We all knew that Europe was lagging behind in the ‘fictional’ 5G race. Now the European Union has decided that the success of 5G is crucial to the economic recovery, whenever that may be, and they are mistakenly throwing money at the problem.
The truth is that the success of 5G is not about money. It is about imagination and building exciting and useful applications and solutions on what is an extraordinary platform.
Europe will never catch up if the imagination behind the marketing of 5G can only come up with, for example, an advert whose tuneful strapline is ‘I just called to say hello’.
No joke. The most powerful, flexible, game-changing technology that arrived at exactly the right time to become a life-changing technology is being promoted as something to make a phone call with.
If this is the best that some of the world’s leading technology companies can do, then the success of 5G (with all its hype and hoopla) is very much in doubt.
As an industry observer noted a couple of years ago, at a Great Telco Debate, ‘the telecoms industry is very good and effective at transforming other industries. Why on Earth can it not transform itself?’
Good question and still very true two years after the gentleman stood up and said it.
What is also true is that, while there are a few examples of industries and companies transforming working processes and entire factories with private 5G networks, there are as many examples of outright failure.
Telecoms executives claim to be very excited by 5G, citing going into work with a transformed attitude to the world and saying things like ‘no-one can make 5G work by themselves’ and then they have to watch their marketing department come up with something that was old 50 years’ ago.
Even beyond the ineptitude that is Europe, other regions are suffering from a lack of ideas when it comes to the success of 5G. As Teresa Cottam said late last year, even in the role model 5G country – South Korea – over half a million people have downgraded from 5G to 4G.
While the success of 5G hangs in the balance and institutions such as the European Union try to make it work by throwing money at the problem, we should remember one simple truth about investments. No-one invests in a technology for technology’s sake. You would be sacked from your investment firm for believing that for one second.
You invest in people who can make companies work, make technologies that provide solutions and create new and compelling ideas.
The success of 5G no longer depends on money alone. It depends completely on people and their imagination.
If someone could just let certain people know, we would be very grateful. Oh, and can you sack the marketing department on your way home.