There was definitely a lot of preliminary buzz surrounding the release of mmWave 5G—short for millimeter-wave 5G—as the newest, fastest way to connect on the go. But you don’t have to look very far at the headlines on a search results page to know that the premiere of mmWave 5G didn’t live up to its lofty expectations.
And even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had something to say about it:
But it’s more than just the headlines that are getting in the way of mmWave 5G’s progress. Running at the top end of the 5G spectrum, mmWave refers to short, millimeter wavelengths with high frequencies somewhere between 28 and 100 gigahertz (GHz). While most 5G frequencies usually sit somewhere below 6GHz, this new level of 5G was supposed to carry more data, higher bandwidth, and faster network speeds.
What was getting in the way? What caused these obstacles? It wasn’t naysayers and headlines. As it turns out, the obstacles were clear and pretty measly: Physical structures. mmWave signals are much more susceptible to losses when passing through simple obstacles like trees or buildings, resulting in the transmission of just a few hundred megabits per second, unless users were in direct sightline of a mmWave cell tower.
It’s a disappointing outcome for a technology that was promised to be bright, shiny, and the “wave” of the future.
The Failed Rollout of mmWave 5G
To be frank, the introduction of mmWave 5G was disastrous. Light Reading reported that Verizon customers connected to a mmWAve 5G network 0.7 percent of the time. And T-Mobile’s performance was somehow even worse, with users connecting to mmWave only 0.2 percent of the time.
That’s a lot of talk and a lot of money invested in a pretty paltry performance.
Even so, Verizon was among the carriers pushing Google and other phone manufacturers to offer phones equipped with mmWave 5G capabilities that were sometimes $100 more expensive than similar models. It all feels like a great deal of hype for 0.7 percent connectivity.
What All This Means for You
All the initial buzz around mmWave seems to be on the back burner these days, thanks to limited coverage areas and slow performance everywhere else. Even carriers who were initially outspoken about the merits of mmWave seem to be quietly backing away.
The Verge recently shared an article outlining one of the key factors proving that mmWave 5G is no more than a passing trend that’s on its way out. The major indicator? Apple just announced its 2022 smartphone: The iPhone SE. This is the first new 5G phone made for the US that does not come with millimeter-wave 5G capabilities.
Phone carriers like Verizon and AT&T who have previously insisted on mmWave 5G-equipped models from Apple don’t seem to be fighting this either. Rather than demand a mmWave 5G edition of the phone, Verizon and AT&T will sell Apple’s mmWave-less phone in stores.
It’s worth taking a look at what The Verge has to say about mmWave 5G. The author talks firsthand about being present at the debut:
“When I rejoined The Verge in 2018, my first big assignment looked like an absolute peach — fly to the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Maui, sip cool drinks on the sand… and become one of the first journalists to experience blazing 5G speeds at a Qualcomm event. Instead, I found myself exposing a lie.”
You can read more about mmWave and one expert’s firsthand account of the issues here.
The main takeaway for consumers? Don’t be fooled by all of the hype surrounding 5G millimeter-wave spectrum technology.
In reality, mmWave 5G is only available in small pockets and doesn’t make sense for most users. The more expensive phones that support millimeter-wave spectrum technology may not be worth it, especially if you are cost-conscious or adhering to a strict budget for your organization. Mid-band spectrum has been widely deployed, and 5G phones that support these frequencies can still deliver significant speed improvements over 4G—all at a lower cost.
To discover more about what this might mean for your business and stay in the know about which upcoming technology trends to embrace and which ones aren’t worthy of your investments, let’s connect. Street Cred Capital is here to help you grow your business. We’ll leverage our experience and our know-how to help you optimize your assets and help you build the funds you need to obtain the buying power you want to have.
We’ll help you make the most of your resources. Reach out to our team at Street Cred Capital today.