5G iPhone launch unlikely to be 'massive event,' AT&T executive says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh said that the impending launch of 5G-equipped "iPhone 12" models may not end up being a "massive event," and that industry watchers should soften expectations.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Apple is expected to release its long-anticipated 5G "iPhone 12" devices in October, but on Monday, McElfresh told CNBC that it may be smart to check their excitement about the impending launch.

"I've always tried to soften folks' expectations around 5G. I do believe that you will see many of the iPhone subscribers move to upgrade to the device, but I wouldn't forecast that it's going to be a massive event," McElfresh told the media outlet.

There will undoubtedly be early adopters who jump at the chance to upgrade to the broadband-like speeds of 5G. However, many users will stick with 4G LTE service, particularly during the precarious economic situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I also don't think it's going to be a non-event," McElfresh added. "I think customers, based on the pressures of the economy that we're all facing today, will make a calculated decision as to what they want to do."

Though reports differ, Apple is largely expected to offer some type of 5G compatibility across its "iPhone 12" and "iPhone 12 Pro" lineup.

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes all U.S. models will feature both mmWave and low-band 5G, though some reports suggest that the speedier mmWave service will be exclusive to higher-tier devices.

In July, AT&T announced that its low-band 5G network was available nationwide. Its faster 5G+ service, based on mmWave spectrum, is available in select areas in 35 U.S. cities.

During his interview with CNBC McElfresh also revealed that AT&T is already working on "6G" service that will likely build on both the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    Translation:   'AT&T didn't invest in 5G and their 5G-E scam fooled no one.   So, who needs it?   who wants it?   Shouldn't we all wait for them to bungle 6G the same way?'

    But, I do agree with him that there won't be a mass rush to the iPhone 12's because they have 5G (except possibly in those countries like China who have already rolled it out nationwide).   Instead, mostly it will prevent Apple from LOSING sales from those who simply don't want to invest in yesterday's 4G technology (you know, like AT&T did)
    DAalseth
  • Reply 2 of 80
    Translation:   'AT&T didn't invest in 5G and their 5G-E scam fooled no one.   So, who needs it?   who wants it?   Shouldn't we all wait for them to bungle 6G the same way?'

    But, I do agree with him that there won't be a mass rush to the iPhone 12's because they have 5G (except possibly in those countries like China who have already rolled it out nationwide).   Instead, mostly it will prevent Apple from LOSING sales from those who simply don't want to invest in yesterday's 4G technology (you know, like AT&T did)
    While your comment is very anti-AT&T, the gist of it is correct, which is 5G really isn't going to be a big deal with any carrier.  If you're already in a good 4G LTE area, you're probably already happy with the fast speeds you get.  If you're in a crappy 4G LTE area, it's probably going to be crappy (or no) 5G for a long while.  For most people, you're on WIFI with very fast (or free WIFI) and you're happy.

    I think as soon as the buzzword "5G" cools down and people realize 5G is something no one really wished for, it will just exist and will someday replace 4G LTE.

    FWIW, I'm very happy with AT&T and frequently get 100 down speeds while out-and-about while on 5GE.
    edited September 2020 tmayrazorpitpscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 80
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,661member
    Well, since 5G has so far been pretty much a non-event, why should a 5G iPhone be any different? 

