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The Race for 5G - Where Are We Now?

Oct 19, 2019

The Race for 5G - Where Are We Now?

The status of 5G connectivity has been a hot news topic for many cell companies and governments around the world. Its current use has left no doubt about the huge impact it is set to make on individuals, businesses and other consumers anywhere around the world. In essence, 5G will come into use in three unique ways:

  1. Use in 5G enhanced Smartphones and cell devices.
  2. In-home use of 5G (for instance, Verizon started rolling it in 2018).
  3. 5G edge-computing, specifically for businesses.

Next generation tech.

In 5G, the world is set to embrace the next generation cellular wireless engineering that promises low connectivity latency and top-notch high bandwidth. In some areas, as tested by Verizon, 5G connectivity has been found to be over 100 times speedier than the top 4G LTE speeds users have been accustomed to, in most cities in United States.

Launch progress.

Around North America, especially in United States 5G - rollout hasn't been a mirage but something heavily active on the ground. Before 2019 is over, Verizon expects to have rolled out its 5G connectivity in over 30 U.S. cities. In early 2019, Verizon had clearly outlined their intention to hit 30 5G connected cities in 12 months. By October 2019, the cellular company had already rolled out 5G in 13 American cities.

AT&T had rolled out 5G in 19 cities around United States by October 2019. This came after the second largest cellular network in America added 5G connectivity to seven additional markets of San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, San Diego, Austin and Orlando.

Sprint had already launched 5G in United States specifically in Missouri, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Houston by early 2019 before rolling out the connectivity in additional cities of Washington D.C., New York City, Phoenix and Los Angeles by August 2019.

Other wireless service providers haven't been left behind. For instance, the fifth largest cellular service provider in the United States, US Cellular, has been working hard to ensure they have rolled out 5G by early 2020 in areas where the regional wireless company operates such as Wisconsin. These include communities such as Milwaukee, Racine, Oshkosh, Madison and Green Bay, including over 115 extra Wisconsin city markets by the first quarter of 2020.

5G connectivity in United States against the world.

In a comparison with other nations that have adopted 5G network, US seems to do quite well. Among 5G-equipped gadget users in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Australia and Switzerland, American users are enjoying the fastest possible 5G speeds globally. However, they also seem to spend the shortest time on 5G network in contrast with users from the mentioned countries.

In a study done for six months, it was found out that 5G speeds seem to evolve fast with United States registering the fastest top download 5G speeds of around 1.8 Gigabyte per second. South Korea, Australia and Switzerland were also able to hit download speeds of more than a Gigabyte per second, indicating that 5G systems among mid-bands also work rather well.

Top speeds, unsatisfying reach.

From the study on the 5G network in U.S. against the world, it was clear that America has the best 5G speeds on mobile. Even so, users were able to achieve 5G connection after one percent attempts. This contrasts with such a country as South Korea with around three million 5G network users whose attempts to connect to the network were around 20 percent.

A glaring problem for United States however was a huge reliance on mmWave (millimeter wave) spectrum with limited reach and short coverage in contrast with other nations. In other countries, mid-band spectrums were opted for in 5G network rollouts.

The study found out that mid-band spectrums are rather difficult to accomplish in the USA, compounded by the fact that 5G signals are only available for very short periods of time and come in different offerings based on the spectrum being launched. While the industry has been focusing largely on 5G speeds, most cellular carriers are waking up to the fact that 5G is only barely here.

In cities such as Chicago, 5G connectivity has been a bag of mixed outcomes. Where 5G network is available it is incredible in terms of speeds with over 1 Gigabyte per second reported. For 4G LTE device users in Chicago, the best speeds they have ever enjoyed have been around 60 Megabyte per second.

Spotty connection.

The problem with 5G network as already indicated is the fact that in most cities in U.S.A., it is still very spotty. To connect and enjoy 5G network speeds, most people have been moving around to specific areas or would lose the signal if they moved a number of feet away. It has also been ascertained that 5G signals are being obstructed by physical objects.

