back to article Who is Samsung trying to kid? There will NEVER be a 5G network

There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network, but that hasn't stopped Samsung using the trendy moniker to describe its 1Gbit-per-second wireless experiments. The South Korean giant managed to achieve that data transfer rate through two kilometres of air in the 28GHz radio band, thanks to some advanced …


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  1. ratfox

    Yes, but

    If Samsung phones have 5G, they have to be better than the iPhone, which only has 4G… right?

    1. Ged T

      Re: Yes, but...

      "5G" could refer to how much such a phone might cost per month in £'s, even allowing for subsidies?

    2. N13L5

      Schmuck Journalism... meh

      Unless we wipe ourselves out in ww3, there will most certainly be 5G, 6G, 7G and so on...

      I've rarely read something so wrong headed.

      Obviously, this is written for the benefit of some existing power, who doesn't want people to even think about anything past 4G.

      And of course, Samsung has its own purpose in teasing us with it.

      But this article.. whatever.. :P

  2. cyke1

    If you think about it makes wireless providers a much larger player in broadband market since speed will be most consistent.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    And the world will only need 5 computers

    This is a experiment, a proof of concept of a new technology that will undoubtedly one day make its way into our hands - either directly or through combinations with other technology. Think hybrid cars.

    It might not be the same frequency, or even the same multiplexing/splitting/whatever they're doing to achieve it, but it will influence and impact future technologies.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    headline-grabbing technique

    it works though, innit? See your own article (and headline). And it doesn't matter WHAT you say about the subject matter, what matters is free advertising, courtesy of you, the Register (and no doubt, countless other sources), where SAMSUNG is mentioned, in the context of ultra-super-mobile comms more than once. It drives google ratings, people notice, click, read a couple of lines, see the name Samsung. All free of charge, job done.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: headline-grabbing technique

      >what matters is free advertising, courtesy of you, the Register

      True, Samsung regularly get a mention on The Reg, but then so do Apple, yesterday a snippet about an upcoming Sony phone, and last week a favourable HTC review, not to mention Windows phone OS and Nokia handsets, and articles about Blackberry's new offerings...

      Even without the '5G' tag, surely even a generic 'boffins do something cunning with radio which might affect us in a few years' is worthy of a Reg article?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: headline-grabbing technique

        but the shock-horror-outrage is what makes the story stand out from the daily drone on what apple, sony, samsung, hp, and the lot have done - and that was, probably intentional, when samsung released their 5G fart.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: headline-grabbing technique

      At least it's less nauseating than those newspaper fluff pieces where an insurance company that wants to see its name in lights commissions some 'research' into what we get up to in our cars while waiting for traffic lights to change, or perhaps how many people find pandas cute if it really wants to get down wid da kiz innit. Bleahh.

  5. Mage Silver badge


    This isn't even new.

    But 28GHz is more appropriate to feeding masts, car roofs from space or roof top aerials. My Broadband is by Fixed Wireless at 10.6GHz, the aerial panel (outdoors, high up) gets a Mast 14km away and has an array of 64 aerials in it. It's six years old.

    There may be a 5G. But it won't be this.

  6. theblackhand


    I'm expecting marketing people to come up with 5G/6G/7G/8G/9G etc phones for the conceivable future. There will be slight feature differences (i.e. 6G phones will have a picture of the company CEO mooning people while facing left etched in a microdot while 7G phones will have the CEO facing right etched in a microdot....) but will perform close to identically for end users....

    The only reason for ending the mindless drivel will be:

    a) consumers stop falling for it

    b) something even better comes along

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    5G? It will come

    > There will NEVER be a 5G network

    It's a marketing term and as such will be rolled out whenever the marketing people think it will help them sell more phones.

    Just as most O/S's today are, to all intents and purposes, virtually identical to the ones that preceded them ... and them ... and them - going back at least 10 years and a good case could be made for longer, too. So 5G will become the "thing" as soon as 4G sales start to stagnate. There might be some insignificant new feature, that all the journos who make their living from hyping up such insignificant features <ahem>! will hail as being the best thing since sliced bread.

