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2018 was the year of 5G hype. The 5G reality is yet to come
When T-Mobile's chief executive went before Senate lawmakers this year to make the case for his company's merger with Sprint, he argued that the deal could help preserve U.S. dominance in high-tech wireless networks for smartphones and other devices. “We’ll make sure America wins the global 5G race,” John Legere vowed. “5G will unlock capabilities that will fuel job creation and innovation well beyond what we have seen so far.” T-Mobile isn't the only carrier touting the amazing new capabilities of 5G, or fifth-generation data networks. The entire industry has spent much of the year marketing a dazzling future — one in which the successor to 4G LTE enables entirely new technologies, such as self-driving cars and remote medicine. But despite the hype, 5G is still a long way from becoming a reality for everyday Americans. As companies such as AT&T and Verizon trade barbs over which one technically arrived first to the technology, analysts say the first 5G-capable smartphones won't even arrive on the market until next year at the earliest. And with carriers largely switching on their 5G networks in select cities at first, it will take years for 5G to become as commonplace as 4G LTE is today.
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