What Will 5G Offer And Why Does It Matter?

What Will 5G Offer And Why Does It Matter?Shutterstock

Never in the history of the mobile phone has there been so much hype about a new technology ahead of its launch than there is with 5G. It seems that the mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and equipment vendors are locked into a massive global game of one-upmanship, seeking to claim to be the first to achieve something groundbreaking with the technology. But the stakes are high – the mobile industry also desperately needs 5G, whether for new revenue sources, market share or to drive growth.

Since mobile phones first appeared in the mid-1980s, the industry has launched several new “generations” of network and technology. Those early analogue “brick” phones of the 1980s were replaced by the 2G (1990s) GSM, digital and international roaming service. 3G (2000s) offered improved internet connectivity before 4G (2010s) delivered a truly broadband experience into our hands.

5G is now the fifth generation, but despite considerable media attention and focus on its massively enhanced data capability (downloading a HD movie in less than a minute), focusing on its speed alone is to miss the point of its significance.

The next generation

Ultimately, it is simply not sustainable to keep launching a new technology every ten years or so. There are licence fees to pay for new radio frequency spectrum bands, new network infrastructure to build, and an increase in the management costs associated with integrating new technology with existing infrastructure – while keeping all of the other previous generations of network operational. UK operators, for example, continue to support 2G, 3G and 4G while preparing to launch 5G.

So, what’s so special about 5G? Capacity and coverage won’t be immediately there at launch but more of both is expected in due course. For the user, 5G speeds will be a big draw, with quoted figures ranging from 100Mbps to 20Gbps (that’s up to a thousand times faster than 4G).

Naturally, this is being delivered in direct response to our seemingly insatiable appetite for more and more online content and, especially, video. But 5G won’t only revolutionise mobile handsets; it could also be an alternative way of providing broadband internet access to homes via Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) (which employs wireless mobile network technology rather than fixed lines).

Then there is the delay, or latency, which defines the responsiveness of the network. For 4G, this is currently around 40 milliseconds. 5G, however, could reduce the latency to 10 milliseconds for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) applications. This won’t mean much to most people, but it could be critical for the useful development of specialist applications such as virtual reality and connected and self-driving vehicles, where even small delays can make a big difference.

What about the operators?

For the operators, the benefits are numerous. Higher frequencies and new MIMO antenna technology will enable better coverage and more capacity. This will ensure a consistent user experience, even as demand grows in densely populated areas.

Improved coverage is also critical for the functioning of the Internet of Things whereby a massive number of sensors, embedded systems and devices will need to be wirelessly interconnected for data sharing.

Technology supported by 5G will also allow operators to offer different types of service to different groups over the same network but in a better and more managed way. This future-proofs the infrastructure by creating a service orientated network which can evolve rather than having to be continually replaced with a new one, eliminating the need for a 6G and allowing previous network generations to be decommissioned.

Progress towards 5G has been rapid. Originally intended for commercial launch in 2020, 5G is already a year ahead of schedule. The first formal standards were approved in December 2017, handsets are set to emerge in the first quarter of 2019 (with pricing predicted to be around £600), and UK operators have announced commercial launch dates for mid-2019 onwards.

But the pace of roll-out will be driven primarily by demand, and given the huge investments in 4G and earlier generation networks, 5G has to be paid for with real revenue.

Making it pay

This is a huge challenge. The benefits of 5G come with a hefty price tag for the industry. In April 2018, UK mobile operators spent £1.1 billion on licence fees for access to the newly released 3.4GHz radio frequencies and each is pledging several billions of investment to build the new 5G service. And all of this before any revenue starts to flow back into the industry.

So how can the service effectively be monetised? Ultimately, the problem is that 4G is good enough for most mobile customers. And given that most of the benefits of 5G to the operators are either hidden or of little direct benefit to everyday users, what value can be placed on simply having even higher download speeds?

What Will 5G Offer And Why Does It Matter?‘Hello! I’d like an upgrade …’ Shutterstock

The success of 5G is therefore going to be dependent on operators and their wholesale partners developing new markets that look beyond traditional consumers of mobile services. It may start with higher capacity for today’s services such as video, or improved functionality for tailored networks for campuses or business sites.

Ultimately, however, the investors will have to think big – and look to industries behind connected vehicles, the Internet of Things and the other major technologies of the future.The Conversation

About The Author

Nigel Linge, Professor, Computer Networking and Telecommunications, University of Salford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=5G internet;maxresults=3}


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

illustration of a film strip with various scenic pictures on each frame
Designing a New Future for Yourself
by Carl Greer PhD, PsyD
In the physical world, things have a past and a future, a beginning, and an end. For example, I’m…
teacher standing in front of students in an open classroom
Becoming Passionate About Public Education Again
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
We are almost all lucky to have someone in our lives to encourage and motivate us and try to show…
Aurora photo by Valerie Pond, October 10, 2021, Yellowknife, NT, Canada
Horoscope Current Week: October 11 - 17, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Flower growing through a chain-link fence
So Many Questions... So Many Answers?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We go through life with so many questions. Some are simple. What day is it? What will I have for…
rainbow over a field
Give Yourself Time, Be Kind, and Heal in Your Own Way
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Unfortunately many of us have become victims of instant gratification. We want to succeed and we…
woman's head with a crack and with tree growing from the back of her head
Opening to a Whole New Way of Being
by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Sometimes a pandemic—no matter how devastating—is just a pandemic. But sometimes— most times—it is…
Image of an open book floating in the sky with a tree growing out of the open book
Do You Believe in Miracles?
by Barry Vissell
Albert Einstein famously said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing…
a rainbow in the palm of an open hand
Finding Silver Linings and Rainbows
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Be open to discovering the gifts life is offering you -- expect silver linings and rainbows, be on…
Acceptance and Then What?
Acceptance and Then What?
by Marie T. Russell
One of the teachings that is emphasized by many teachers is that of acceptance. Accepting what is.…
Horoscope Current Week: March 11th to 17th, 2019
Horoscope Week: March 11th to 17th, 2019
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Choosing to Love Unconditionally: The World Needs Unconditional Love
Choosing to Love Unconditionally: The World Needs Unconditional Love
by Eileen Caddy MBE and David Earl Platts, PhD.
Unconditional love is loving people freely, fully and openly, with no expectations, demands or…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.