back to article It is but 'LTE with new shoes': Industry bod points a judgy finger at the US and Korea's 5G fakery

A leading industry figure has dismissed 5G "launches" in Korea and the United States as "LTE with new shoes". Colin Willcock, Nokia's head of Radio Network Standardization and chair of the 5G Infrastructure Association (IA), made the remarks last week in London. The 5G IA represents the supply side and liaises with the …

  1. KarMann Silver badge

    "It's about who gets the best, not who gets the first, he said."

    Did he tell Sony about this? I'm sure they'd love to hear how well Betamax is doing these days.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      I think it's more like the examples given in the article - if you try to be first with a non-standard technology you risk to be obsolescent quickly when all the others deploy the standard one.

      Anyway, I can't but smirk about 5G "NSA"....

    2. JimmyPage

      Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

      Betamax lost because while Sony was beefing up the tech, the VHS consortium was busy making exclusive VHS-only deals with the big studios (probably for peanuts, as the studios couldn't see the future of home video).

      If you wonder why Sony started buying record companies and studios in the 90s, it was to ensure they had the content for the Next Big Thing. Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs, both of which died a death and I can't remember which one was Sony, the whole affair was a massive ->

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

        DAT and Minidiscs were both Sony, and they were both killed by Digital Restrictions Management, and writable CDs appeared which didn't have DRM.

        No, JVC licenced VHS to anybody, plus VHS had double the recording time. Sony didn't license it at all, and made really expensive Betamax decks.

        So something that was cheaper AND recorded twice as long was an obvious win, because people perceived the quality differences as minor.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

          > DAT and Minidiscs were both Sony, and they were both killed by Digital Restrictions Management, and writable CDs appeared which didn't have DRM.

          Minidiscs were doing well in the UK after the appearance of writable CDs, since a portable CD player can not help but be bulky and skip-prone. It was the arrival MP3 players that killed Minidisc, though Minidisc might have gained more traction if the early generations could be 6ses for computer data storage ( in the age of Zip Disks)

          1. ThadiasVonBasterd

            Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

            I still have a Minidisc in my home studio setup recording any jams i ahve, Quite a few musicians i know still use it. The quality was more than adequate and for archiving its a hell of a lot less volatile than USB sticks or SD cards.

      2. Joe Drunk
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

        I've also read that another contributing factor was Sony's refusal to release any pr0n on Betamax - it was all VHS in the back room of the video rental stores.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

          That's an urban myth. I'm going not to search for "betamax porn" on my work computer to find the references.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

            Yeah, the "Betamax didn't have porn" explanation is widely-circulated, but I remember hearing some (fact-backed) scepticism as to its veracity. It's one of those things you suspect has as much to do with it being a catchy explanation as with it being the truth.

            I suspect there were a number of factors. IMHO, one that sounds more plausible to me is that when Betamax first came out it could only fit an hour's recording onto a single cassette- not enough for a complete film, and not enough for most sports. Like it or not, that would have been a major drawback and reason to choose VHS instead.

            I mean, people go on about Betamax's less bulky cassettes, but they seem to miss the fact that this appears to have been mainly due to a trade off with recording time, and one that it paid the price for.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

        You see what happens when instead of agreeing on a single standard - as it was done with the CD - companies started to multiply them, and making them all incompatible. To replace the compact cassette analogue tape you got DCC, DAT and MiniDisc. All of them had limited consumer success - and were soon replaced by CD-Rs - which were less expensive, and were compatible with a far lager number of devices (HiFi systems, car audio, computers, etc.).

        1. crayon

          Re: "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

          Sony didn't learn and continued their mistakes in promoting their "whatever is was called" equivalent of CF and SD memory cards.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

            Actually there it had some kind of success, because the newer CFExpress standard is basically the old Sony XQD one (the form factor for 1-2 lanes CFExpress cards is the same) with NVMe on top of it as the standard storage protocol - and an upgrade path using more PCIe lanes.

            But here Sony did use an established standard like PCI Express instead of attempting to use something more proprietary. What was missing was the standard HCI/storage protocol.

          2. paulf

            Re: "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

            Memory Stick. I still have a 4MB (yes MB) example at home, plus a 512MB in my old Sony digital camera (kept primarily for the night vision mode).

