September 15, 2020

Washington Post Is Right That 5G Is a Lie, But Wrong About the Reason

Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile, admits that so far, 5G is “meaningless.”“We celebrated some 5G launches — T-Mobile didn’t, others did — but they’ve proven to be pretty meaningless,” Ray said. “If we’re honest with ourselves, 5G really hasn’t had any real impact in the U.S. materially to date.” His claim that T-Mobile didn’t celebrate 5G launches, however, is contrary to his company’s massive advertising campaign showing 5G radiation coming from cell towers, painted in splendid pink.

Ray’s statements are in response to recent media reports showing 5G fails to provide higher speeds and has no real benefit over 4G, despite hundreds of billions of dollars of investment and hundreds of thousands of more cell towers.

However, with the telecom industry, things are never what they seem. While the recent media attention should harm the telecom industry, it seems the industry could actually be behind these articles or, if they’re not, they are certainly using this news to their advantage. 

For example, T-Mobile used the interview to put pressure on federal regulators to be more aggressive in taking away municipal power and individual rights in objecting to or limiting the deployment of 5G “small cell” infrastructure. 

Ray blames municipalities for stalling 5G and for 5G’s lackluster performance and has been asking federal regulators to intervene. “We continue to need help on the regulatory front because it still takes us way too long and it’s still too much of a battle with many jurisdictions across the country who… fight us tooth and nail to prevent us from installing the infrastructure,” Ray said.

He’s right. The resistance to 5G is growing and more municipalities are looking for ways to protect the public despite telecom threatening lawsuits. But, municipalities are not to blame. 5G is to blame because it fails to provide any real advantage. According to Ray, with a continued pace of 2,500 additional antenna updates each month, maybe in three to four years we will see the promise of 5G. Bottom line? 5G still shows no added value despite 100,000 T-Mobile 5G antennas. According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a wireless industry lobby group, 800,000 cell towers are required for 5G in addition to the 300,000 installed already for 3G and 4G. The 5G cell tower infrastructure, as Ray stated, is being deployed at record speed. 

Even people within the telecom industry and top-tier media are starting to suspect that the 5G hype is nothing but a lie. In Losing the 5G ‘race’ might not matter, a telecom blogger writes that maybe the hype behind 5G was false after all and perhaps even “a scam perpetrated by an industry desperate for growth.” Even The Washington Post called 5G a “lie” and Wharton School Professor Kevin Werbach wrote “the race to 5G is a myth.”

Those who measure the value of 5G by speed are unlikely to find added value because 5G is not about making things faster. Reducing downloads speeds would not pay for an infrastructure that costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year. What will pay for it is data. 5G is about increasing bandwidth to transfer more data to support the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of physical objects — “things” — that are embedded with sensors, software and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. The IoT intends to wirelessly interconnect 50 billion more devices, and the data collected will be used primarily for artificial intelligence, surveillance and creating the next version of “humans” — beings that are part human and part machine.

Indeed, we have been told a lie. The promise of increased speed with 5G is a false hype that is meant to divert consumers’ attention away from our Orwellian reality. It keeps our eyes fixed on our phones and obsessed with buying even more wireless gadgets, which began as a sophisticated marketing strategy purposely called “smart” while instead making us dumb.

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