I would have written a clever intro, but BBC America was showing "WarGames" last night, so of course I had to watch that instead.
Today's Login is 1,449 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
While 5G started to arrive this year, you really had to seek out the next-generation experience: First, you had to find a carrier that covered part of your city, and then you had to buy one of the handful of phones that supported the new network technology.
But next year, the script will flip, as 5G support will be baked into a wide range of devices and networks expand to cover more of the country.
Why it matters: Every new generation of cellular technology has an awkward initial phase, but 5G is actually poised to arrive more smoothly than its predecessors.
Driving the news:
"2020 is a pivotal year," AT&T senior VP Kevin Petersen said in an interview, noting the company expects to launch around 15 devices stretching from high-end phones to mid-range devices.
Wild card: Apple is the big question mark. It's generally assumed that it settled a long-running legal fight with Qualcomm earlier this year in part to ensure next year's iPhone lineup can offer 5G, but nothing is certain. Comments from Qualcomm's president, though, seem to suggest Apple is on track to have 5G in 2020
The big picture: The onus will still be on the industry to persuade consumers that they need 5G. The early case will probably focus on faster speeds, especially for video streaming and downloading movies.
Disclosure: Reporting for this and the following item took place at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit in Maui, where I moderated a session on Wednesday. Qualcomm paid for my travel-related expenses.
T-Mobile offered reporters a cake illustrating its post-merger 5G spectrum approach, with Sprint's midband in the yellow layer. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
While all the carriers are in agreement that next year will be the year of 5G, they each have very different ideas of how best to create their networks.
Why it matters: They may all bear the name "5G," but each carrier's network will offer considerably different speeds and availability, due in large part to the different types of airwaves each of the companies has licensed.
Verizon is focused on high-speed millimeter wave spectrum, offering it for both phones and for homes, using fixed wireless service as an alternative to traditional home broadband.
T-Mobile is also launching millimeter wave service in a few cities this year, but is supplementing that with the nationwide 600 MHz network that went live this week.
Sprint and AT&T executives were on hand in Maui as well, though without a 5G network to show off.
Sprint, which launched service in nine cities earlier this year, is using its 2.5 GHz spectrum, which allows it further propagation than millimeter wave, meaning it covers the entire downtown areas and beyond in the cities where it has 5G coverage.
AT&T, meanwhile, is using an approach more similar to T-Mobile, using millimeter wave in a small but growing list of cities and augmenting that with a nationwide 850 MHz network it hopes to have complete by next year.
Meanwhile: The FCC is launching a $9 billion fund aimed at helping ensure 5G reaches rural areas, scrapping an earlier program focused on 4G LTE service. Speaking of LTE, the FCC also noted that it has found several major carriers exaggerated their 4G coverage.
A collection of 31 advocacy groups is pressing the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday to dig into how digital media companies advertise to children and collect their data, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
The big picture: The request for the FTC to use its subpoena authority to probe so-called kidtech companies comes as the agency considers updates to how it implements a children's online privacy law.
Driving the news: The coalition, which includes the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, argues the FTC must examine data collection and digital marketing practices before it changes how it enforces the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
Context: The FTC made changes to its COPPA rule in 2013 to take into account how children were using the internet, and expanded the definition of children's personal information to include cookies that track activity online.
Photo: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images
A bill to crack down on robocalls passed in the House by a 417-3 vote on Wednesday, in a rare display of bipartisanship, as Axios' Ursula Perano reports.
The big picture: The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act would combat robocalls by requiring phone providers to verify the source of calls and allowing users to block those sources for no additional cost. It would also strengthen the Federal Communications Commission's ability to order the Justice Department to organize a working group to ensure robocall violations are prosecuted, Politico notes.
Where it stands: Americans received more than 5 billion robocalls in November, and a record 5.7 billion in October, according to YouMail.
My thought bubble: Who in their right mind is pro-robocall? (The no votes were libertarian-minded members of Congress.)
What to watch: The bill will now head to the Senate, with hopes to deliver the proposal to President Trump by Christmas.
Go deeper: Where all the robocalls are coming from
Who doesn't do a little traveling over the holidays?