            They always loved the proprietary lock in. Even their early digital camera USB cables were their own design - the socket on the camera was not a standard USB so the replacement cables were £30 instead of £5.

            1. Schultz

              ...Sony... always loved the proprietary lock in

              Yeah, they tried to be Apple even before Apple figured out how to be Apple.

              ... apple not falling far from the tree ... there must be a joke in there but I can't find it.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

          And this could be a problem for the mobile companies, too. Or less a problem for them than another reason for us to dislike them. I currently have trouble figuring out which providers a given device will support. Of course, if it's a GSM device, it will work on any GSM network, easy enough. But this only guarantees me voice, text, and some semblance of data that doesn't really work. If I want to use 4G or even 3G, I have to match up LTE bands (4G) or at least frequency bands (3G) with the ones the provider is going to use. And there are very few devices that actually include most or all of them, instead choosing some seemingly random selection to accommodate some provider they have in mind. If the 5G people are going to carve up the spectrum again, I predict another set of bands that will never be the same across providers or devices.

        3. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: "Although given the NBT was DAT and Minidiscs"

          DAT lived on for computer backups- I still have a couple DAT DDS-4 tapes in our archive, and we still have a SCSI-based drive to read them... just in case. (TBH, though, I think the data on those actually goes out of retention this year or next, so we can dump that over the side finally.)

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Sony, Betamax, and content over tech ..

        "If you wonder why Sony started buying record companies and studios in the 90s, it was to ensure they had the content for the Next Big Thing"

        What ended up happening was that those companies turned out to be a poison pill(*) and Sony ended up adopting their values instead of bending them to Sony's will.

        The same thing happened when Google hoovered up Doubleclick instead of letting it die. Now Doubleclick's inarguably evil (and probably criminal) execs have control on the board of Alphabet.

        (*) Sony was _much_ bigger than the movie/audio companies - they're surprisingly small in terms of both capital value and turnover but manage to do a good pufferfish imitation. Eating one of these companies is on par with eating "The Stuff"(**) - they start digesting you from the inside and leave you somewhat zombielike.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like he's making excuses

      Yes, the "5G E" stuff is LTE is sheep's clothing, but there are some launches of "real" 5G taking place. It doesn't require new antennas or new spectrum - if it is using 5G protocols you can use existing cellular spectrum (and therefore existing antennas) and it is 5G.

      It isn't going to have the crazy high speeds being hyped, of course. For that you need giant swathes of spectrum, and those simply aren't available in the low bands because math. That's where you need the millimeter wave spectrum that does require new antennas - and also creates a lot of new problems since those frequencies can't pass through hands, heads, walls or even a leaf.

    4. JohnFen

      Apples and oranges.

      Sony vs Betamax are about global sales of consumer devices. 5G is a service that covers limited geographic areas. Country A and country B each provide their own wireless infrastructure. If country A does it first, that doesn't make or break country B's ability to roll out their own infrastructure.

      I still have yet to see any solid argument for why 5G rollouts should be treated like a race at all, let alone why it's important to come in first in it. The whole thing just smells incredibly scammy all around.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

    Yup....there are folk out there saying that IPv6 plus 5G means that LAN technology and NAT will be obsolete real soon now.


    Now I can think of two groups of people who would JUST LOVE FOR THIS TO BECOME TRUE:

    1. BAD ACTORS. GCHQ, the NSA and goodness knows who else. Everything now traverses the public network.....nothing is private (behind a NAT router)

    2. NETWORK PROVIDERS. More $$$$$


    How long before you can't buy a laptop or a printer without a 5G client (and with NO WiFi provision)? (No need to worry about smartphones....they will be on 5G first.)


    1. Spamfast
      Thumb Down

      Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

      Everything now traverses the public network.....nothing is private

      IPv6 does not prevent you from using PNAT to hide your entire personal/corporate LAN behind a single public IPv6 address and reject all unsolicited incoming datagrams. It's also perfectly possible to have all your devices have a global IPv6 address but to configure your border router/firewall to reject all incoming datagrams not associated with an outgoing TCP connection or recent outgoing UDP datagram.

      I doubt the architecture of most existing NATted private LANs is going to change to let everything in when IPv6 is implemented outside the gateway as well as inside.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        The difference is they'll probably know the address of every user device.

