“No one knows what 5G is going to be,” says Peter Baker, chief technology officer of Broadband NY. The construction of the fifth generation of cellular connectivity — which combines high-speed data with ultra-high-definition (UHD) video — can lead to uncertainty. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said yesterday that not one company knows what 5G is going to be. Which company will get the best deal and which will be left behind?

A quick primer

5G is the next-generation wireless technology that will quickly replace 4G LTE technology. Consumers might associate 5G with faster downloads. But telecom industry experts say it will be different for each situation.

Cellular providers, because they are masters of economics, have signed up myriad partners — Apple, Samsung, Google, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Broadcom, MediaTek — for every element of 5G in a race to the top. The telecom industry and companies like DirecTV have lobbied hard against legislation that would reduce the “geopolitical interference” that interferes with the 5G networks. Like many industries, telecoms, warns Baker, are using social media as a way to avoid dealing with traditional political influencers.

Is it ready for prime time?

“At the end of the day, carriers, with the support of vendors, their investment decisions and vendor decisions will determine when 5G will be deployed,” says Steve Schoenfeld, president of 7-Eleven. “You cannot just make a statement; you have to prove you are going to take advantage of all the investment opportunities from 5G.”

Broadband experts in New York City have long been predicting 5G for a while.

All told, wireless and cable providers and hardware manufacturers are working to find consensus on the long-term improvements that 5G will bring.

“We have experts who are working through the design and capability of the next-generation wireless networks to offer the best wireless experience possible to the end user,” says Hirofumi Igarashi, vice president of strategy, partnership, and government affairs at Nintendo. “In this time there are lots of things everyone is trying to accomplish, including a variety of factors. We have not set any date for a rollout of 5G to customers yet.”