5G: What Is It and What Can We Expect?
What is 5G?
5G quite literally stands for the 5th generation of mobile networks; what you use to make phone calls, send text messages and get online.
This next generation network utilises higher frequencies than its predecessors, allowing for quicker data download, increased coverage and more stable connections. As such, 5G is capable of handling significantly more data, allowing more devices to connect simultaneously and at much faster speeds than 4G currently allows.
How fast is 5G?
The standout benefit of 5G is its speed, with many of those conducting early tests claiming it to be as much as 100 times faster.
Best performing 4G networks currently offer peak download speeds of approximately 300Mbit/s. In comparison, 5G could offer speeds in excess of 1Gb/s, with many placing estimates closer to 10Gb/s. This would allow you to download an HD movie in less than 10 seconds, a task that would take roughly 10 minutes using a 4G network.
What real world impacts could 5G have?
- Download HD films and games in seconds and enjoy without buffering
- Apps utilising Virtual and Augmented Reality
- IoT devices connecting with ease
- Drones used for deliveries: BT claim 5G speeds may help with “advanced disaster recovery services using drones, such as delivery of equipment, medicine, food, water and blood”
- Autonomous, self-driving cars that require a guaranteed and unwavering connection
- Possibility of saving UK authorities up to £2.8bn a year through necessities such as street lighting and rubbish collections, according to O2 analysis
- May also reduce household bills by £450 a year
When could we see 5G in practice?
Currently, there is not a single smartphone on the market that is 5G-compatible, however Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC, amongst others, have announced that they have partnered with Qualcomm to release such devices next year.
Consequently, a number of manufacturers (including Vodafone), have begun 5G network trials, all of which are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 50 Modem.
In the UK, 5G is not expected to be unveiled until at least 2020, however China, Japan and South Korea are some of several countries to claim they will launch 5G networks later this year, or early in 2019.