AT&T CEO says faster 5G networks will cost more and be capped

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 24
The CEO of AT&T has proposed higher pricing for 5G connectivity, suggesting data plans for the next-generation mobile networks could be closer to that of broadband packages, including both allowances of data and tiered maximum speeds.




The promise of 5G is for consumers to gain high-speed, low-latency data connections for their mobile devices, far above what is offered by 4G LTE-based networks today. The major shift in bandwidth and speed may have also opened up an opportunity for carriers to refine what they offer, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson suggested during the carrier's earnings call on Wednesday.

Stephenson suggested a system similar to what is currently offered by home broadband plans, reports The Verge, with plans offered at different prices for different speeds. While current data plans don't offer a specific tier of speed outside of having a 4G LTE allowance and 3G when that has run out, the CEO suggested it could be further refined to capitalize on those wanting to have the highest speeds possible.

"I will be very surprised if, as we move into wireless, the pricing regime in wireless doesn't look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line," Stephenson told analysts. "If you can offer a gig speed, there are some consumers that are willing to pay a premium for 500 meg to a gig of speed, and so forth."

While not immediately applicable to plans, the AT&T chief speculated such a system could be implemented within "two to three years."

At present, mobile networks do not offer tiered speeds outside of the use of different connectivity technologies. Even with speed-based data allowances, such as offered for 4G LTE in many cases, users are simply de-prioritized for 4G data when they reach an allowance, effectively leaving the remaining bandwidth available to other consumers.

A tiered system would require connections to be artificially limited by the carrier, rather than relying on total data usage and general usage by all local users. Such a system could also lead to the situation where a few users may be able to connect to one mast, but cannot use all of the available spare bandwidth at all to speed their connection at all.

The talk of 5G price plans is relatively early, as there is no meaningful cross-US 5G network for mobile use, nor will there be for years. AT&T is slowly working on its own 5G network rollout, potentially creating a nationwide version by early 2020.

Though it has arguably already set up a 5G network in 12 US cities, AT&T's network is not entirely usable by most customers. A Netgear Nighthawk Mobile 5G Hotspot is the only device that can connect to the network, making it useless for customers wishing to place calls from their mobile devices.

While Samsung has teased its vision of a 5G future with one smartphone launch, Apple is speculated to be waiting until 2020 to launch an iPhone with a 5G modem, and could develop its own modem by 2021.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    mystigomystigo Posts: 123member
    This is why T-Mobile should not be allowed to merge with Sprint.
    bigtdspujones1georgie01StrangeDaysdavgregjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 47
    Not too sure how this is sellable. It's not like I would get a gig of speed no matter where I went. 
    pujones1entropysllama
  • Reply 3 of 47
    In the end prices will reflect the costs of the hardware, installation and its maintenance costs. Overall the cost per byte will be lower or nobody will use it. Since 5G is roughly 100x faster than 4G, we will see roughly 99% reduction in cost per byte. Roughly.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,684member
    4G seems fine for me and works fine on my iPhone too. I don't stream any 4k movies or download any large files.

    Even when 5G is available, I wouldn't be interested, and especially not if it is a lot more costly. For my uses at least, which is using iMessage, FaceTime and checking the web, it would be waste.
    edited April 24 rotateleftbyteMplsPdavgreg
  • Reply 5 of 47
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,988member
    I will likely stay on LTE(or 5G E) service long as possible. It's more than OK. At this point when 5G coverage is limited than why pay more for 5G phone and 5G service.
    Apple is more than smart to target 5G iPhone in 2020. In 2021 with competition, coverage will increase and prices of 5G service may comedown for some to justify paying.
    edited April 24 llama
  • Reply 6 of 47
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 682member
    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson: Okay we have this new high speed 5G network coming out. Customers really are looking forward to it."
    Board of Directors: Yes Sir.
    Stephenson: So here's how we can totally screw it up for us and them...
    edited April 24 DanManTXpujones1georgie01entropysmacseekertmaylkruppmacsince1988michelb76GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 7 of 47
    If I get a phone that is 5G capable will I be able to continue using a plan that only allows me to access 4G? Because that would be fine with me (at least until something changes that convinces me that paying more for 5G is worthwhile).
    daven
  • Reply 8 of 47
    AT&T CEO OG:   "We're gonna bust a cap in your 5G!"
  • Reply 9 of 47
    wallymwallym Posts: 11member
    The cost of a 5g rollout has to be astronomical compared to a 4g/3g network.  The higher frequencies result in needing many more places to put cell stations.  The means more digging and more cabling, which results in more labor.  I can't blame him for this.  this is the physics of antennas and signals.

