AT&T Mobility head: Let's cool it with the 5G hype

An AT&T Wireless store in Times Square in New York on Thursday, August 12, 2010. (© Richard B. Levine)

Hoping to splash a bit of cold water on Verizon's 5G testing news, AT&T Mobility chief Glenn Lurie is promoting a "wait and see" approach for the next generation of wireless technology. "We're not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is," Lurie told CNET at the CTIA trade show last week. "We as an industry have been really good at overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to new technology." While it may just sound like damage control from AT&T, Lurie does have a point. Verizon's announcement that it would begin testing 5G next year, with the possibility of beginning its 5G rollout in 2017, seems premature when we don't even know what that technology will ultimately look like. Lurie's comments also feel like a repeat of history: Verizon (which owns Engadget and AOL) started testing 4G LTE before AT&T back in 2008, at which point AT&T also promoted caution around the new tech.

While LTE has the potential to be faster than most home broadband connections (especially as carriers adopt new spectrum and network upgrades), 5G could end up being 50 times faster than LTE's peak capabilities. That would make it even faster than Google Fiber's gigabit speeds. Additionally, you can expect much less latency with next-gen networks.

In response to the AT&T slam, a Verizon representative told CNET, "Innovation happens when you're willing to look at things a little differently than others, and you're willing to put in the hard work to make your vision a reality." Burn.

[Photo credit: Richard Levine / Alamy]