St. Thomas — The race to 5G dominance between Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint has taken a new turn. Parent company of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom announced a deal is set to purchase Sprint for $26.5 billion — the deal is relatively small compared the whopping $85 billion merger of AT&T and CNN owned Time Warner.
The Department of Justice has sued in response, citing that an AT&T-Time Warner merger would unite the largest distributors of content and one of the biggest producers of content. The consolidation of content and market share could potentially alter an entire industry, prompting regulators to investigate to prevent antitrust violations.
After the destructive Atlantic Hurricane Season, it became clear to some that Sprint had ceded the market, leaving AT&T & VIYA with access to thousands of new customers in the Territory. Senator Janelle K. Sarauw penned letters to both AT&T & Sprint following the hurricanes to ensure that local customers were adequate credited after most networks failed in the Virgin Islands after the storms made landfall.
5G (the successor to 4G LTE), or the fifth generation of wireless technology is expected to hit the U.S. market later this year. Companies have began announcing new network rollouts earlier this year, with AT&T and Verizon taking the lead.
But it’s not all about the money, it’s about something far more interesting: The network!
Both companies, because of their size and influence, have a greater chance at building out a viable 5G network — prompting the T-Mobile Sprint merger after several years of failed talks. Their combined networks could pose a threat to AT&T and Verizon in competitive markets like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What’s most exciting about 5G is how it seeks to connect more devices. 5G is expected to deliver faster internet to smart beacons, smart home devices (like thermostats, refrigerators and smart lights), self-driving cars, cell phones and can even deliver wireless internet service to your home — removing the need for most modems setup by internet service providers.
State of the Territory reported in April that a new 5G network in the Virgin Islands could benefit consumers and boost prospects for businesses considering to set up shop in the Territory. 5G will bring improved wireless network technology, and is similar to 4G LTE.
The Death of 4G
A worldwide 5G rollout would mean that VIYA’s new 4G LTE network — the one they have been heavily marketing since last October — is already becoming obsolete. Average 4G LTE speeds in the United States sit at 10 mbps, while 5G networks delivered speeds exceeding 1gbps to customers (wirelessly). With 1gbps speeds, you could download all 8 installments of the Harry Potter cinematic universe in under 10 seconds — that’s almost 10 gigabits of data.
Carriers, internet providers and the Virgin Islands government have not announced plans for new 5G network in the Territory. T-Mobile with be the name of the combined company.