Why 5G connection obstructions?

Obstructions such as physical objects, both manmade and natural, have always been the reason why cellular signals from 3G, 4G LTE to 5G are obstructed. One main reason why 5G network propagation is being hindered is due to the mentioned millimeter wave 5G technologies being used by most carrier companies such as AT&T Wireless and its rival Verizon Wireless.

In terms of signal spectrums, mmWave is on the higher side of 5G; reason why US 5G device users enjoy better speeds than the rest of the world. The downside of this is that the high-end spectrum doesn't give the best 5G experience. It loses connectivity fast if you move a few meters from a 5G network area. Before carriers are able to blanket those US cities with mmWave 5G nodes to keep the signal stable and solid, 5G users might have to wait for a while for a better 5G experience.

The problem with low band spectrum.

It has also been reported that AT&T and Verizon among others are thinking of incorporating low-band 5G spectrum. However, low-band means that the speeds will be like the high-end of 4G LTE networks. For other carriers such as Sprint, which may merge with T-Mobile, mid-range spectrum seems to be the better choice and could see the carrier leading the 5G network race. Mid-range types of spectrums are way better than low-band ones and their speed is way above 4G LTE and offer a larger coverage than mmWave spectrum. Mid-range spectrum has been touted as the better 5G connection medium.

5G networks make use of some of the highest frequencies which has seen the coverage being just a few hundred feet. Even worse as already mentioned, the waves are refusing to penetrate physical objects such as buildings and windows due to laws of Physics. As such, since a ubiquitous 5G network doesn't exist, the network's value currently is very minimal.

Benefits of 5G and Resulting Demand for 5G Fuelling its Development.

The development of new technologies has been the chief motivator for 5G introduction, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. As one type of technology will be connected to many others, the demand of a connection that can handle that has been going up. Apart from super use of Smartphones, 5G and IoT among others, 5G will foster the growth, development and introduction of smart cities and smart homes, smart factories and Smart transport. Heavy downloads will take a few seconds.

Benefits for Businesses.

5G is definitely a game-changer. Its revolution means that a store owner can manage any of his businesses in Florida perfectly well and clearly so while holidaying in Japan or Bali. Actually, you could use a personal avatar to attend a Brussels end of year general meeting while physically enjoying the sandy beaches and blue waters of the Bahamas or enjoying dinner with family in Detroit.

Convenience for Employees.

The way you work will most likely change with 5G. While in U.S.A. and around the world, millions have already embraced working from their homes. 5G adoption will destroy the boundaries existing between home and work as workers from hundreds to thousands of miles way will alternate between work and home through immersive technologies.

Benefits for the Worldwide Medical Establishments.

5G also mean that carrying out surgeries will never be the same again in hospitals courtesy of XR, a virtual reality technology. It means a single surgeon can work in different hospitals globally at the same time from his practice in Omaha and offer much needed surgeries.

Benefits for Educational Institutions.

Virtual reality powered by 5G will see education change and students around the world won't settle for theories only. Geography, science and other courses will come alive via VR wearable technology bringing ideas and thoughts to life.

FCC and 5G spectrum repurposing.

FCC and C-Band Alliance (CBA) have been engulfed in talks for a while towards 5G spectrum repurposing. CBA is made up of three operators in satellite technology, Canada’s Telesat, SES and Intelsat. CBA has been on the lookout for ways to auction their 180MHz satellite spectrum across United States to have it reassigned to help speed up 5G network rollout.

According to Morgan Stanley, an investment banking institution, CBA's spectrum is valued around $30 billion. CBA has agreed with the hard rollout part where they would have to release funds to help with the supply and fitting of costly filters on US C-band giant receiver dishes and rolling out eight fresh satellites that would see the auctioned spectrum replaced.

