The Most Confusing Part of CES 2019

Written by: Robin Veinotte, Director of New Business Ventures

While at The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2019 it was easy to get lost in a barrage of gadgets, drones, TV Displays and speakers that light up. Lots of vendors had some sort of gadget or enhancement to last years gadget to make someone want to buy the next version (#typical).

However, the big buzz in the Telecom industry seems to be the impending arrival of 5G and everyone in an industry related seemed to tout some sort of 5G enabled device in the pipeline. But when asked what and where 5G is, there was a lot of different answers being thrown back at any one asking.

“At CES, 5G is mainly being used as a buzzword and proxy for ‘future of mobility,'” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data. I couldn’t agree more (courtesy of CNET article).

From in-home cellular boosters, hotspots and any SIM or WiFi enabled device you can find – everyone was claiming to be 5G ready.

“The US carriers are not helping themselves or their customers in their ‘I am first and I am better’ race,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies. “It is a sad state of affairs, to be honest.” (courtesy of CNET article).

AT&T rubbed some in the industry the wrong way when it decided to change the name of its advanced 4G LTE network to 5G E, which misleads consumers into thinking they already have 5G. On top of that, many are touting 5G with convergence and channel bonding technology’s because they are faster than 4G – another big misleader for consumers. Verison wants to lead the race with 5G in their markets by introducing the 5G Broadband home service, which I am personally paying attention to as the area in which I live are in the middle of figuring out the future of Rural Broadband.  I am sure this will be one of many solutions that rural areas see delivering service to them

From a carrier perspective, the key thing to watch for is the letter “E”, which stands for Evolution… ie a work in progress. Outside of D-Links 5G NR Enhanced Gateway, there wasn’t any off the shelf items ready to tap into 5G anything.

Regardless:  “Everyone is 5G ready” if you read their marketing material, but maybe 2020 will be the year that 5G consumer devices really show up and are ready for the everyday home.

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