How 5G disappointed 'pretty much everybody' | Tech News

How 5G disappointed 'pretty much everybody'

5G was once again the central plank of the phone industry's annual get-together, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

| Updated on: Mar 02 2023, 08:09 IST
Samsung Galaxy A23 5G to Redmi Note 12 Pro, 5 all-rounder phones under 25000; check list
1/5 The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G is another one in the list with amazing features such as 6.6" Infinity-V Display, Snapdragon 695 Processor and Camera set up of 50MP OIS and 8MP Front Camera. This phone is available in two storage variants: 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM is priced at Rs. 22,999 and 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM is priced at Rs. 24,999 on Samsung’s official website, Flipkart and Amazon.  (Samsung)
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2/5 The Redmi Note 12 Pro is a latest addition in the Note 12 series, the smartphone comes with some big features in the budget segment. The smartphone comes with 6.67" 120Hz pro AMOLED Display and triple Camera set up. Redmi Note 12 Pro is available in three storage variants: 6GB + 128GB is priced at Rs. 24,999; 8GB + 128GB is priced at Rs. 26,999 and 8GB + 256GB at Rs. 27,999 on Redmi's official website, Flipkart and Amazon. (Ht Tech)
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3/5 Another phone in this all-rounder segment is Vivo T1 Pro 5G, which features Snapdragon 778G 5G Processor and triple camera setup. Vivo T1 Pro 5G is available in one storage variant: 6GB+128GB priced at Rs. 23,999 on Vivo’s official website and on Flipkart. (Ht Tech)
4/5 Another all-rounder smartphone is POCO X5 Pro 5G, the latest addition in the POCO segment that comes packed with a Snapdragon 778G processor and a 108 MP AI Triple camera with a 16MP selfie camera. POCO X5 Pro 5G is available in these storage variants: 6GB + 128GB is priced at Rs. 22,999 and 8GB+256GB is priced at Rs. 24,999 on Flipkart. (POCO)
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5/5 The realme 10 Pro +5G has some nifty all-round features. The smartphone comes with a 6.7 inches AMOLED curved bezel-less screen with 120Hz refresh rate. realme 10 Pro+ 5G is available in three storage variants: 6GB + 128GB is priced at Rs. 24,999, 8GB+128GB is priced at Rs. 25,999 and  8GB+256GB is priced at Rs. 27,999 on realme's official website and Flipkart. (realme )
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How 5G disappointed 'pretty much everybody' (Pixabay)

Driverless cars, fridges that talk to toasters, breathtaking immersive reality, mind-blowing gaming experiences -- 5G was going to enable it all, and telecom companies were going to make a packet.

But the reality is not so neat. The network that promised to be "not just another G" in Ericsson's advertising has left many customers wondering what they are paying for.

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However, 5G was once again the central plank of the phone industry's annual get-together, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

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The event's organisers proclaimed that 5G was "unlocking untapped value for all players across the entire ecosystem" and "redefining how the world connects".

The hype came with a dose of reality from Christel Heydemann, boss of French network Orange.

Network operators were in peril, she told the MWC, because "massive network investments of almost 600 billion euros in Europe in the last decade happened to be hard to monetise".

"And consumers expect to pay always less and get more," she added.

Networks are not the only ones who might be rueing their big bet.

Ericsson, which supplies the equipment for 5G networks, has just laid off 8,500 people after profits slumped.

"5G has disappointed pretty much everybody -- service providers and consumers, and it has failed to excite businesses," Dario Talmesio of research firm Omdia told AFP.

- The ghost of 4G -

Talmesio said 5G was never really a consumer proposition, it was always more appropriate for businesses and industrial uses.

But telecom firms were unlikely to be seduced into investing billions only to improve connectivity in factories and ports, or help develop hi-tech medical services.

Instead, they wrapped 5G in the kind of marketing that paints everything -- even small improvements -- as world-changing innovations.

Yet even now the benefits of 5G remain largely unclear to average smartphone users.

Thousands of US consumers told a survey last year that they were excited about the prospect of 5G, but when pressed they had little idea what the benefits would be.

Most listed services that were already available with 4G, the survey of 10,000 US consumers by Israeli software company ironSource found.

This summarises two of the main problems with 5G -- 4G is good enough for most people, and 5G jargon is often impenetrable.

Terms like "low latency", "network slicing", "zero rating" and "massive IoT" are unlikely to get the pulse racing.

- 'No limit' -

For large parts of the industry, though, criticism of 5G is inconceivable.

Ericsson vice president Fredrik Jejdling dismissed the idea that poor uptake of 5G was one of the reasons for Ericsson's mass layoffs.

Instead, he explained that the firm needed "to adjust our investment levels to the market demand".

Ericsson gave huge floorspace at the MWC to 5G innovations and insisted there would be no compromise on research and development.

"It is a platform for innovation. If you don't do it, you don't know what you miss out on," said Jejdling.

Frederique Liaigre, who runs Verizon's business operation in France and other European countries, shares Jejdling's enthusiasm saying there was "no limit" to 5G's potential.

Verizon was among the first to roll out 5G to customers in the United States, and Liaigre concedes the business side is just getting started.

But she regards her projects -- like providing a private 5G network to the port of Southampton in Britain to improve its security and supply chain management -- as every bit as sexy as driverless cars or talking toasters.

"It's really amazing the transformational capabilities of this technology," she said.

Whether regular consumers will ever be so starry-eyed about 5G is up for debate.

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First Published Date: 02 Mar, 08:09 IST