    However, these new, more expensive, 5G phones will still be used mainly to talk to people and send them text messages - just like mobiles were used for 20 years ago.

  8. Canopus

    Welcome to the real world....

    ...of techno marketing hype. Nothing new under the sun unless you spend your life with your head in the sand (or in standardisation committees - which some may argue is pretty much the same)

    Give me one technology company which is not using spin doctors to make bold claims about "revolutionary breakthroughs", "disruptive technologies" or other "killer apps" ?

    You might remember in the late 1990's quite a few bold statements claiming similar breakthroughs in "3G" when the UMTS specifications were not even completed.

    So what are we supposed to do? Hang all spin doctors and PR types and only let stolid engineers publish statements after they have been peer-reviewed by the "ministry of truth"?

    Hummm.... but in such a world of perfect factual communication what would we have left to complain about?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Coward's View...

    How does naming a new technology "5G" make it hyperbolic? I don't get it. I don't think Samsung was the only one going for eyeballs.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: A Coward's View...

      Yes, it's still only parabolic.

  10. Katz

    Just a headline grabber eh? It didn't work then did it? Oh wait.. doh

  11. JetSetJim

    Uni of Surrey

    Note that their "private sponsorship" includes names such as Huawei, Telefonica, Fujitsu and ...... Samsung

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G WHY at All ?

    Why do we need higher speeds really ? For movies...on the phone ?

    Or maybe i will upload that instagram piece of shit sooner than anyone else...

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: 5G WHY at All ?

      For movies...on the phone ?

      But it'll mean we can watch them in ultra high definition on our mobiles with 5G. At 2am. Standing within a hundred metres of the mast. On a fine night. If you have superhuman eyes or like to watch through a magnifying lens you might even be able to see additional detail.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: 5G WHY at All ?

      I'd quite like to see it used for broadband - much easier to deploy than "better copper" or fibre...

      Just pop an antenna array onto your chimney and point it at the local base station.

      Also likely to get better choice of providers and more reliable service (given how bad my copper often is)

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: 5G WHY at All ?

        I'd quite like to see it used for broadband - much easier to deploy than "better copper" or fibre

        Trouble is it's a shared medium. Something that's often overlooked (deliberately by marketing departments) is that whatever the mast/technology throughput - it's still shared by everyone within the mast footprint. 10Gb/s sounds great but if the mast is in central London it's not so hot, especially for streaming.

        At least with wired solutions the medium has very low contention. Even better cable technologies can usually fix localised contention issues. For BT's FTTC you just light another fibre to the cab (worst case is blow another bundle but that's easy enough). For cable it's a bit more awkward and involves installing a new cab but still - it's not that big a deal.

        For wireless it means building a new mast and providing backhaul which is a lot more complex and the laws of physics may prevent it altogether.

    3. philbo

      Re: 5G WHY at All ?

      For movies: filth-generation mobile

    4. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: 5G WHY at All ?

      For things like (future better versions of) Google Glass -- full video feeds of everything you look at stored in the cloud for you (or the spooks) to go back to later, overlaid with full augmented reality overlays and head-up displays, etc. Specialised video and data feeds (two way) for various jobs (emergency services, doctors, ...). Automatic monitoring and control of high speed machines (driverless cars, drones, etc).

      And a whole lot of other things we haven't thought of yet which can be enabled by having cloud-based (i.e. network based) services with access to a personal or mobile environment at speeds which are currently only available for local storage and processors - saving power, weight, cost, etc.

      Sure, wired connections will always be faster/cheaper but they are neither personal nor mobile.

      1. paulll

        Re: 5G WHY at All ?

        "And a whole lot of other things we haven't thought of yet which can be enabled by having cloud-based..." AHhh, it's for the 'cloud'. Well that's ok then.

  13. Brainman

    There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network?

