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5G is a huge flop, and it is all because the marketing hype does not meet reality. So, if you are not one of the three people that paid for 5G and can get reception read on.

5G is a huge flop, and it is because in Australia its speeds are no better than 4GX.

And 5G is a huge flop because sub-standard coverage is minimal and patchy in parts of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast.

Oh, and finally 5G is a huge flop because no-one is buying the phones! I would love to have announced a success, but new sales figures prove otherwise.

5G is a huge flop in Australia and here is why?

5G has been hyped to death – claimed 20Gbps download speeds (where is the ACCC when you need it?) turned out to be around 1Gbps and often much less IF you could get reception. I blame Tel$tra for using the vastly inferior sub-6Ghz 5G that is nothing more than its 4G on Viagra – same towers, backhaul, systems – just whack on a different antenna.

5G is a huge flop
1.2Gbps at Telstra HQ – never to be repeated outside the room.

Real 5G, as seen in the USA, is millimetre Wave (mmWave) that does achieve close to claimed speeds. The problem is that Tel$tra et al. would have to build an entirely new network infrastructure and put micro-cell mmWave 5G transmitters on every light pole or home from here to Woop Woop and back (with a stop at Ship Creek!).

Oh, and the Government has not even begun the mmWave auction – that is later in 2021 and Telco’s are not expected to start rolling out minuscule consumer coverage until 2025 or later. MmWave is for enterprise/academic/science/autonomous vehicles and content use where Tel$tra can make the most money!

GadgetGuy’s take – real 5G in 5-10 years!

5G phones have not sold in any quantity

Only Telstra knows sales figures of its LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10+5G or OPPO Reno 5G handsets. But we have some relevant global facts.

In 2019, 5G handset sales globally were less than 20 million out of total handset sales of 1.4 billion. That is 1.4% of sales, and the vast majority were in the US or China where 5G mmWave is more prevalent.

Let’s dig a little deeper. Of that 20 million Huawei sold 6.9 million (mainly China), Samsung sold 6.7 million (globally – rest of the 5G world), and the remaining 6.3 million was OPPO (China and international) and LG (mainly the US where a figure of 1.5 million handsets seems about right). Samsung appears to have 74%, OPPO 20% and LG about 6% of the western 5G market (excluding China).

5G is a huge flop
This was the forecast – it ended up about 1.4 billion sales

So, let’s look at Australia. In 2019 about 8 million phones were sold, and industry ‘gossip’ says that between 80-100,000 5G handsets were sold – yes that is about 1.4%. By the way, the vast majority (about 74%) was a free upgrade from Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ to the 5G version (great marketing ploy).

Why? Well many reasons.

First, the price premium for 5G was more than $500 over 4G models with all three devices costing over $1800 (less any incentives). Many of those same devices are now around $1000.

Second, the percentage of people willing to spend over $1000 substantially declined. Whoops, there goes the 5G market.

Third, Apple did not go 5G and it accounts for nearly 50% of Australian smartphone sales (and its volume sales are in its older, cheaper superseded models).

And fourth, 5G coverage was ‘craptus’. Unless you had a specific use case and reception, then why pay more – leave 5G to the next or the one after that, phone replacement.

Read our Smartphones 2019 – the great 5G hoax for more information.

5G coverage – a joke!

Telstra coverage maps here. In Sydney CBD coverage (when you can get it) is appalling and frequently drops back to 4G. If you are in a building – ditto. If you hold your tongue the wrong way – ditto.

Now readers will know that I live on the idyllic NSW Central Coast an hour or so from the Sydney rat race. I was so excited to see that Gosford CBD and nearby Erina Fair had Tel$tra 5G that I had to race over and try.

Armed with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S10+5G (that has only managed to get a 5G signal twice in its life – and very briefly) and signal strength software, I tested the waters. Sorry – nowhere in the Gosford CBD/Central Coast Stadium, or Erina Fair could I get a 5G signal. Even 4G, especially inside Erina Fair where it frequently dropped back to 3G. We should hang the person that published Tel$tra coverage maps.

GadgetGuy’s take – 5G is a huge flop – even in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023…

No one questions that one-day 5G will be as ubiquitous as 4G is today. The problem is that by then the world will have moved to 7 or 8G and Tel$tra et all will still be crowing about 5G!

No one questions that the commercial uses of mmWave 5G will enable telemedicine, autonomous vehicles and special uses, but that is a long time off. Strange how 4G had the same claims too.

And instead of revving up the seriously declining smartphone market, it tanked because people adopted a sensible wait and see position.

In 2020 we will see a plethora of inferior sub 6Ghz 5G capable phones at under $699 – Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G is already at JB Hi-Fi and everyone – Samsung, OPPO, realme, vivo, Motorola, TCL, will have lower cost 5G phones. All flagships will automatically be 5G, and Apple may deign to give us a 5G model later in 2020 (now its Qualcomm fight has ended).

Goldman Sachs predicts that 2020 sales will rise to 100 million 5G handsets – big deal!

But that does not excuse the poor performance and coverage of Tel$stra, Craptus and Vodafail sub 6Ghz 5G networks.

If you want to read more about 5G then our GadgetGuy 5G guide – 30% have not even heard of it is mandatory reading.