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Technology SoftBank’s Super-Fast 5G Network Isn’t Very Useful Yet

05:30  28 april  2020
05:30  28 april  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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SoftBank Corp.’ s fifth-generation wireless service in Japan is living up to the hype in at least one respect -- internet speeds that are blazingly fast even by the standards of one of the most connected countries in the world. The carrier’ s month-old 5 G network topped out at 1.1 gigabits per second for

Why 5 G Isn ' t Just Faster 4G. Simon RockmanFormer Contributor. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. In many cases latency isn ’ t that important. If you are watching a YouTube video it can buffer and take a time to start. If however you are having a Skype conversation where the

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Corp.’s fifth-generation wireless service in Japan is living up to the hype in at least one respect -- internet speeds that are blazingly fast even by the standards of one of the most connected countries in the world.

The carrier’s month-old 5G network topped out at 1.1 gigabits per second for downloads and about 30 megabits for uploads in tests carried out by Bloomberg News in Tokyo. Speeds of this kind, far surpassing typical wired broadband connections, have previously been possible only by pushing a fiber optic cable directly into a user’s home. But there are significant pieces still missing and preventing mass adoption: coverage is severely limited for now, there’s little in the way of appealing content to capitalize on all that extra bandwidth and mobile data plans have yet to be revised to account for the much-increased consumption that 5G portends.

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Sprint' s 5 G network has been live in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Kansas City for a little a while, but its footprint just got a little bigger today. Instead of dotting cities with mmWave nodes that provide super - fast speeds when you're within a very limited range, Sprint sought to flesh out wider

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SoftBank and local rivals KDDI Corp. and NTT Docomo Inc. all launched their 5G offerings late last month in a handful of metropolitan areas around the country, while newcomer Rakuten Inc. has targeted June for launch. The Japanese telcos and their counterparts in South Korea and China have pressed ahead with deployment of next-generation networks despite global coronavirus woes. But 5G services touting high speeds and low latency are still out of reach for the majority of people eager for bandwidth to stream movies and telework as they shelter at home.

Read more: Rakuten Unveils Mobile Network in Japan With Aggressive Pricing

The coverage in Japan is still so thin that the three major carriers have all resorted to posting addresses of the exact locations where early adopters can get 5G bars. In Bloomberg’s own limited test of SoftBank’s network, the best reception was inside its store in Tokyo’s posh shopping district of Ginza, and the signal quickly dropped off to nothing about a block away. While SoftBank plans to expand the service to larger pockets of Tokyo and other big cities later this year, the company doesn’t expect to reach 90% of the population until March 2022 at the latest

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Millimeter-wave 5 G is great for providing super - fast speeds, but its coverage is currently largely limited to certain city blocks. A T -Mobile spokesperson tells CNET that its Note 10 Plus 5 G will work on its 600MHz low-band spectrum as well as support midband 2.5GHz spectrum.

5 G networks promise super - fast speeds, and will usher in the next wave of technology. Each of the four nationwide cell phone carriers — AT& T , Sprint Customers with the hotspot can access 5 G in city centers, but not yet throughout each city in its entirety. That' s because AT& T ' s 5 G network currently

Part of the challenge is that 5G networks have to be more dense than their predecessors. Their signals typically use higher-frequency spectrum, starting with 3.6 gigahertz in Japan, which allows for faster communication speeds at the expense of reach. Building out a 5G network at such frequency necessitates more networking infrastructure to achieve coverage. That’s more of an issue for sprawling places like the U.S. than densely populated Japan, said Kirk Boodry, an analyst at Redex Holdings who writes for Smartkarma.

“The coverage is still going to be spotty for a while,” said Boodry. “And since all of the operators upgraded to 5G at the same time, there is no advantage. The primary selling point is just speed.”

