5G networks slowly being built out


Verizon rolled out 5G network service to four cities in October 2018, which I noted last March when I wrote, “Given that 5G is far from ubiquitous, it will be a few years before everyone everywhere is hurtling down the cyberspace fast lane.”

Still true! That being said, definite progress has been made in rolling out 5G to populated areas. Verizon in late September began offering 5G in parts of New York City, Panama City, and Boise, “bringing the total number of Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service cities to 13.” The telecommunications giant said its goal is to offer 5G access in more than 30 cities by the end of 2019.

Verizon isn’t the only carrier rolling out 5G networks. As Sascha Segan notes on PCmag.com, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile also are offering 5G in select cities across the U.S. On a map Segan includes with his article, I counted 32 locations where at least one of the four carriers are providing 5G. In ten locations, 5G is available from at least two carriers; residents of New York and Atlanta are getting 5G service from all four carriers.

Alas, progress comes in fits and starts. Segan writes:

Aside from Verizon, all’s been quiet in terms of 5G launches from the other three carriers. AT&T continues not to offer its service to consumers, focusing on businesses and developers. T-Mobile is stuck with the six cities it launched in June. Sprint is up to nine, and has the best in-city coverage of any of the carriers thanks to its use of mid-band spectrum, but the mystery over the Sprint/T-Mobile merger continues to cloud the future there.

Bottom line: 5G is coming — slowly, but it’s coming. And whenever 5G does become ubiquitous, enterprises need to be ready because 5G will enable exponentially faster data transmission speeds (which are absolutely essential to handle traffic from connected devices and multimedia files), higher device capacity, and increased productivity. In addition, 5G networks will enable organizations to collect and analyze data in real-time or near real-time. Or they could just let their competitors enjoy these benefits.

Enterprise decision-makers should stay in contact with their carriers and device makers about their 5G plans. They also should assess their existing wired infrastructure to determine its readiness for 5G and conduct a cost analysis to determine the impact 5G might have on the organization’s mobile network. Don’t let the slow rollout of 5G cause you to fall asleep at the wheel.

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