Anyone who has been in a block of a wireless in-store store or tech conference for the past few years has no doubt seen banners, posters, and videos that carried 5G high-speed wireless services along the way.
The last time I remembered any technology so hyped up before the release or introduction of the mainstream was 3D TV. Well, we know how that turned out.
Will 5G share the same fate? Yes and no.
Of course, our Wi-Fi speeds are getting faster, and these higher speeds result in lower latency, which supports the emergence and robustness of IoT, games, and AR cloud computing.  While 5G will almost certainly improve life for wireless consumers and cloud cloud-based businesses, the industry's full frontal marketing attack to promote 5G, like the 3D TV promotions before, to be misguided. When talking about tech events like CES and the like, 5G promotions are certainly expected. But the labeling of cities with 5G advertising for end users usually falls on deaf ears and does not drum up as much excitement as there is such crude advertising for other products and services.
Why? Well, it's one thing to promote such service for businesses and startups, but consumers want the fastest, most accessible product. There is no reason to rethink this.
Do you remember the excitement around 3G? What about 4G? The parties on the streets were epic and the social media memes to each one were hilarious and imaginative ̵
Unfortunately, I suspect that the real purpose of all this marketing is very convenient. Although some may expect consumers to dizzy with all the promises around 5G, it is much more likely that these mobile phone companies will so strongly promote the service because of the increased prices they can charge. All this Blue Sky marketing is a polite warning: Prepare your bank accounts for a little more pain.
These higher prices will help pay for the billions of infrastructure rollout of new 5G networks and new 5G smartphone components, and all this will make wireless businesses healthy. According to some estimates the pure cost of production for many of these new 5G phones could account for 20% of the total cost of production.
Contrary to the hype about 3D TVs, a product only needed or wanted a few. The wireless service has become a useful foundation of our daily lives.
So, if big companies force a massive changeover, most will have no choice but to pay the (probably higher) price for the new phones and service packages. And consumers can not just choose "5G not for me," as was the case with 3D TV.
For mobile operators, this strategy is perfectly logical from a business perspective. But the relentless 5G promotions and the high promises they contain (despite extremely limited 5G coverage for the years to come) are becoming increasingly difficult. Some reports assume that Apple's iPhones will not be activated for 5G until 2020 or later.
And the constant buzzing of 5G bandits gets even more annoying when the definition of 5G is tarnished by the selling companies. Sprint recently sued AT & T for honoring its latest service "5GE", "5G E" and "5G Evolution" as "True 5G".
"The importance of AT & T's deception can not be overstated," was the Sprint lawsuit. "By falsely claiming it offers a 5G wireless network that only offers a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT & T is trying to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated mobile market."
Calling AT & T to refer to something This is not quite 5G as "5G". Sprint tries to stop the confusion of consumers before it starts. But it is already too late.
There are already numerous stories published by mainstream outlets explaining why AT & T 5GE is not 5G. For randomly tech-savvy consumers who serve as information channels for their networks, the term 5G is already another new corridor in a long and confusing jumble of buzz words and letters.
What does that mean for AR and the promises of 5G around it? Not much in the short term. Even if 5G was widely available and cheap, we still do not have portable AR devices that could use such networks.
At the moment, Enterprise AR is probably the place where the best examples of 5G will show off what's possible. Based on the Magic Leap software roadmap released around this time last year, the company will soon begin implementing enterprise solutions. This seems to be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the strength of its (real-world) 5G relationship with AT & T.
Although we are still on hold for consumer AR devices that might use 5G, this indicates all signals that our ubiquitous portable 5G portable AR future is imminent.
Perception: 5G will change everything in AR.
Next Reality: 5G means higher mobile phone bills, but do not expect drastic improvements in AR mobility as the rollout becomes painfully slow in most cases
This entry was made as part of our Future of AR series. Take a look at the whole series.