Even when it can be had, it’s not yet clear what that much bandwidth is actually good for. The handful of augmented and virtual reality experiences that come preinstalled on SoftBank’s 5G phones work just as well with a basic Wi-Fi connection. They lean heavily on teenage idols, letting users view performances by pop bands like AKB48 from multiple angles or in 3-D. There’s also an app for streaming basketball games of the recently formed domestic professional league, though all the matches have been canceled because of the virus outbreak. SoftBank is also launching a cloud gaming service in collaboration with Nvidia Corp.

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Sub-6Ghz technology isn ' t nearly as fast , but it' s more stable and can travel longer distances. "Power and performance users will want the best of everything, and 5 G is the fastest and lowest latency connectivity," Moor Insights and Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said.

And you don' t need 5 G yet . If you hold on to your phone for a few years, you'll be ready to upgrade once 5 G has matured. Still, despite limited coverage, expect lots of marketing from carriers and phone makers about new 5 G networks , because they always want you to upgrade now instead of later.

The carrier, serving as the reliable revenue stream underpinning Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp., is offering its 5G service as an add-on to existing plans for 1,000 yen ($9) per month. Subscribers who sign up by Aug. 31 will get it for free for two years. But all usage is counted toward the customer’s data cap, which could mean burning through the 50GB monthly allowance in mere minutes.

The operators are counting on the faster speeds nudging users to pay more for bigger data plans, but history suggests otherwise. SoftBank’s average revenue per user, 4,440 yen in the most recent quarter, has grown less than 10% since the company introduced the iPhone 3G more than a decade ago. 5G isn’t likely to bring much revenue upside either, Boodry said.

“Carriers have basically been trading capacity for revenue,” he said. “Operators thought that with 3G they could offer a lot of services and charge more, but there wasn’t all that much price elasticity.”

In 1993, at the dawn of mobile telephony, AT&T Inc. aired a series of TV commercials titled “You Will” that imagined future services like video calls, movie streaming and in-car navigation. Network operators have long been able to foresee, but not capitalize on, the major trends made possible by their technology. They have invested billions to build the infrastructure that made it possible for companies like Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to reap the benefits, earning the moniker of “dumb pipes” in the process.

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Verizon' s Super Bowl LII demo involved streaming live 4K VR footage over 5 G to virtual reality headsets in NYC, while a collaboration between Intel We have revised it and bumped it as part of our #ThrowbackThursday initiative. How Fast is 5 G ? The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a

5 G is very fast , at least in the high frequency range of the technology (the low-frequency range is just 10–50 percent faster than 4G LTE). How fast is a 5 G network ? Update Cancel. akBCdfUsS ZqboCmyp ejrNIRVXcDyabYOdbewHZOzafsrPVrevcpc.

Read more: It’s Time to Get Smart About Dumb Pipes

SoftBank’s Son is pulling out all the stops to avoid repeating that history. Last year he engineered a complex deal to combine SoftBank’s Yahoo Japan internet business with the country’s biggest messenger Line Corp. The idea is to create a national champion capable of competing more effectively against global giants like Google and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Son has dubbed the strategy “beyond carrier.”

SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund has also bet big on the Japanese entrepreneur’s vision for a future centered on artificial intelligence and connected devices, investing in about 90 businesses ranging from ride sharing, co-working and robotics to agriculture, cancer detection and autonomous driving. SoftBank has also paid $32 billion for sole ownership of ARM Holdings Plc, a dominant supplier of semiconductor designs for mobile phones.

Son’s investments, whether they eventually pay off or not, reflect a prevailing technological zeitgeist that places increased importance on data. Recent breakthroughs in deep-learning algorithms, which vastly improved the ability of machines to perceive the world, have been fueled in part by large amounts of data generated by internet users. Examples include Google’s algorithmic Pixel smartphone cameras and smart voice assistants like Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa. 5G is likely to open the floodgates for a fresh torrent of data from real-world devices that range from tiny wearable sensors to autonomous vehicles.

“We don’t know what the really popular applications will be,” Boodry said. “It’s not just 5G, but also the shrinking cost of processing power. These trends are happening concurrently. Put them together and you have a lot of unpredictable synergies.”

(Corrects timeframe for 90% coverage in the fourth paragraph)

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usr: 3
This is interesting!