    For me, I'm good with my 4g.  Everything loads fast enough on my phone.  I'm not streaming hidef or 4k videos.  I'm good.

    It will be interesting to see how the cell companies react.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 682member
    wallym said:
    The cost of a 5g rollout has to be astronomical compared to a 4g/3g network.  The higher frequencies result in needing many more places to put cell stations.  The means more digging and more cabling, which results in more labor.  I can't blame him for this.  this is the physics of antennas and signals.

    For me, I'm good with my 4g.  Everything loads fast enough on my phone.  I'm not streaming hidef or 4k videos.  I'm good.

    It will be interesting to see how the cell companies react.
    I agree. I was talking to my wife about this last night and we both concluded that we do nothing on Cellular that would need more speed. She will sometimes tether her MacBook to her phone and run a remote desktop session. Even that is plenty fast. We're starting to look at updating our phones in the next year and honestly we don't care if  Apple waits until 2020 or 2021 to add 5G to their iPhones. We're not waiting for it.
    wallymrotateleftbyteMplsP
  • Reply 11 of 47
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    I get two bars of signal at my house. How much faster is two bars of 5G vs two bars of 4G?

    mobirdwallymentropysdavgreg
  • Reply 12 of 47
    See the info on 5G from ZDNET’s link below from earlier this year. 

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-5g-everything-you-need-to-know/
    MplsP
  • Reply 13 of 47
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,996member
    5G is high tech industry plot to squeeze more money from consumers. The only way consumer can fight this force upon charge is anti-monopoly. 
    DAalsethdavgreg
  • Reply 14 of 47
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 682member
    DangDave said:
    See the info on 5G from ZDNET’s link below from earlier this year. 

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-5g-everything-you-need-to-know/
    A very good article. Thanks.
    What I got out of it was that the telecoms want it, it won't do much that I can't already do, but it will give them the excuse to charge more. You want 5G speeds, that will be a whole lot more. You want speeds equivalent to what you have now, that will be a bunch more. You want to pay what you want now, hello dial-up speed. You want to stream OUR service, or use OUR cloud, or watch the TV shows on OUR system it will cost more. You want to do any of that with other companies systems, it will cost a whole lot more. 

    Typical.
    MplsP
  • Reply 15 of 47
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 254member
    This is hilarious and pathetic. It’s fine if companies want to build out a 5G network but it’s not fine that they build hype for something customers don’t need and try and sell them on it and then charge them extra in order to pay for building it.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 47
    GG1GG1 Posts: 265member
    DangDave said:
    See the info on 5G from ZDNET’s link below from earlier this year. 

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-5g-everything-you-need-to-know/
    Below is a list of the 5G-capable phones that are announced for 2019. None support mmWave, the part of 5G that has the really super fast speeds. If you want to take advantage of all the speed that 5G is promising, wait for a mmWave-capable 5G phone. Of course, no one but Apple knows if the 2020 iPhone will support mmWave.

     
  • Reply 17 of 47
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 159member
    The 5G hype is unbelievable as there are no uses that require it now. Everything the vast majority of people use their phone for does not require anymore speed with the possible exception of extreme gamers. Like another person posted here tethering on LTE is more than adequate for Remote Desktop sessions. There was a time when internet speed improvements mattered because there were existing uses that needed more speed. The most recent example is the streaming of movies, but we have reached a point where buffering does not happen anymore so who cares if I can download a move in 60 seconds when it takes 2 hours to watch it.

    I am not surprised that AT&T (and soon others) are trying to squeeze us for more money except telling us in advance this time. 
    edited April 24 stevenozMplsP
  • Reply 18 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,300member
    mystigo said:
    This is why T-Mobile should not be allowed to merge with Sprint.
    No, it’s why T-Mobile and Sprint SHOULD merge. The two separate companies would never be able to adequately compete against AT&T or Verizon.
    anantksundaramGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 19 of 47
    stevenozstevenoz Posts: 237member
    Speed is mostly good... except in school zones. And I've heard some concerns about a health-risk aspect of 5G... near-field wireless modem signals and, potentially, ear-devices... may affect the brain... in not good ways.

    I'd like to see some biological reference articles before I buy in... I don't need to save a few seconds to shorten my life by years.


  • Reply 20 of 47
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,996member
    Instead of letting AT&T, Verizon to dump their existing LTE networks, FCC should require them to sell these networks to third party companies. 
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