Cell phones placed on the table have 5g signal figures.

The Big Four (Carriers) and Their Positions in 5G

    The Big Four (Carriers) and Their Positions in 5G

    While widespread implementation of next-gen “5G” mobile networks is still a few years away, major international interest and investment continues to spread despite speculation and lack of formal definitions. In the United States, the four major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) are developing strategies around the inevitable onset of 5G. 5G is expected to provide high-speed throughput across various types of networks, including WiFi, LTE, and more.

    Each carrier has a different stance regarding the expectations and necessity of 5G. Here are the differing positions of each of the big four carriers.


    Verizon is the most enthusiastic and optimistic of the four big carriers towards 5G networks. They are taking the most urgent approach towards implementation: they describe 5G as having the network throughput of 50 times that of current LTE networks, latency in the single-digit millisecond range, and the ability to accommodate an increased demand from networks as the “Internet of Things” continues to grow in terms of number of devices. They have also emphasized the importance of video streaming in this modern entertainment landscape where a large percentage of customers rely on a strong internet connection to watch television shows on their mobile devices. Verizon’s outlook on the rapidly increasing reliance on dependable networks has them urgently testing and implementing 5G solutions in hopes that full scale implementation is not far off.


    While AT&T were frontrunners in the developments of LTE-Unlimited, video streaming, and IoT, they have taken a more cautious approach to 5G and are more skeptical towards the optimism that Verizon displays. Glenn Lurie, the CEO of AT&T Mobility, said, “We’re not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is. We, as an industry, have been really good at overpromising and under delivering when it comes to new technology.” AT&T is waiting on more widespread standardization from official organizations to determine what exactly “5G” entails and what standards it will adhere to. However, they remain aware of the eventuality of widespread 5G and have invested appropriately in video transmission and the IoT to prepare.


    T-Mobile displays a similar sentiment towards 5G as AT&T, demonstrating skepticism towards making empty promises to customers while there is still a lack of standardization in 5G networks. They are currently focusing more on LTE initiatives that incentivize customers, such as their “Binge On” and “Music Freedom” plans that allow customers to stream video and music without using data from their plan. Neville Ray, the CTO of T-Mobile, did seem excited about the prospect of 5G: “The thing that excites me in 5G is that’s a big part of what 5G is about. It’s about, how do we deal with incredible growth that’s coming at the industry?” He also emphasized that 5G must be compatible with the growing IoT ecosystem as well.


    Sprint has the most conservative stance towards 5G, instead focusing on developing 4G and LTE until enough changes have been developed to warrant a new classification. According to Sprint’s CNO John Saw, “Whatever 5G ends up to be, it will be based on leveraging what we built for 4G. It’s the foundational layer for whatever 5G becomes. Hopefully no one jumps the gun on calling it 5G. It has to be really different than what 4G can offer.”

    It is clear to all the carriers that the next generation is coming, and isn’t a question of if, but rather when and how. It will need to handle a rapidly increasing network from IoT systems, video streaming, next-gen voice services, and other futuristic applications.

    Want to learn more about 5G networks? Cadsourcing has experience in telecom drafting services, including drawings for small cell towers and networks. Contact us today to speak with an experienced member of our team.

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