Staying ahead of the curve in the information age is of utmost importance. Promoting development of advanced technologies is what governments can do to attract investments and encourage innovation. Technological advancements have led automakers to launch autonomous driving cars, connected cars, and electric vehicle projects across the globe. Moreover, hackers have been attacking government and intelligence websites to steal sensitive information. Having high-speed internet and deploying technologies to keep the country secure are essential factors to prevent attacks from bad actors and efficient working of connected cars. The deployment of 5G network would be significant to achieve such purposes. Various countries have been designing regulations for deployment of 5G network across the nation and become a frontrunner.
The U.S. has been striving to become the first country to deploy the fifth generation of mobile services. The question remains how the network will be built, and the amount of investment required for successful deployment across the nation. There were two options, either the government would invest and build a single network nationwide or wireless network providers would build networks and compete against each other. The wireless network providers in the U.S. such as Verizon Communication Inc., AT&T Inc. have been working on deployment of 5G network on their own. They outlined that there will not be 5G network-supported devices soon, however, they will offer 5G services through portable hotspots known as pucks.
Ronan Dunne, Verizon’s wireless chief, said in an interview at Mobile World Congress at Barcelona, Spain, “I would expect that there are a range of handsets available in 2019 and some of those will be in the first half of 2019. If there’s anything available in 2018, it’s more likely to be a hotspot.”
Tech giants have been striving to become the first player in launching a self-driving car or a robot that can perform surgeries. On the other hand, wireless service providers have been introducing their plans to launch 5G network. They have given ambitious timelines for the launch. They decided to stick with the timeline though it is impossible to include 5G support in smartphones. This shows that no service provider wants to be left behind from generating revenue from advanced services.
Randall Stephenson, Chief Executive Officer of AT&T, gave the idea of pucks in earning call of the company in January. Puck is a portable antenna, offering a very high-speed wireless network connection to mobile devices. He said, “The thing that’s going to cause 5G to go slow, more than anything else, it’s just availability of handsets. That’s why we’re going to be deploying pucks in the first part of our deployment.”
Wireless network providers have realized that the biggest hurdle in launching 5G network is handsets. So, they have been endeavoring to launch 5G network through pucks. It is interesting to see when these pucks will be deployed and access to the superfast network will be provided. The first wireless provider to deploy 5G in the U.S. will get the first-mover advantage and gain maximum market share.