EE 5G festival claims cause a Ruckus

UK operator EE has claimed yet another 5G first but wireless tech company Ruckus Networks reckons it might have stuck its neck out too far.

Yesterday we reported that EE will be using its sponsorship of the Glastonbury music festival to market its nascent 5G offering by branding it the UK’s first 5G-connected festival. Eric Law, VP EMEA at Ruckus, saw the announcement but doesn’t seem to think all the hype is justified and may even be counter-productive.

“It is well known that mobile phones on the market today cannot make use of the 5G standard yet, which in turn means that attendees of this year’s Glastonbury Festival won’t be able to make direct use of the increased speeds and bandwidth the technology is set to offer,” he said.

“If 5G is to be used for anything at Glastonbury, it will likely be for mission critical applications such as connecting electronic payment devices and carrying live broadcast coverage, much in the same way it was at the 2018 Winter Olympics. This may have a positive impact on the mobile coverage of Glastonbury attendees, in that it will relieve some stress on the 4G network across the festival site, but it won’t deliver on the true promises of a 5G experience.

“With this in mind, proclamations of this sort threaten to undermine the true value and potential of the 5G era which we are soon to realise. By announcing that festival-goers will be able to access the network when it is technologically impossible, companies risk creating distrust in what is set to be a revolutionary technology.”

Over-marketing new technological generations is an issue endemic to the wireless industry. To date the most egregious offender in the current era has been AT&T in the US with its absurd use of ‘5G Evolution’ to describe its LTE-Advanced service. But since few people in the industry even seem to care about the damaging short-termism of all this over-promising, don’t expect it to end anytime soon.

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