        While it's probable that IPv6 firewall/routers will have some default rules to block unsolicited incoming traffic, the real issue is not external attacks, it's the privacy issue - it will be easier to track each connected device when it gets a routable IP which may also rarely change. It will become a very useful (almost) unique identifier.

        While today NAT is a necessity as routable IP are too scarce, so ISPs can't do without despite being unable to "peek" into internal networks, once NAT is no longer needed, most deployments will use the simplest and less private set up. It will take very little to correlate data and pinpoint which kind of user uses what - and target it directly for whatever need.

        Only a relatively small percentage of users will undergo the hassle of configuring their network to hide the internal devices.

        IPv6 was designed well before electronic privacy was understood to be at risk - and probably they thought that one PC in each house was enough.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

      They're not going to kill WiFi any time soon. That's not really feasible, since 5G systems won't provide as much bandwidth or certainty, and since there are so many WiFi devices out there. And it's so easy to have an internal network with or without NAT, that's not going to happen either. I fully expect that NAT will continue to be used even as IPV6 eventually gets rolled out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?


        Quote: "They're not going to kill WiFi any time soon."


        Read this Bloomberg Business article, and then tell me again about WiFi.


        And then there's all the comments here about IPv6 routers. But, again, this Bloomberg article implies that every new car will have its own IPv6 address. Then there's the brilliant future of the so called Internet of things, where every "smart" device on the planet will have its own IPv6 address. Tell me again why GCHQ, the NSA and all the other bad actors out there won't just love this. Pushed by Qualcomm, BMW and others.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

      IPv6 removes the possibility of just using a NAT-only device for a firewall - you now have to be able to handle proper stateful inspection in order to use NAT and properly firewall IPv6 versus sort of being able to get away with NAT-only with IPv4.

      The big difference is that IPv6-capable devices can probably already do stateful firewalling because they aren't using a design that's short of RAM/CPU to actually handle modern traffic rates.

      1. s2bu

        Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

        You already *HAVE* to do stateful in order to do PAT for the connection tracking!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about the ugly hype linking 5G and IPv6?

          "You already *HAVE* to do stateful in order to do PAT for the connection tracking!"

          I would suggest looking at some of the early NAT implementations - they were anything but stateful, just connection tables with time outs.

  3. el kabong

    America already working on 6G

    Trump's orders, the plan is to leapfrog 5G and win, win BIG.

    The win will be so BIG, so powerful, so strong that no one will dare mess with it!


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: America already working on 6G

      America's 6G is just Korea's (and the rest of the worlds) 5G in the 6GHz frequency band. They continue to try and mislead their technical inferiority.

      Korea, like Australia has already released a REAL 5G network, unfortunately Trump is trying to nobble it with 18month old US technology, instead of the latest and greatest from Huawei (China).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: America already working on 6G

      It's not Trump, it's about infrastructure.

      5G doesn't look like it will deliver what it promises on existing infrastructure - it will require much greater tower density. For covering large areas with existing tower locations, it looks like 5G may deliver similar speeds to current 4G and any potential speed improvements come down to higher bit rates - the US is therefore attempting to bolt on the higher bit rates to existing 4G infrastructure to minimise the upgrade costs.

      As for "real" 5G, the US, Korea and Europe aren't leaping to move to it aside from some trials and many of the trials are showing that MUCH higher tower densities are required. UK telco's hopes for moving to taller, European height masts to address rural coverage issues aren't looking promising at this stage.

      Personally, I think this is pragmatism (bump up bandwidth for minimal cost) versus idealism (the promise of actual next generation mobile data and a significant increase in available bandwidth for large numbers of end devices). If gen-1 5G is a bust, the pragmatic approach will have been correct, if gen-1 5G causes a massive increase in data usage, those that took the pragmatic approach will be left behind. I suspect the best decision for mature 4G networks is likely to be the pragmatic approach at present - as 5G gets closer to prime time this may change but I'm sceptical based on current challenges.

      The marketing honesty of calling this 5G is left as an exercise for the reader.

  4. Frank Bitterlich

    Not surprising...