    Despite your grammatical ass-covering, "almost certainly never", it has to be done:

    There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network - The Register, 2013

    Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput - Sir Alan Sugar, 2005

    Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time - Bill Gates, 2004

    We will never make a 32-bit operating system - Bill Gates, 1989

    I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time - Bill Gates, 1987

    640K ought to be enough for anybody - no-one, certainly not Bill Gates, 1981

    There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home - DEC founder Ken Olsen, 1977

    Data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year - Editor of Prentice Hall business books, 1957

    Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons - Popular Mechanics, 1949

    I think there is a world market for maybe five computers - someone but not IBM Chairman, Thomas Watson, 1943

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network?

      "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons - Popular Mechanics, 1949"

      This one is correct though... my computer weighs less than 1.5 tons

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network?

        The last one may have been correct, too, at the time it was said. It doesn't seem to be referring to the distant future.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There will almost certainly never be a "5G" mobile broadband network?

      "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home"

      I'd say he was right about this, eventually. It turns out that what (most) people want in their home are easy to use internet-connected devices such as TVs, mobile phones, MP3 players, tablets - all of which have a major design aim of not being computers (to the user).

  14. Steve Todd

    Does LTE on the 1800MHz band not count as 4G?

    EE will be upset to find that out.

  15. Velv

    What is a standard and what is a capability?

    Sorry, but you clearly missed the point that 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G are capabilities, and Standards (GDM, CDMA, EDGE, LTE) are the how.

    There has been too much media misuse of the G term, giving the impression it is a standard. Apple has been a huge marketing leader of this misuse, but journalists have followed the bandwagon so much so that all the manufacturers are caught in the same loop.

    3G telecommunication networks support services that provide an information transfer rate of at least 200 kbit/s. 4G service must have 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s) for high mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1 gigabit per second (Gbit/s) for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users).

    Nothing in 3G or 4G mandates the protocol, frequency, or any other parameter to deliver the capability.

    So there WILL be a 5G (capability). Now, is Samsung's tech going to meet that? That cannot be said at this time, since clearly no standards exist.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: What is a standard and what is a capability?

      indeed. It will still have a use as PTP comms. Perhaps they will pump >1gb and have a healthy set of device patents at the same time.

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: What is a standard and what is a capability?

      The mobile telephony Generations were primarily about signalling:

      1890s: 0G - Radiotelephone, ad-hoc call setup

      1970s: 1G - Analogue voice, automated circuit-switching

      1990s: 2G - Digital voice,circuit-switching

      1990s: 2.5G - (e.g., GPRS, EDGE) transition to 3G by adding packet data services

      2000s: 3G - Digital voice (circuit switched), packet-switched data

      2013: 3G-LTE - ("4G" if you work in marketing), transitioning from 3G to 4G systems

      2010s: 4G - Fully packet-switched signalling for voice and data.

      Basically, a term that used to have a reasonably well-defined meaning has become a marketing buzzword with little releation to reality (cf "Megahertz", "processor cores"), so Samsung have as much right to call their experimental air-interface "5G" as AT&T had to call their 3G-LTE service "4G".

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: What is a standard and what is a capability?

      What don't people understand about 3G being the "third generation" of radio communication protocols, encompassing whatever you consider to be in that particular generation (e.g. LTE, etc.).

      No fixed definition, merely a rough border on when something enters a whole new generation (e.g. MIMO, I would class as a new generation of radio communication, 64-antenna MIMO certainly sounds like something way-out-there in another generation again).

      How does this differ from people who offer generational names to consoles (e.g. SNES and Megadrive in the same generation), or even processors (single-core, dual-core, huge-SMP, etc.).

      What matters is not the name, nor the technology, just people to recognise that we aren't talking about something specific at all. And the name even reflects that (i.e. everyone has 3G now, 4G is the "new" stuff that people are trying to deploy, and 5G would be the generation after 4G is in place for most people and they want something more).

