than today will not be available to most Americans until later this year.

Overall, by the end of 21-23, two-thirds of the country’s population will be covered by 5G services, which will be significantly better than 4G, the Evercore analyst said.

James Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe says this timeline means the first phone company won’t be able to cover two-thirds of the country with significantly faster 5G speeds until 30 months after the first 5G-enabled phones launch in mid-2019, compared to about 18 months for 4G after the first 4G-enabled phones launched in the fall of 2010.

Operators are now targeting mid-band spectrum for 5G signals, which is considered the best place in terms of range and speed.


Giacomo Bagnara

Analysts, academics and former industry executives believe that the relatively slow adoption of 5G is due to a number of factors. Some of these problems are related to the network infrastructure: The available space in the part of the sky where the balance between high transmission rate and long range signal is achieved is limited. 5G also requires the deployment of new network equipment, which is sometimes a cumbersome process. In addition, most new equipment is not manufactured in the United States, which means it takes longer to get it than if you were to buy it domestically.

Industry observers also point to the lack of flagship programs that can drive demand and usage, as was the case with mobile video for 4G. And while telecom companies have recently begun investing billions of dollars in capital expenditures for 5G, they are unlikely to accelerate the build-out process until the future revenues associated with 5G are clear, notes

John Rose,

chief technology officer of Dell Technologies Inc. and former director of such companies as Huawei Technologies Co. and Nortel Networks Inc.

They’ve already been burned, Rose said, referring to the disappointing results of operators’ investments in 4G networks, which he said have mostly benefited technology companies that provide apps and other services on those networks. That’s why they’re very careful about this.

Spectral compression

5G signals are transmitted over three general categories of radio frequencies: Spectrum with low, medium and high bandwidth. The high-frequency spectrum, also known as millimeter waves, has the highest speeds and bandwidths, but the shortest range. The low band has a longer range, but not enough speed. The middle lane is considered the best position in terms of range and speed.

Verizon Communications Inc,

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US Inc. claims that their 5G networks now reach over 200 million people, which is enough to be considered a nationwide service. But this coverage is partially dependent on the low frequency spectrum, which limits speed.

Operators are now concentrating on the mid-band spectrum and have paid substantial sums for this part of the spectrum in the recent government auction. The problem for operators is that the mid-band wireless spectrum is already widely used by U.S. government agencies and other organizations, such as. B. For military communications, meteorological and other services. So far, only a relatively small part has been made available to telecommunications operators.

Access to the mid-band spectrum is complicated by disagreements between government agencies. Now the government is making up for lost time by selling mid-band spectrum licenses earlier this year for $81 billion, with another auction scheduled for this fall.

Stefan Pongratz,

an analyst at Dell’Oro Group, says that when telecom operators began preparing for 5G nearly a decade ago, the prevailing view was that 5G would primarily use millimeter wave spectrum, or the radio frequency band, which was in a largely unoccupied portion of the spectrum.

But 5G on millimeter waves requires the highest density of cell towers to be effective, he says. Adding density takes time. Only in recent years has US attention turned to mid-band spectrum to bring 5G to market faster, he said.

Where is the profit?

The lack of killer apps for 5G is another major obstacle to the adoption of the technology, according to the European Commission.

Brian Kelly,

associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

At the highest level, it is the most important factor in determining the pace of development, says Dr. Kelly, a former Motorola engineer who is also the principal investigator of the 5G network experiment site at a military base in Texas for the Department of Defense.

According to Dell Technologies’ CTO, telecom operators are unlikely to accelerate the construction process until the future revenues associated with 5G are clear.


Giacomo Bagnara

The three main advantages of 5G are that it offers faster speeds – 100 times faster than 4G, that it can support a very large number of simultaneous connections and that it enables significantly faster response times between machines, the expert explains.

Craig Moffett.

MoffettNathanson LLC, a media and telecommunications research firm.

There are no revenue models associated with these three elements yet, says Moffett. It’s not clear if consumers are willing to pay extra to download videos faster.

Share your ideas

Tell us about your experience with 5G so far. Join the discussion below.

According to Moffett, businesses are likely to be the very first users of 5G, as it allows them to seamlessly connect sensors and other IoT devices. Its rollout will likely take the form of private 5G networks, which can be thought of as next-generation Wi-Fi networks, with faster speeds and better security, as well as the ability to handle more connections.

But he says the question is whether telecom operators will build [private] 5G networks for use by businesses, or whether businesses will build them themselves. That’s important, he said, because if companies choose to roll out private 5G networks without operators, those operators could miss out on revenue that could enable larger investments in 5G infrastructure.

Equipment problems

At best, 5G is a fundamentally different network than 4G, particularly with the impact of transmitting data in higher frequency bands. This means installing different technologies and devices – not the easiest process.

Installing new equipment can involve finding a location, obtaining the necessary permits and, in some cases, digging roads to lay fiber optic cables that transport data to and from the mobile towers, Evercore’s Ratcliffe said.

5G is at best a fundamentally different network than 4G, which means that different technology and equipment must be installed.


Giacomo Bagnara

Much of the physical work required to bring mobile networks up to 5G standards is not expected to be activated until 2022, reports

Edward Gazzola,

CEO of Atlanta-based engineering firm Bennett & Pless Inc. The coronavirus pandemic and technical obstacles contributed to the delay, he said, including a period when carriers waited for a clearer definition of technical standards before purchasing new equipment.

Affordability is also an issue in the appliance market. When 4G took hold in 2010, about a dozen technology providers offered wireless networking equipment, including Nortel in Canada and Motorola in the U.S., Dell’s Rose said. Today the global market for suppliers has five major players:


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ZTE and Huawei. Two are in China. One in Finland, one in Sweden and one in Korea, Rose said, adding that there are more legal barriers to purchasing telecom equipment abroad.

New players are entering the market after the US government effectively banned market leader Huawei from selling its devices in the US on national security grounds and pressured countries around the world to do the same. For now, however, the device market is dominated by the Big Five.

Ericsson is emerging as a leading alternative to Huawei, particularly with a new type of 5G equipment known as MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) or Massive MIMO. But these transmitters, which facilitate the delivery of 5G to existing transmission towers, require computer chips, and the semiconductor industry has been tight on cash lately.

The blazing speeds of 5G are there, but they’re not as useful on the new 5G smartphones. Joanna Stern of the WSJ set up a house on wheels to see if that connection could power all her networked devices, including laptops, printers, Xboxes and doorbells with cameras. Along the way, she explains the confusing world of 5G. Illustration photo: Sharon Shea (video of 8/17/20)

Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Tip is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York. You can reach him at [email protected]. Drew Fitzgerald, a reporter in Washington, D.C., contributed to this article.

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8While it’s true that 5G has only been available in a few markets in the US, the reason it eventually came to the US was due to FCC rules that require 5G networks to be built after a certain number of people have had the opportunity to use it. This means there’s some level of delay, as FCC requirements require that 5G phones need to be used in their first year of being available, and then the FCC will incorporate the information gathered along the way so that the network can be built. It also means that if you want 5G connectivity, you’re going to have to wait a few years.. Read more about why is 5g so slow t-mobile and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is US 5G so slow?

The US 5G network is still in its infancy. There are many factors that contribute to the slow speeds, including the fact that the US is still a developing country, and that the US is not a densely populated country.

How long will 5G take to roll out?

It is difficult to predict when 5G will be available, but it is expected that it will be available in 2020.

Why is 5G taking so long?

5G is a new technology that is still being developed. It is hard to predict exactly when it will be available.

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