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商业 - 科技

5G的首批用户是幸运还是不幸?

Aaron Pressman 2018年12月23日

虽然部分国家将于2019年开通5G业务,但最早的5G服务和设备或许看起来没那么有吸引力。

如果你生活在美国的东北部或中西部,渴望拥有更快的无线网络,也许再稍微等等就能实现了。美国电话电报公司(AT&T)、威瑞森(Verizon)、德国电信公司(T-mobile)已经开始推出超高速的第五代无线网络服务,又称5G网,首批覆盖区域显然更偏向西部和南部。

威瑞森于今年10月开始在四个地区推出家用5G服务,包括萨克拉门托、休斯顿、洛杉矶和印第安纳波利斯。周二,AT&T宣布要推出更加雄心勃勃的移动5G业务,可通过售价为500美元的美国网件公司(Netgear)便携式Wi-Fi热点设备使用。该服务首批覆盖12个城市,包括亚特兰大、达拉斯、新奥尔良和杰克逊维尔。2019年上半年,AT&T的第二期业务将涵盖洛杉矶、拉斯维加斯、旧金山等西部大城市。

总体而言,其中唯一的一个中西部城市是印第安纳波利斯,但纽约、波士顿、华盛顿特区、芝加哥、圣路易斯、底特律、费城都不在名单中。

T-Mobile则或许会成为被忽略地区的救星。这家排名第三的运营商表示,首批5G网络覆盖范围将包括全美国前十大城市中的六个,但到目前为止仅公布了洛杉矶和纽约。所以大概意思就是这样了。

难道和寒冷天气中的5G信号强度有关?让我们先把阴谋论放一边。但有些地区覆盖较晚可能和业务有关,也可能因为基础设施。南部和西部的增长速度快于美国国内的其他地区(尽管亚马逊和谷歌最近要在其它地区建新总部)。此外,当地的土地便宜充足,或许更易建立起5G所需的网络,成本也更低。

另一方面,被忽略地区的顾客可能是幸运的。最早的5G服务和设备看起来没那么有吸引力。至少威瑞森和AT&T初期业务使用的是高频毫米波无线电波,比如28千兆赫的波段。这些频段的信号可以传输大量数据,但传播距离短,无法穿透树木等障碍物,也就是说信号会不太稳定。分析师对早期5G手机的重量和电池寿命表示担忧。并且有传言称,5G版iPhone最快也要等到2020年。所以我想对同住在东北地区的同胞们说:我们可以先等其他人把问题解决。等5G已经准备好为我们服务时,我们再准备迎接5G。

更新:我漏掉了Sprint最近宣布的消息,它们将于2019年上半年推出使用“移动智能中心”的5G服务,服务范围包括芝加哥、纽约、华盛顿特区等9个城市。然而这家第四大运营商还没有公布价格。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

If you live in the northeast or the midwest and crave faster wireless Internet, you may be in for a bit of a wait. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have started to roll out their super-fast fifth generation, or 5G, wireless services and the initial regions have a decidedly western and southern flavor.

Verizon’s first four markets for its home 5G service, which opened in October, are Sacramento, Houston, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. On Tuesday, AT&T announced its even more ambitious mobile 5G service, usable via a $500 Netgear portable Wi-Fi hotspot. The first 12 cities getting service include Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, and Jacksonville. A second wave from AT&T coming in the first half of 2019 covers some big western cities including L.A., Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

In all, there’s a single midwestern city of Indianapolis—but nothing for New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia, and so on.

Maybe T-Mobile will be a savior for the neglected regions. The number three carrier says its 5G network will start in six of the 10 largest cities, but has named only Los Angeles and New York, so far. So there’s that.

Does it have to do with 5G signals in cold weather? Let’s not start that conspiracy theory. But the regional hold up may be business related or perhaps due to infrastructure. The south and west have been growing faster than other parts of the country (Amazon and Google’s recent headquarters decisions not withstanding). Also land is cheaper and more plentiful there, perhaps making it easier and less costly to build out the networks needed to offer 5G.

On the other hand, customers in the neglected regions may be lucky. The earliest 5G services and devices look a little less than compelling. At least for Verizon and AT&T, the first services rely on high frequency, so-called millimeter wave airwaves, like 28 GHz. Signals in those bands carry lots of data but don’t travel far or penetrate obstacles like trees, meaning coverage will be spotty for a while. Analysts are also raising concerns about the weight and battery life of early 5G phones. And rumor has it there won’t be a 5G iPhone until at least 2020. So to my fellow northeasterners I say: Let’s let everyone else work out the kinks. We’ll be ready for 5G when 5G is ready for us.

Update: I missed Sprint’s recent announcement of a 5G service using a “mobile smart hub” coming in the first half of 2019 to nine cities, including Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. No pricing yet from the fourth-largest carrier.

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