5G over-hype comes to Latin America!!!!!

Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I opened my (virtual) copy of Mexico’s Dinero – a normally serious business site – and read the following screaming headline:

¡100 veces más rápido! Este 2018 México tendrá capacidad para 5G

For non-Spanish speakers,

100 times faster! This 2018 Mexico will have the capacity for 5G

Thankfully for integrity’s sake, the very first sentence clarifies that the only thing which will happen in 2018 is that the 600 Mhz band will be freed up so that it can be auctioned between now and 2020 and then it might be used for 5G.

Why do I get the impression this article originally had a more accurate but more boring title and the editor decided to ‘jazz it up’?

I probably do not have to go through why this is ridiculous over-hype, but I will anyway to get it off my chest.

  • It is a statement about a possible future that has not, and so may not, happen.
  • It is only about spectrum clearing.
  • Not only has there been no auction, none is scheduled for the 600 Mhz band.
  • 600 Mhz could be used for more than 5G.
  • The screaming speeds from 5G are normally associated with millimeter-band services way up beyond 30 Ghz and a long way from this band.
  • Although America Movil, Telefonica and AT&T are all testing 5G, none have made announcements about deployment in Mexico.
  • There is still a lot of work to expand coverage of LTE Advanced and, for some carriers, LTE coverage. This map could be helpful. I do not think falling back to 3G would give the kind of experience most customers would expect if they contracted 5G services.

Confirming my hypothesis about extreme editor intervention, the rest of the article is a quite good, sober discussion of the spectrum situation in Mexico with a lot of discussion of mid-band opportunities. It is worth reading.

Ignore the title.

Unfortunately, this may ‘break the ice’. We could have other countries trying to get on the 5G hype bandwagon.

Well before operators are prepared to invest.

And, as a further reality check, when I looked at the article, the only comment in the feedback section said

“It could be 6G or 7G, but it is still very expensive”

Not great for the business case, at least on the mass-market side of the equation.


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