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> The long-touted 5G revolution hasn't impacted the telecommunications industry as anticipated yet, but industry experts are saying that 2020 is the breakout year, as 5G-capable phones and networks become more available to consumers.

The seemingly sluggish splash that 5G has been making is vastly more energetic than the introduction of 4G a decade ago. According to Qualcomm, more than 40 mobile network providers inaugurated 5G service in 2019, in contrast with four providers launching 4G service during its first year.

T-Mobile came out with what it termed the first nationwide 5G network in December, and the other three of the Big Four are saying they will follow suit this year. 5G-accessible phone models are presently pricey--more than $750--but are expected to be more modestly priced in the future. Of course, 5G, with its blazing data speeds and lower latency, isn't just about phones--it's about laptops, tablets, autonomous vehicles, the IoT, and "smart cities" (1) festooned with sensors.

Wireless telecom analyst Jeff Kagan said in an interview with Fox Business, "Smartphone purchases grow every year, and people use them more and more every year. Now we're heading into 5G, then 6G, then 7G--it will keep getting faster and more convenient. We'll see more jobs, more wealth, more services for customers. ... 5G is moving into healthcare, automotive, retail--it's the core of an enormous growth engine that will continue to fuel the economy and worldwide." (2)

Here are some recent news items on the subject:

New breed of startups stirring up the 5G antenna market

U.S. investment and leadership is an indication of taking a lead in mmWave 5G networks in terms of intellectual property, according to a press release by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research. The release states that "a new breed of startups and smaller companies may become serious contenders in the global patent war for the next wave of 5G networks."

"Major innovation is happening across the market for 5G and cellular antennas as mobile operators start to focus on 5G, active antennas, and mmWave" said Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research. "This means that incumbent infrastructure vendors and antenna manufacturers may not be the key stakeholders for tomorrow's networks, or that merger and acquisition activity is imminent in the 5G antenna market."

Several new startups in the cellular and 5G antenna listed by ABI Research include Airrays, Anokiwave, Artemis, Fractal Antennas, Fractus Antennas, Gapwaves, Maja Systems, Metawave, Movandi, Pabellon, Pivotal Commware, Ericsson with its Radio Stripes concept, and Satixfy. Some of them have pivoted to address the 5G space while new entrants are now addressing new types of innovation, mostly in the United States with mmWave. (3)

U.S. bill earmarks $1 billion subsidy to spur 5G race

In January, a bipartisan group of national security senators introduced legislation to stimulate U.S. innovation in the race for 5G. The bill would provide more than $1 billion to invest in alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE. Huawei claims to have shipped 6.9 million units of 5G smartphones as of December 2019.

"Every month that the U.S. does nothing, Huawei stands poised to become the cheapest, fastest, most ubiquitous global provider of 5G, while U.S. and Western companies and workers lose out on market share and jobs. Widespread adoption of 5G technology has the potential to unleash sweeping effects for the future of internet-connected devices, individual data security, and national security. It is imperative that Congress address the complex security and competitiveness challenges that Chinese-directed telecommunication companies pose," said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), in a press release. "We need to move beyond observing the problem to providing alternatives for U.S. and foreign network operators." (4)

By Ken Cormier, Managing Editor


(1.), "What's Next For 5G?" Jan. 6, 2020.

(2.) Fox Business, "Anti-5G Group Plans Global Protest," Jan. 21,2020.

(3.), "A New Breed Of Startups Are Stirring Up The 5G Antenna Market," Jan. 9,2020.

(4.), "National Security Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Develop 5G Alternatives to Huawei," Jan. 14, 2020.
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Author:Cormier, Ken
Publication:EE-Evaluation Engineering
Date:Mar 1, 2020
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