There is no doubt that 5G is the future. Expect faster and better mobile broadband. 5G represents the next evolution in mobile technology.
With mobile data usage by consumers and businesses up 40% on last year, the need and the want for data and speed are both there and it will be mobile network operators most likely to form the vanguard to quench this thirst. Almost every aspect of modern life is undertaken on the move via handsets of varying sizes, whether engaging with friends over social media on a mobile or undertaking a conference call with colleagues on a tablet.
The scope and potential for 5G usage is huge, as it promises speeds of 10-20gbps. This will offer exciting new capabilities across sectors such as manufacturing, transport and healthcare that can only be realised through innovation and invention. With more data being able to be transferred quicker between devices, 5G will enhance the future capabilities of drone, environmental, retail and logistics technologies.
Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, shares the Government’s vision to have the UK be a world leader in the delivery of 5G. To do this, it will release different types of spectrum bands to allow for trials ahead of rollout, while ensuring the capabilities are there for the existing core telecoms networks, or ‘backhaul’, to cope once the introduction is underway.
The gradual release of spectrum bands being opened up will allow for innovation across business and leisure sectors previously resigned to Sci-Fi novels or Hollywood, including Augmented and Virtual Reality, the growth of the ‘internet of things’ including fitness trackers, smart meters and thermostats, and Vehicle to Vehicle communications to enhance parking and traffic applications.
From our perspective, as suppliers and providers of telecommunications services to over 10,000 customers across Northern Ireland, we know that businesses and private customers alike are looking for faster speeds, greater reliability, more capacity and better responsiveness.
In order to deliver on this effectively, the networks will need to work together and share their existing infrastructure, while developing and improving it, which will ultimately require substantial investment. It is reported that due to the needs of the 5G spectrum bands, there will be a requirement for more ‘small cell deployments’ to maintain coverage, which includes meshing through 5G cells on lampposts and buildings.
This heightened connectivity will likely lead to a growth in wireless home and business broadband, which is already on an exponential curvature, creating a whole new market in broadband delivery.
Consumers will want to transfer from fixed line to wireless networks seamlessly rather than operating as multiple, standalone service providers. This will require a greater level of collaboration between providers.
With the first 5G handset expected in 2019 and the ambitious goal of connecting one million devices across one square kilometre, there is still plenty of planning and work to be done, especially in rural areas where the signal strength is weakest. Regardless of location, we cannot wait to share in this exciting future for telecoms.