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“5G” Hijacked by Fixed Wireless

Suddenly the fixed wireless industry is promoting 5G. Vendors that scoffed at the hype are drinking the Kool-Aid. What's going on?

My friend, Frank, was apoplectic as he scanned social media. “Can you believe these guys? All of them are shipping “5G” now. Siklu, Mimosa, Radwin…” “This is such bullshit!”

I couldn’t agree more. Sellouts!

Fixed wireless has gone to the Dark Side, playing to 5G hype. My hero has become a villain. I drank until I passed out.

Then I had this dream… 😴

Mobile providers (“Telco”) were holding a fundraiser for their identity crisis. Investors had their checkbooks out as they introduced the keynote speaker, their Golden Goose and antidote to aging and death—Mr. 5G.

Pandemonium ensues, but then slowly the mood turns maudlin as people learn that 5G is years away. Telco sings. Tap dances. Tells jokes. And sweats... Finally, as the crowd thins out, Telco pretends that 5G has arrived.

“Look, there he is! Did you see him?” “We had him in Phoenix, and then with Samsung two weeks ago. He’s with Ericsson all the time.” “Yeah yeah, ask Verizon—they know.”

* * * * *

💰 Qualcomm’s CEO says that 5G is “the biggest thing since electricity.

Accenture reports that it will boost U.S. GDP by half a trillion dollars

and add three million jobs.

* * * * *

Investors are transfixed.

Across town, Fixed Wireless has its own show. It’s performing miracles—changing unlicensed spectrum into gold and closing the digital divide. Communities are empowered and consumers are getting affordable broadband for the first time. Checkbooks should be flying, but the response is tepid.

Someone in the audience calls out, “Fixed wireless? What’s broken?” Another chirps, “GIVE US 5G!” It makes no sense, but I’m dreaming…

Then Fixed Wireless does the unthinkable. Just like Telco, it announces, “We have 5G!” Now comes the streamers and balloons, and everyone’s waving their checkbooks... I awaken with a new sense of clarity.

Fixed wireless is doing the smart thing.

Mobile providers and their courtiers, Qualcomm, Ericsson, et al., sold Wall Street on 5G being “the next big thing,” so money's flowing there. Why shouldn't fixed wireless vendors tap into it?

By latching onto 5G, they’re hitching a ride on Telco's billion-dollar 5G Magical Mystery Tour. No longer tilting at windmills about 5G hype, now they’re tacking for tailwind.

Besides, anyone can spout 5G credentials.

“5G” is simply a placeholder for “a predicted future generation of mobile telecom standards.” We're years from a spec and so 5G is subject to endless interpretation. Moreover, there's no compliance policing, unless you want to use 3GPP's new logo.

So, like mobile providers before them, fixed wireless vendors have been inching toward 5G's frothy cauldron, each nudging the other closer, until they're falling in. 5G is becoming everyone's game, just as lines are blurred on the flip side with Verizon and AT&T branding “5G Fixed Wireless.”


The appropriation of 5G enhances fixed wireless at the expense of mobile providers whose 5G stock will be diluted. However a new challenge confronts fixed wireless as mobile providers raid the public spectrum with LTE-U. I'll have more to say on that!

But don't be disappointed if you thought that the wireless industry was more genteel. The last time it was pretty was 1941, when Hedy Lamarr invented Spread Spectrum.

Please let me know what you think, and thanks for your likes, shares and comments! For more, check out my website and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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