Sprint Thinks its 5G Smart Hub Can Replace In-Home Internet Connections
Just as we’re talking about pumping the brakes on the 5G excitement, here comes Sprint with the bold claim that their forthcoming 5G Smart Hub device will be powerful enough for customers to use as their primary in-home internet connection. That’s at least according to Sprint VP of Product Engineering and Development Ryan Sullivan in an interview with PCMag late last week.
"You'll start to see us dip our toe into the water in home internet access with the products that we announce in 2019," Sullivan said. The hub will be good enough to serve "small households, apartment dwellers, even small businesses" for primary internet access, he told the publication.
While an interesting thought, Sprint’s ability to excel in the in-home internet market really depends on the outcome of the planned merger with T-Mobile—something that’s still up in the air. Sprint, at the moment, has plans to launch its 5G network in nine cities in early 2019—again showing that this will be a slow and methodical launch of the next-gen network. The combined New T-Mobile (as it would be called) would help with those numbers, and perhaps put the new company in a position to compete with the Comcasts and Charters of the world for in-home broadband access.
But there are two subplot items at play here that really make Sullivan’s quote something of interest. First is the presumptive cost of 5G data. Earlier this year, Verizon began rolling out their early 5G in-home service for as low as $50 a month. That’s the only real pricing barometer we have right now. It’s assumed by some that the cost for 5G connections will be lower than their current 4G LTE cousin. But is it possible that they’ll be low enough to justify replacing current in-home internet connections with a 5G hub like Sullivan suggests? That’s something to keep an eye on for sure because, if true, that could open the door for major disruption in the in-home broadband market.
But it’s not just a disruption on a pricing scale. Rather, this would mean that consumers now have the option of cutting not only their cable cords, but their internet cords as well. The Smart Hub from Sprint taps into the wireless 5G network signals that float in the ethers. So, the only cord that you may have to use is the one that plugs into the wall to power the device.
So, while I’m still hesitant to get all excited about the immediacy of 5G’s impact, it’s still so very apparent that once the technology gets a solid footing, it will lead to all kinds of disruption.
What We’re Reading
- Those Walmart Overpoered-branded gaming laptops are, expectedly, coming up short. (The Verge)
- Over 80 percent of smart TVs are connected to the internet, showing 32 percent growth in last five years. (Parks Associates)
- Because of tariff concerns, GoPro said it will move camera production out of China. (CNBC)