While all these have been agreed upon, the big problem is the foreign nature of CBA (Intelsat is a global company with headquarters in Washington DC, SES has both the Luxembourg government as a stakeholder and also based in Luxembourg while Telesat is Canadian and based in Ottawa). Since US lawmakers want profits to remain in USA, an agreement between FCC and CBA has become a political headache.

Politicians are against FCC allowing CBA to auction the satellite spectrum it holds by calling for C-band frequencies to be publicly auctioned to allow Americans to make the most of the sale rather than non-American satellite companies. Even so, the need to see the United States advance its 5G coverage and uptake is more important. FCC is expected to allow the reallocation much faster even if some companies that might not even be American, and are set to make big profits.

The 180/200 MHz spectrum in question is estimated between $10 billion and $30 billion if CBA auctioned it privately. Lawmakers in the US want to see the Alliance taxed significantly.

Why consumers will have to give 5G time.

As FCC deliberates on CBA's desire to auction its C band satellite spectrum, 5G rollout has been in progress among most American carriers. The expectation is that 5G networks will be more widespread in the country in the coming days. T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T and other cell carriers running mmWave 5G network might promise super speeds, but their coverage remains very minimal. In Minneapolis and Chicago for instance, Verizon has only covered a few areas with 5G connection.

AT&T seeks to rollout "sub-6", a unique type of 5G system before the end of 2019. It offers a highly reliable network with a larger coverage than mmWave. It is also compatible with the current mmWave network in use. As such, AT&T refers to sub-6 as 5G and mmWave as 5G+.

5G devices.

Devices that support 5G networks are also being released though rather limitedly due to the changing tide of 5G and possible incompatibility between 5G bands. For instance, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G works with mmWave 5G only and not compatible with sub-6 5G. Users of the device won't able to enjoy better and larger 5G rollouts.

Even so, other phones such as Samsung 5G being released by the end of 2019 will be able to support sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks. With releases and rollouts happening, 5G smartphone users might have to wait for better mobile devices compatible with most forms of 5G networks.

mmWave 5G cellular signal booster.

As Smartphone makers are working hard to release 5G compatible devices while the network is being rolled out across America, cellular signal booster maker SureCall has also been working hard to enhance spotty 5G cellular signal. mmWave 5G is heavily impeded by building materials such as glass, metal and other physical objects. To help 5G users improve their 5G network experience, SureCall has been really busy.

Force 8.

To help with spotty and unreliable 5G coverage signals, SureCall is releasing the first ever bi-directional, industrial grade cellular phone signal booster, Force 8, specifically for the 5G network. SureCall’s Force 8 will be handy in ensuring that AT&T’s 2.3 GHz band and T-Mobile’s 600 MHz bands are improved.

One most remarkable element of Force 8 is that it comes with HetGen and HetNet capabilities allowing it to enhance cellular data, text and calls of all cell carriers in the United States, including boosting 3G and 4G LTE networks for data, text and voice.

Even better, the Force-8 includes built-in Sentry technology for remote access. It allows adjustments to be made to the 5G booster system from anywhere and at any time through an Android or iOS mobile app or desktop computer.

Being an industrial grade device and a top-notch engineered equipment, the Force8 installation must be performed by qualified and licensed installers such as

5G Everywhere.

Even with impending release of Force 8, SureCall has also been working hard behind the shadows to cover more 5G network spectrums. This follows the impending launch of 5G Everywhere, which can amplify all 5G cellular broadcasts on the mmWave 28 GHz band. Verizon and T-Mobile have chiefly been investing on the mmWave 28GHz band. The carriers have launched the spectrum already in diverse cities in United States of America.

5G Everywhere is intended for integration and installation across the divide and cannot be installed by consumers but cellular carriers and manufacturer partner installers that include It helps carriers to boost their signals to ensure that building materials, doors, walls or even windows don't impede cellular signals. It cannot be installed by users; it is not a standalone cellular signal booster. The reason for this is mainly that it requires technical expertise to design the distributed antenna system (DAS) that properly covers all areas needed to be covered in an optimal fashion.

