All About 5G: When, Why and How?


The rise in the usage of mobile devices has led to the increasing demand for high-speed data connectivity to view content seamlessly. In fact, Tech Crunch reported last year that mobile internet usage had surpassed desktop usage for the first time. The combined traffic from smartphones and tablets is at 51.2% versus 48.7% for desktop access. 

This isn’t surprising, since the demand for ultrafast 4G connections has seen steady growth in recent years. But this increasing demand for faster mobile data has led to the developments of a much reliable, faster mobile Internet called 5G. This speedier mobile Internet connection can change the world as we know it, by increasing the amount of data transferred, increasing response time and offering enough capacity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

5g is impressive

While 5G is impressive – there’s no denying that. But there are two main hurdles it needs to overcome – spectrum availability and cost. First, radio frequencies for 3G and 4G are overcrowded, requiring 5G to create a new spectrum to offer high frequency bands and data speed. Lastly, the cost will be a big consideration. No one knows at this point how much it will cost. There’s a tendency for network providers to pass on the cost incurred for infrastructure usage, which means 5G might be twice the cost of using 4G. However, there’s a pressing need to reduce end user cost in order of mobile providers to achieve mainstream status.

When?

Because the 5th generation mobile network might require new infrastructure and further development to ensure stability, it could take a while for the service to be launched. 

Many tech companies are already spending millions on testing the technology. It was reported by Fiercewireless early last year that Verizon’s pre-5G test revealed a speed of 10GB. According to the digital company, they are on track to launch the service commercially as early as 2017. Verizon deployed 5G gear in January even though it didn’t adhere to 3GPP standards, but industry experts say this internet speed is a ‘1 Gig Fairy Tale’ as the 4G connectivity is yet to be adopted by developing countries. Experts suggests that even if 5G is successful in the coming years, it may cause internet speeds in rural areas to slow down to give way for the need to provide major cities in the US with premium services.

In the UK, it was EE who first revealed their plans for the 1Gbps connection for a better-connected future, but they are predominantly working on the technology for businesses. 

Why?

Demand for faster internet connections will force businesses to support the 5G infrastructure and the world to adopt this new mobile data option. At the moment, the UK is suffering from slow internet connectivity even though it is a developed nation, with only 46% of citizens being able to access 4G.

Industry expert Dan Lewis said that “long-term investment in high-speed internet is crucial if the UK wants to secure a leading role in the global digital economy and keep its tech sector buoyant.”

Data consumption continues to grow by more than 50% annually, especially with the rise of new innovative platforms to view virtual content, such as wearables technologies. 

Mobile internet supports a multitude of industries, including gaming. Games Industry mentioned that 72% of gamers play online. Different online games rose to fame last year, such as the Pokémon Go that helped raise Nintendo’s market share after a number of poor years. Online game producer Gaming Realms also discussed with Mobileslots4U how mobile internet constitutes to their “skyrocketing success and increased revenue.” Their growing number of games on portal Pocketfruity were built in-house and have grown steadily over the years. The recent addition of commercial titled games is a sign that things are only getting better for the company. The gaming giant foresees mobile gamers growing in the future with the discovery of faster internet, so they are working on increasing their investment to target this fledgling market. With the possible arrival of 5G, consuming games on mobile will be seamless, and will enhance the gaming experience for all 5G users.

How?

For the technology to prosper, the government must take action to administer the testing and launch of the 5G network. Early trials have been set for this year and Ofcom announced that they have freed up the airwaves to give way for the necessary space for faster mobile data. The telecoms regulator has set a timetable for 5G to be launched by 2020, according to the FinancialTimes.

"We want the UK to become a world leader in 5G, which is why we asked NIC to carry out this study," said the spokeswoman for the Treasury. "We will consider their recommendations carefully and respond at Budget 2017."

At present, Britain is still lagging behind, as there are too many digital black spots across the country. Nevertheless, the government is working hard with mobile operators, exploring more options to enhance mobile internet services by reaching remote areas including transport lines.