    5G coverage is fair at best, bordering on abysmal for Verizon, and the performance of the 5G networks is essentially on par with the 4G LTE ones. Why should we pay extra for any of it? If and when (emphasis on the ‘if’) the utopia of self driving cars that talk to each other actually comes to pass then maybe 5G will be useful. Right now it’s all hype. 
    tmayflyingdprazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 80
    @AT&Texecutives. -  instead of “working” on 6G,  how about working on getting more than 1 signal bar of 4G strength in my general area ?
    sdw2001JapheyrazorpitDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 80
    In the mountains of Colorado, where I live, there is very little ATT or T-Mobile. Only Verizon works with anything close to an acceptable signal and only along main roads. My home requires a Network Extender. Local phone stores will tell complaining visitors that they should change their settings to 3G while in the area. A friend in the "cellular game" says that 5G and higher may never roll out in rural areas because it will require 5 times the number of towers and would take years to build.
    He says that the future is Starlink.
    tmayDAalsethpscooter63Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 80
    I think that it doesn’t make sense to offer mm wave  5G in an iPhone. Mm waves require line of sight for communication, so you need to not only have your device out in the open, but also a clear shot to a mm wave antenna. At mm wavelengths, the radio waves act light light waves. So, if your device is in a ‘shadow’ caused by something blocking your device’s line of sight, it will either not work at all, or work poorly.  Verizon is apparently banking on it to claim the highest 5G speeds, but what good is it if it’s only available in 2% of their coverage footprint?  

    They also chose to deploy it in stadiums, where high density population gathers for events. So, what good is it to have 5G serving the football stadium that you visit...never?

    I thought that the purpose for mm wave 5G was to replace wired internet (DSL/Cable) with a fixed, line of sight system. Thus, gigabit Ethernet speeds without needing to wait for AT&T, Google, etc to rip up the neighborhood and streets to trench fiber. 
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 80
    5G or not, I am ready for a new phone. 
    gregoriusmsdw2001Beatsmike1watto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 8 of 80
    GG1GG1 Posts: 481member
    Translation:   'AT&T didn't invest in 5G and their 5G-E scam fooled no one.   So, who needs it?   who wants it?   Shouldn't we all wait for them to bungle 6G the same way?'

    But, I do agree with him that there won't be a mass rush to the iPhone 12's because they have 5G (except possibly in those countries like China who have already rolled it out nationwide).   Instead, mostly it will prevent Apple from LOSING sales from those who simply don't want to invest in yesterday's 4G technology (you know, like AT&T did)
    AT&T should just come out and say iPhone 12 has 6G-E.
    GeorgeBMacDAalsethrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 80
    GG1GG1 Posts: 481member
    MplsP said:
    Well, since 5G has so far been pretty much a non-event, why should a 5G iPhone be any different? 

    5G coverage is fair at best, bordering on abysmal for Verizon, and the performance of the 5G networks is essentially on par with the 4G LTE ones. Why should we pay extra for any of it? If and when (emphasis on the ‘if’) the utopia of self driving cars that talk to each other actually comes to pass then maybe 5G will be useful. Right now it’s all hype. 
    As we both concluded on the same thread months ago, 5G's biggest growth isn't going to come from mobile users, so the carriers need to hype it as much as possible. And now this article shows that CEO McElfresh is "softening expectations." Don't get me wrong - 5G is impressive technology on the infrastructure side, but sadly those gains won't be fully realised by mobile users.

    And mmWave will work best on physically large phones due to the multiple mmWave antennas (diversity) that must be crammed in to overcome the shadowing.

    MplsPrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 80
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,873member
    jdgaz said:
    5G or not, I am ready for a new phone. 
    This is what he doesn’t understand. I think this is going to be a massive upgrade cycle.  I’m on a XS Max and I’m ready.  There just wasn’t enough difference between it and the 11 Pro Max. I had an iPhone X and then upgraded a year later because I wanted a bigger screen. But the performance difference between my phone now and the 12 will be substantial.  
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 80
    McFresh? Sounds like a character gone bad on Gray’s Anatomy. 
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 80
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Translation:   'AT&T didn't invest in 5G and their 5G-E scam fooled no one.   So, who needs it?   who wants it?   Shouldn't we all wait for them to bungle 6G the same way?'

    But, I do agree with him that there won't be a mass rush to the iPhone 12's because they have 5G (except possibly in those countries like China who have already rolled it out nationwide).   Instead, mostly it will prevent Apple from LOSING sales from those who simply don't want to invest in yesterday's 4G technology (you know, like AT&T did)
    While your comment is very anti-AT&T, the gist of it is correct, which is 5G really isn't going to be a big deal with any carrier.  If you're already in a good 4G LTE area, you're probably already happy with the fast speeds you get.  If you're in a crappy 4G LTE area, it's probably going to be crappy (or no) 5G for a long while.  For most people, you're on WIFI with very fast (or free WIFI) and you're happy.