      Samsung have a 5G product. It's not standardised as there are no standards yet. But when they arrive it will form part of the fifth generation of mobile communications protocols used in mobile phones, no doubt. The same way that UMTS and CDMA both were part of the third generation, and LTE, WiMax, etc. are probably going to be part of the fourth.

      Hence why I quietly giggle when someone says their "3G" phone from abroad doesn't work in "3G" over here. It's like saying your Megadrive doesn't play SNES games. Of course.

      Rather than accuse Samsung of misusing the term here, which they are probably the only ones who haven't done so, let's just educate people that 3G isn't a "thing", but a "concept". It's like saying in my dad's generation we went into space and onto the moon. It doesn't mean everybody on the planet at the time went there, or that we all went in the same shuttle at the same time.

      Talking 'bout my GENERATION.

  16. Shagbag

    I'm waiting for 6G

    Or do I already have it - and that I'm just not using and/or paying for it at the mo?

  17. Tom 35

    There will almost certainly will be a "5G" mobile broadband network

    It will almost certainly be marketing BS.

    Bell Canada call LTE 4G Super phone (because they already called 3.5G 4G). You can be sure the next improvement will be called 5G.

    1. Arthur 1

      Re: There will almost certainly will be a "5G" mobile broadband network

      Bell Canada was also the first thing that came to mind here. The single most irresponsible service provider on the planet, I'd wager.

      In 2009 they finally got around to rolling out 21 Mbps HSPA in a few locations and called it "the world's largest 4G network". Just ludicrous what you can get away with when you have a mandated duopoly and complete (and I do mean COMPLETE) regulatory capture.

  18. Mombasa69

    haha tw@ts

    The Samsung Fanboy tw@ts want there to be a 5G, I can see the dumb nerdy f***s getting all excited just thinking about it.

    1. Bod

      Re: haha tw@ts

      Yet when Apple patents 5G (and they certainly will try), you'll be wanking all over it.

  19. Bod

    Forget 5G, 4G doesn't really exist...

    ...for the majority and won't be available to most people probably until the same time, 2020. If ever.

    Hell, 3G for me is virtually non existent most places I go. I barely even get a signal on my daily commute on the train, even 2G, and it's through the towns of the heavily populated South East. Zero signal at all in the countryside, 2G only at home yet in a big town. Barely 3G at the office (drifts between 3G and no signal, battery draining like mad as a result).

  20. Piro Silver badge

    Just upgrade the wiring of the bloody UK first

    My connection speeds are no better (infact, worse, due to traffic shaping) than that which I had TEN years ago.

    It's a piss-poor embarrassment. I don't need my phone to be so fast I can blow through my allowances in seconds, but I would like to have a decent connection when I'm at home.

    I know this has nothing to do with Samsung, but it was just an excuse to rant, really.

  21. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    The Samsung Tractor/Trailer arrives at the USPTO HQ loaded with 10,067 patent applications and ties the whole schebang down so hard that no one else will be able to build anything more than a 4G phone for the next 19year + extensions.

    Nuke for obvious reasons.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clever, these Japanese.

    My Hyundai was 7G's though I expect it's only worth about 5G's now that there are some miles on it.

    1. Goat Jam

      Re: Clever, these Japanese.

      Umm, both Samsung and Hyundai are Sth Korean, but nice try dude.

  23. RTNavy


    Where is the next Bieber/Ozzy commercial?

  24. jonathanb Silver badge

    I'm going to stick my neck out here

    There *will* be a 5G mobile technology at some point in the future.

    It probably won't look much like what Samsung recently demonstrated, though maybe some of the ideas will be incorporated into the final standard. This is a very initial first attempt at it, and I'm sure there is still a lot of tweaking to be done. Probably it will use spectum vacated by older technologies, but Samsung can't demonstrate on that at the moment, because those slots are still in use.

  25. Oninoshiko

    Those academics should know: they're spending more than £11m in government cash, along with private sponsorship, to find out what technologies will dominate the future iterations of wireless connectivity.