    To avoid this kind of BS starting as soon as the standard is on paper, names for new technologies are usually trademarked. It looks to me like this didn't happen with 5G or 5G NR. So this was kind of predictable...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 4G in Europe is fast enough that I'm happy for others to try 5.0G (or 5.0rc1G, looks more like), and wait a little to get less buggy 5.1G.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Judging by early reviews in America of Verizon's 5G service, that's not a bad plan.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      I think I'll wait until 5GSP3 is available.

    3. JohnFen

      As they heavyweight 5G techs keep saying (and keep being ignored), us normal people are unlikely to see any sort of game-changing improvements from 5G aside from one.

      5G isn't for us. It's for the carriers, to help help them cope with usage rates that are bumping up against the limits of what are possible with earlier technologies. That's the one thing that ordinary people who live in very congested areas are likely to see: fewer dropped calls and greater availability of the network.

      We are unlikely to see vastly increased performance or throughput.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Whereas the lightweight 5G techs blather on about fibre replacement, and rural broadband.

        Then Government and "regulators" latch on and so sensible rural broadband (except for the B4RN model) gets dropped for wireless USO. Bleah.

  6. Mage Silver badge


    It and Flash-OFDMA were doomed, but they are 4G, just not LTE 4G.

    However most marketing and press about so called "5G" is hype. It's not even about the speed and capacity unless it's one of the new bands above 5GHz, which are only good for stadiums, auditoriums, open plan offices etc. Even most of the 4G marketing of speed is totally misleading, and in the same size channels there isn't much difference. Channel aggregation only works if few people are using the network and the signals are good. Adding more masts adds capacity and thus speed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it doesn't have QoS and low latency, The typical pillock still swallows marketing on speed only. More clueless than the typical numpty.

    I'll take a bandwidth hit in exchange for low latency, but then I don't do the lowest common denominator thing watching cat videos. No, not a gamer, automatic controls... Most gamers barely have a clue, but at least they dimly know that they want to pull the trigger and not wait an eternal 50mS for something to happen at the server.

  8. Simon Rockman

    5G Evolution would be a name for 6G (whatever that is)

    The orign of the name "LTE" as in Long Term Evolution was a 3GPP committee which wanted to set a 4G standard but whose remit was only 3G, so they discussed "3G LTE" by which they meant "4G". 4G was the long term evolution of 3G so 5G E, would be an evolution of 5G, as in what comes after, and it's far too early to think abou that. Indeed we may never get 6G :

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misleading summary?

    Don't blame the US for this. (Although there's plenty of other crap you can blame us for.)

    AFAIK that 5GE is pure AT&T. If you want to blame someone, blame them directly.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Misleading summary?

      Why not? We have been caught with our pants around our ankles -- our carriers would have been only too pleased to buy Huawei kit, put their own marketing spin and labels on it and resell it at a markup until it all went political. Suddenly we had not only the Big Bad Chinese to worry about but the shortage of alternative kit (especially stuff that could carry lucrative patent lockins like Qualcomm's with 4G). The result is we're getting deluged with pseudo-5G kit, stuff on street lights that has minimal range and no ability to penetrate, effectively an overpriced 'last mile' solution for an area that already is well covered by fiber and coaxial broadband solutions (but in the case of where I live, extremely spotty 4G coverage). John Q Public is not focusing on this, of course, all the letters in the local paper focus on the danger of blanketing our neighborhoods with damaging "Electromagnetic Radiation" (pointing out that there might be a connection between EMR and those ubiqutous solar panels on roofs and car parks is, of course, pointless).

      I spent the last 20 years of my working life dealing with ruthless outsourcing as companies searched for yet more dollars to feed their debt burden, shareholders or just the sales and management maw. I might be forgiven for enjoying just a touch of schadenfreude over this. I also think that if proper 5G ever comes to fruition it won't be used for the benefit of mankind but to permit the leasing of just about every aspect of our lives -- it will be like those dystopian sci-fi novels where every aspect of your life, right down to the door of your apartment, would want money to operate. (Think 'smart meters' on steroids....)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Misleading summary?

        Yes Martinusher,

        You've nailed succinctly the unfolding scenario. We are the product. Period.

        Capitalism at its worst now. Wonder who calls the shots now.

  10. AndyD 8-)₹ users around 900Mbps

    If I can get that I don't care what they call it!

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: users around 900Mbps

      I, on the other hand, don't want that, regardless of what they call it.

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