    I think as soon as the buzzword "5G" cools down and people realize 5G is something no one really wished for, it will just exist and will someday replace 4G LTE.

    FWIW, I'm very happy with AT&T and frequently get 100 down speeds while out-and-about while on 5GE.

    Am I Anti-AT&T -- Or pro-Reality?
    AT&T has been one of our leading carriers.  But, instead of investing in the future they pulled scams and now are making excuses.

    Meanwhile, other countries (China for instance) and other carriers (T-Mobile) are racing ahead.


  • Reply 13 of 80
    M68000 said:
    @AT&Texecutives. -  instead of “working” on 6G,  how about working on getting more than 1 signal bar of 4G strength in my general area ?

    You will get neither as long as you stick with those losers.
  • Reply 14 of 80
    mcdeal said:
    In the mountains of Colorado, where I live, there is very little ATT or T-Mobile. Only Verizon works with anything close to an acceptable signal and only along main roads. My home requires a Network Extender. Local phone stores will tell complaining visitors that they should change their settings to 3G while in the area. A friend in the "cellular game" says that 5G and higher may never roll out in rural areas because it will require 5 times the number of towers and would take years to build.
    He says that the future is Starlink.

    T-Mobile says your friend is wrong.   They are rolling it out now.  Not the mm-wave your friend is talking about but 5G nevertheless.
  • Reply 15 of 80
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,661member
    rbnetengr said:
    Verizon is apparently banking on it to claim the highest 5G speeds, but what good is it if it’s only available in 2% of their coverage footprint?  
    C'mon, quit beating on Verizon. Their coverage is easily closer to 3 or 4%! (Actually this is true)
    GG1 said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, since 5G has so far been pretty much a non-event, why should a 5G iPhone be any different? 

    5G coverage is fair at best, bordering on abysmal for Verizon, and the performance of the 5G networks is essentially on par with the 4G LTE ones. Why should we pay extra for any of it? If and when (emphasis on the ‘if’) the utopia of self driving cars that talk to each other actually comes to pass then maybe 5G will be useful. Right now it’s all hype. 
    As we both concluded on the same thread months ago, 5G's biggest growth isn't going to come from mobile users, so the carriers need to hype it as much as possible. And now this article shows that CEO McElfresh is "softening expectations." Don't get me wrong - 5G is impressive technology on the infrastructure side, but sadly those gains won't be fully realised by mobile users.

    And mmWave will work best on physically large phones due to the multiple mmWave antennas (diversity) that must be crammed in to overcome the shadowing.

    yup. It's impressive, just not for phones. Fortunately, the backend infrastructure will benefit everyone, no matter what technology they're using.


    Am I Anti-AT&T -- Or pro-Reality?
    M68000 said:
    @AT&Texecutives. -  instead of “working” on 6G,  how about working on getting more than 1 signal bar of 4G strength in my general area ?

    You will get neither as long as you stick with those losers.
    You seem to be pretty Anti-AT&T here!
    mcdeal said:
    In the mountains of Colorado, where I live, there is very little ATT or T-Mobile. Only Verizon works with anything close to an acceptable signal and only along main roads. My home requires a Network Extender. Local phone stores will tell complaining visitors that they should change their settings to 3G while in the area. A friend in the "cellular game" says that 5G and higher may never roll out in rural areas because it will require 5 times the number of towers and would take years to build.
    He says that the future is Starlink.

    T-Mobile says your friend is wrong.   They are rolling it out now.  Not the mm-wave your friend is talking about but 5G nevertheless.
    We've been through this before. T-Mobile may say his friend is wrong, but T-Mobile's maps are also wrong, so his friend is probably right. The other catch with coverage - often times when I have 2 bars of T Mobile coverage I still struggle to load a simple web page, so even though I have 2 bars, they are pretty useless bars. They're not the only ones though. Verizon got censured by the better business bureau for misleading claims of coverage, too. 