    Good to know the government contenues to fund the Department of Divinology, Psychic, and Paranormal Research!

    So, how do they make their predictions? I'm going with either Tarot or a Ouija Board. Gotta love the tried and "true" approches.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Are you smoking a crack pipe?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget the Vodafone boss...

    ...who said in the early 1980's that they thought the worldwide market for mobile phones was only a few hundred thousand (or something like that).

    (Well, at the prices then, it would have been true!)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really sure what the point of this article is. Samsung can call it what they want, it's the underlying technology and its capabilities that matter.

  28. Rexx

    My Grampa always told me "Never say 'Never', cause never is a really long time".

  29. nhirsch
    Thumb Down

    This writer is like the guy who quit from the Patent office in the 1800's because he didn't think anything else would be invented.

  30. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Sucks to be you...

    Sucks to be you, Bod (reception-wise.) Here in the States, I recently went on a 1000 mile road trip (well 2000 round trip), and had slacker streaming virtually the whole way. I had 4G (LTE) about 50-60% of the way (6-20mbps usually, I did see 80mbps in New Jersey..), 3G (EVDO) for the rest (typically 400kbps-1mbps, but over 2mbps at times... peak on this is 3.1mbps in a 1.25mhz channel). I had maybe 5 miles of no service, and 4 or 5 miles 1x (which is 144kbps peak.. realistically, 80-100kbps.) Oddly the biggest dead zone we encountered was NOT in the mountains, it's dead for a good 3 or 4 miles at the ohio/indiana state line. It's a surprise for me to not see at least 3G on my travels, seeing no service is quite rare.

  31. rav

    There will never......

    be a 5g network.

    a man walking on the moon.

    be a sun setting on the British Empire.

    Other infamous truths...

    The check is in the mail.

    You are the biggest.

    You are the first.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: There will never......

      Point of order, the phrase was "the sun never sets on the British Empire". It had no temporal quality; it was a statement of the fact that the empire spanned the entire globe, and therefore had sun shining on some part of it all the time.

  32. Christian Berger

    5G may not be about speed

    There's plenty of problems with current systems aside from speed. Speed is already something LTE Advanced tackles.

    Maybe 5G will be about avoiding patents, or about cutting down the required infrastructure and making the network mesh like. There are a lot of things that could go into 5G.

  33. David Gale

    5G = Wi-Fi

    'Mobile phone' network coverage is already geographically fragmented, so why wouldn't a new player come in and seize the urban market by partnering with a local authority's street lighting provider. A mesh Wi-Fi network run from antennae equipped streetlights could bring in much needed revenue for local government (and reduce their comms costs), at the same time as providing up to gigabit internet access.

    The traditional telcos cling on to the current modus operandi despite knowing that their traditional operating and technology models risks being challenged. Why would I make a traditional voice call / send a text, if I could add much more functionality to a call or text using Skype / Facebook / Twitter? The traditional telcos had better hope that the IT world maintains its barrow boy focus on the short term... or get into bed with them very quickly.

    David Gale

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: 5G = Wi-Fi

      >So why wouldn't a new player come in and seize the urban market by partnering with a local authority's street lighting provider.

      Whilst it isn't a mesh network, BT did this some years back with Westminster CC, it enabled Westminster CC to more rapidly and cheaply expand the coverage of its own (private) public space management WiFi network.

      From memory I'm under the impression that a couple of other cities also entered similar deals - did your work at Derby go to this level of detail?

  34. Lee Burridge

    Improve coverage not speed

    3G is fine for the majority of users but living only 20 miles or so outside of London there is very little 3G coverage and zero 4G. Companies should be investing in improving 3G and 4G rather than finding 1gbps 5G style networks.

    If 5G networks come out I can see websites rushing back to rich content again which makes me sad.

  35. eggomiego

    Do a little research first

    4G and 5G just refer to the generation (4th and 5th generation.) LTE Advanced and the likes are just 4th Generation based standards, just like HSPA+ is the fastest 3rd generation standard.

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