Each week, we review the press, highlighting and responding to interesting and relevant articles in the news.

Watching the 3G Sunset

Last week, Verizon announced that it will officially shut down its 3G CDMA network by the end of 2022, a two-year delay from previous ambitions. Verizon has tried to decommission its 3G network since 2014 when it began the transition to 4G. Now that 5G is here (and Verizon has invested billions of dollars towards the new network), the 3G sunset is more pressing than ever. The delay is not from mobile phones, as only 1% of Verizon customers still use 3G. Rather, the hold-up is coming from IoT devices (smart meters, home security systems, etc.) that take more time and money to make the switch. However, keeping 3G around for a bit longer is hurting the company, as Verizon can’t fully ramp up its 5G spectrum. Could delaying the retirement of 3G hurt Verizon in the long term, as telecom competitors like T-Mobile fully embrace 5G?

Source: Counterpoint Research.

Your LG phone just became an antique

LG announced this week that they were leaving the smartphone business. Despite its 10% market share in North America as the No. 3 brand, LG’s smartphone arm operated at a loss for years ($4.5B over 6 years). Letting go of mobile frees up LG’s time to work growth areas in the Internet of Things and a frenzy of buzzwords (autonomous EV, AI, connected devices). Instead of holding onto a loss-making past, LG has elected to chart the future with its core tech skills and expertise developed over two decades. In this vein, LG representatives hinted at working on 6G already. LG’s self-aware strategic decision to end its mobile arm recognises the increasingly competitive mobile market, pivoting away from the market it helped to build.

Source: Hydro Tasmania.

Move Over Natural Gas

A new analysis from BloombergNEF predicts that green hydrogen will be cheaper than natural gas by 2050, with the cost decreasing by 85% from today. Green hydrogen uses electrolysis to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, with the potential to take the place of fossil fuels, from manufacturing to transportation. It is key to distinguish “green hydrogen” from “blue hydrogen,” which extracts hydrogen from fossil fuels with a carbon capture system included. In contrast, there’s also “grey hydrogen” which is the same as “blue hydrogen” but without the carbon capture. We may see green hydrogen in action soon, as Fortescue Metals in Australia plans to bring the first green hydrogen to market in 2023. However, green hydrogen is still in its infancy, so a lot can change between now and 2050. Furthermore, energy researcher Rystad claimed that for green hydrogen to win, it “needs batteries to fail.”