3. 5G will replace 4G
Another assumption that Onoe loves to challenge is that 5G networks will quickly render 4G obsolete. Not so, he says. The dominance of a new wireless network is more of an evolution than a sudden debut. "Of course this happens eventually but not overnight,” he says.
In this case, too, history is on his side. No wireless network has ever wholly replaced its predecessor, if only because there are so many areas of the world such as Bangladesh where 3G and even 2G service is still the norm.
4. 5G will require more spectrum
There’s an oft-repeated line in the wireless world: With more smartphone users consuming more bandwidth per user, the portion of spectrum dedicated to mobile data is getting crowded—and we need more of it! But Onoe maintains that carriers can find plenty of existing spectrum to support 5G and free up more through re-farming, or the recycling of that which is currently dedicated to other uses.
5. For 5G, everything will need something new
Many researchers and industry professionals are eager to find as many future uses for 5G as possible, and to enhance or expand existing services on the new network. Onoe insists that just because a new generation of wireless is in the works, it does not mean that it can or should serve every possible need under the sun—whether it’s autonomous driving, IoT, or mobile broadband service. “This is the most frustrating to me,” he says.
He admits to feeling a bit of déjà vu, with today’s hype reminding him of conversations about how 4G would suddenly enable new technologies and services. At the end of the day, says Onoe, 5G will eventually deliver on many of the promises that the industry has dreamt up—and possibly even a few others it has yet to consider. But it’s just too early, he says, for the industry to tout it as the path to so many potential futures.