The 5G Everywhere signal booster platform ensures cellular service providers and their diverse partners are able to offer tailor made signal boosting services to offer homes and businesses a working 5G network. It includes the patented industry-leading ERT (Extended Range Technology). 5G Everywhere also boosts cell phone signal for all US carriers on the mmWave 28GHz 5G band.

Both Force 8 and 5G Everywhere by SureCall are compliant with FCC's upcoming and current regulations on 5G network.

Resistance to 5G Growing Worldwide.

While the benefits of 5G are definitely fantastic as stated all along, do they outweigh the health and privacy concerns being raised by non-profit organizations? While this is being fought out through the legal system, it remains to be seen how much 5G resistance will impact the speed of implementation or even reversal of the same.


Clearly, 2019 will always be remembered fondly in the annals of 5G evolution globally, especially in United States as the year when the technology was finally rolled out and lots of devices and equipment released to help its uptake. A clear picture of what 5G is capable of will be evident in the coming years from 2020 as companies that offer chip-based devices seek to make the most of the new technology.

As 5G signal boosters enhance 5G network to allow cell signals to penetrate walls, glasses, doors, metal and other physical impediments, users will be able to enjoy reliable 5G cell phone signals. They will be able to make the most of 5G ability to connect their devices with everything in IoT, virtual intelligence, Smart Homes and avatars in a whole new brave world.

Lastly, a small but growing resistance to 5G deployment is gaining momentum worldwide. Non-profit organizations state that they have valid proof or atleast reasonable validity that 5G deployment will adversely affect human and animal health across the world. They also claim it will jeopardize personal privacy that we have worked so hard to achieve in democratic societies.

What are your thoughts about 5G - Is it taking too long to become available? Do you think it will benefit you? Do you think it is not needed? Post your comments below for others to view your perspective.

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  • Two years later and people still are conflicted about 5G. I know people who love their 5G phones while other people are setting 5G towers on fire (to be clear, no one I know, just stories I’ve read in the newspapers). 5G has come far in just two years but it still has problems, which is why some people are still thinking of 5G boosters (again, that’s what I’ve read).

    Edmund Tracy on
  • 5G does sound remarkable. Is it doing all it claims to do? Probably not right now, but I think some people will be happy getting 5G now for the benefits it does offer and stick around for the benefits it delivers sometime later. It’s all a matter of what works best for each person. I like my phone, but I could get used to 5G’s bells and whistles.

    George Klein on
  • I think 5G is only going to get better in 2020. I’m keeping an eye on it and what people are saying in tech blogs and tech magazines to see when it will be time to go 5G. Right now, 4G does everything I need. However, I can see a time when 5G will have my attention.

    Rachel Stevenson on
  • Eduardo, you can’t be too hard on companies. Well, you can but if you’ve been around as long as me, you expect tech companies to promise the moon and deliver a slice of cheese (hmmmn, maybe that’s a weak analogy). I’ve just been burned enough on video game consoles to know you don’t buy the latest Xbox or PlayStation expecting there to be a ton of games that capitalize on the new capabilities. Same thing with 5G phones. The tech may be in place, but it’s going to take time to get it right and companies know there are always suckers, uh I mean customers who want the latest tech, ready to drop some dollars on it.

    Kenny Torella on
  • This article only confirms what I’ve been telling people for some time—don’t expect 5G to do everything it’s promising because it’s a new upgrade in cell phone technology and like 95% of new technology (or upgrades) there are going to be bugs galore. These things are rarely launched when they’re 100% ready which is why you have the problems you mentioned here. Yes, 5G is fantastic—when it works. However, who wants to pay for a technology that isn’t ready? If you have to get the latest and greatest product, get your 5G but understand it’s incomplete. You’ll likely need something like the 5G booster mentioned here. Myself, I can wait.

    Eduardo J. on

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