Are you ready for a 5G world? While many businesses have yet to experience 4G, governments, industry associations, mobile operators and equipment vendors across the globe are already working hard to prepare the foundations for 5G.
How? It will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred, as well as improving response times. It will also have enough capacity for the 26 billion devices that will be connected in the internet of things (IoT) by 2020, therefore, paving the way for a new and innovative technologies and services.
Speed: Expect 5G to be much faster than previous generations. For example, you will be able to download a full HD movie under 10 seconds. With 4G, that could take a number of minutes and that’s if you have access to peak download speeds, which is often not the case.
Capacity: 5G will deliver the bandwidth needed to enable the billions of devices connected to the internet, to communicate with each other.
Energy: It sounds appealing, but 5G needs to be cost effective for users and operators, hence there is a requirement to achieve significant reductions in energy usage. If not, what’s the point? There is also a need for a longer battery life - not just for phones, but any device connected to the network.
While numerous vendors and other parties have demonstrated some impressive data transfer speeds, under controlled lab conditions, or in limited field trials, commercial deployment is still a way off. However, the achievements made so far, should not be underestimated.
2016 saw numerous partnerships and technology trials. EE itself began its UK 5G trials in 2016. We will no doubt see more progress as 2017 gets underway.
Huawei is planning to launch the first pilot 5G network with its partners, in 2018. Interoperability testing is to be completed in 2019 ahead of a commercial launch in 2020.
Ericsson is planning to demonstrate 5G at the Winter Olympics in South Korea (as is Samsung), and at the World Cup in Russia, both in 2018.
In partnership with Ericsson, TeliaSonera hopes to be one of the first operators to offer 5G in 2018, initially in Stockholm and Tallinn.
At its meeting in 2019, the WRC will identify further spectrum to be used for 5G, in the higher frequency bands above 24GHz.
The future of the technology industry is an exciting one. 2020 is being widely talked about as the year when 5G will be commercially available. While that target is achievable, there probably won’t be a mass rollout. Like 4G and other generations before it, 5G will no doubt be introduced in stages, so it complements existing technologies.
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