Slow roll out of 5G in the US

Jured Council for WSJ:

A combination of factors play into the relatively slow rollout of 5G, analysts, academics and former industry executives say. Some of the problems involve network infrastructure: The availability of space in the portion of the airwaves that strikes a balance between fast transmission speeds and long signal ranges is limited. 5G also requires deployment of new network equipment, a sometimes cumbersome process. And much of the new equipment isn’t manufactured in the U.S., meaning purchases can take longer than buying domestic.

This is a well-known “problem” – especially as the geographic expanse creates formidable barriers to get connectivity for “everyone”. As the “latest” entrant to mobile telephony, the carriers will aim to drum up consumers in dense urban pockets instead to recoup their investments and then address the long tail of users elsewhere. It requires significant investments in hardware upgrades too. The newer generation 5G chips are battery intensive and will require major upgades to software/manufacturing.

I wont address the ongoing geopolitical concerns and the disconnect between the standards versus requirements for the global south but the network equipment is a perfect example of rent seeking from the consumers. Faster downloads and remote “telesurgery”/telemedicine requires a re-think before millions of dollars are sunk. Existing 4G capacities are sufficient to address the ongoing demand for data and applications. Technological upgrades are desirable but not mandatory. Here’s something more from the linked write up:

Industry observers also cite the lack of killer apps to spur demand and drive adoption the way mobile video did for 4G. And while telecom companies have recently started allocating billions of dollars in capital expenditures for 5G, they likely won’t speed up build-out efforts until there’s clarity around future 5G-related revenues, says John Roese, chief technology officer at Dell Technologies Inc. and a former executive with companies including Huawei Technologies Co. and Nortel Networks Inc.

I think the hype around the telesurgery (for example) is akin to putting the cart before the horse. Lets see how the current deployment goes forward.