    ITGUYINSD
  • Reply 16 of 80
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,118member
    Got an iPhone 11 last year. I expect to use it for 4-5 years. So by 2024 I'll be getting something 5G capable, maybe it'll be out here by then, but not MM so even then I don't expect to see much if any difference.
    MplsPrazorpit
  • Reply 17 of 80
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,730member
    mcdeal said:
    In the mountains of Colorado, where I live, there is very little ATT or T-Mobile. Only Verizon works with anything close to an acceptable signal and only along main roads. My home requires a Network Extender. Local phone stores will tell complaining visitors that they should change their settings to 3G while in the area. A friend in the "cellular game" says that 5G and higher may never roll out in rural areas because it will require 5 times the number of towers and would take years to build.
    He says that the future is Starlink.

    T-Mobile says your friend is wrong.   They are rolling it out now.  Not the mm-wave your friend is talking about but 5G nevertheless.
    You really aren't cognizant of what 5G is being installed today by T-Mobile. It is really just existing 4G radio equipment repurposed for 5G, so the speeds people see as "5G" aren't going to be much faster than the 4G they had before, maybe 20% faster. 

    For the record, my community, a state capitol of 55,000, has a single 5G site located off of a freeway, next to a water treatment plant, 1/2 a mile from the town's single high school, and across from a National Guard facility. Great for them, I suppose.

    That's not much of a buildout to date.
    razorpit
  • Reply 18 of 80
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    mac_dog said:
    McFresh? Sounds like a character gone bad on Gray’s Anatomy. 
    Mmm. I thought it was a Scottish rap act from the nineties. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 19 of 80
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,296member
    He's speaking more from his own company's perspective than Apple's perspective.

    For Apple, the release is massive because going through to the end of 2021 without 5G would have left the company embarrassed and killed sales in China. 

    They are already late to the party. Even with COVID it is estimated that 1 in 3 handset sales in China are already 5G and that number is increasing fast.

    For iPhone users generally, it is also massive because this represents the first time 5G will be an option. Anyone who plans to keep their phone for three or more years should be thinking about 5G.

    The dire situation in the US in terms of carrier infrastructure and the way the market is divided up make it an exception to some degree. Some people might be able to claim with relative certainty that 5G won't reach them within the lifespan of the phone.

    I don't think the rest of the world will find itself in the same situation and many people will be making purchases with 5G in mind. Especially as 5G phones are now available in the lower cost bands. I'm confident that a sizeable chunk of iPhone users put off upgrading last year precisely because of 5G. 

    I live in a small town in the country and fibre is rolling out even here. The carrier installing everything will have to open its infrastructure to competitors for them to use. The same applies to those competitors too. The result is that I can switch to whatever company I choose in line with offers.

    The same applies to 4 and 5G and 5G will reach me quicker than 4G took to reach me.

    The big question is about disposable income around Christmas and job insecurity in 2021. Two COVID related factors that will obviously impact Apple to a degree.

    Competitors will be in the same situation but will have 5G options at far lower price points.

    No one is expecting a low cost 5G variant from Apple so if they produce one it will be a big surprise. 
  • Reply 20 of 80
    I’m an expat living in China. And it’s fair to say 5G is the normal here, all providers just put your account to 5G no cost difference,  whilst it’s not mm wavelength I fail to see why I would need to download a Movie in 3seconds.  5G benefits are more about latency and responsive internet.  
    WiFi everywhere if you desperately need to download an App.

    Apple have to deliver here or be left out in the upgrades for year end. That’s Chinese New Year mass purchase rush.  And expect a bigger uptake as huawei  will run out of SoCs processors for their flagship phones :smiley: 


    GeorgeBMac
Sign In or Register to comment.