AT&T and Verizon are fighting against any efforts to better map 5G availability, despite continuously boasting about the breadth of their 5G rollouts. Could this be because actual maps might break down their marketing hype?
“Not yet time”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to require network carriers to submit accurate data about broadband deployment, including locations.
However, AT&T told the FCC in a joint filing this week (opens in new tab) that "there is broad agreement that it is not yet time to require reporting on 5G coverage."
The “broad agreement” is assumed to include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
AT&T's filing this week also complained that "requiring 5G coverage maps in this early stage of 5G deployment could reveal sensitive information about cell site locations and even customer locations, in cases where 5G is being deployed in high-band spectrum, for specific enterprise customers."
(We have approached AT&T to explain exactly how specific customer locations can be revealed by releasing coverage maps.)
Whilst carriers such as AT&T 5G and Verizon 5G claim to have a huge 5G coverage, it appears that reality differs. For example, Verizon’s early 5G launch was criticised as being barely available. T-Mobile created an entire campaign against it, mockingly calling it “VerHIDEzon”.
AT&T has also been criticised for overstating 5G availability. And all of this excess hype makes it more important than ever for consumers to have access to accurate 5G coverage maps.
Whilst the carriers claim the lack of information is for “security” reasons, the sceptics in the industry believe that they are hiding the bitter truth.
Ernesto Falcon, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that other reasons may be blame for the filing, saying, “The real reason is because 5G will be basically nowhere in a year from now. Most estimates I've seen is barely 10 percent of Americans will have access to 5G in three years from now."