5G is the latest networking technology for connected devices, promising speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, and 10 times faster than home broadband.
It’s not all about speed, though: a more ubiquitous and responsive (between 1ms and 10ms, compared to 4G’s 40-60ms) network are also planned, enabling connected devices like autonomous vehicles, drones and even artificial limbs.
That network will be enabled by new infrastructure, which will need to be installed across the country over the next few years. This technology will operate at a higher frequency than existing networks, enabling the speed and bandwidth of 5G but limiting its range – requiring many more base stations to cover the same area as a single 3G or 4G mast.
5G phones won’t be launched until next year, and the infrastructure isn’t expected to be in place before 2020 at the earliest, although there are plenty of trials taking place, as well as a spectrum bidding war.
Check back here frequently for all the latest 5G news.
7/11/18 – The GSMA has warned that governments, regulators and the mobile industry will all need to work together to ensure the success of 5G, by delivering widespread coverage. There is massive by-country variation in the speed and reach of upcoming services, and adoption will be dependent on operators gaining access to more spectrum. The GSMA, which expects 1.3 billion 5G connections by 2025, recommends wider frequency bands for 5G (80-100MHz per operator in the crowded mid-bands like 3.5GHz and 1GHz per operator in the more open mmW bands (above 24GHz).
7/11/18 – UK operator Three is investing ‘more than £2 billion’ into its 5G rollout. As part of its ongoing network upgrade, Three has already agreed to work with O2, SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Huawei in various 5G schemes.5G is the latest networking technology for connected devices, promising speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, and 10 times faster than home broadband.
7/11/18 – EE has switched on nine 5G trial sites in East London. To-date the trial has encompassed many elements of building a new network from scratch, including obtaining planning permission and access agreements to managing power outputs. The trial will go on to assess the customer experience of new 5G spectrum.
5/11/18 – Juniper Research predicts that annual operator billed revenues from 5G connections will near $300 billion by 2025, up from $894 million in 2019 (expected tp be the technology’s first year of commercial service): an average annual growth of 163 per cent in the first 6 years. Total 5G data traffic will reach 955 exabytes by 2025: equivalent to 143 billion hours of 4k video streaming. Juniper has said it is important for operators to invest in technologies that minimise the cost-per-bit of 5G data.
2/11/18 – A survey in the USA has found that people are unwilling to pay more for 5G services – and even those that are want to know more about the technology before making the switch. PwC found that 92 and 87 per cent of mobile and home internet users, respectively, are ‘pretty’ satisfied with their existing services; and 36/51 per cent feel that they already pay too much.
Fewer than half (46 per cent) of respondents were familiar with the term 5G, but 98 per cent said that they found it ‘more appealing’ after learning more about it. About a third said that they would pay more for 5G internet services; on average, these respondents said that they would be willing to pay an extra $5.06 (£3.90) for 5G home internet and $4.40 (£3.40) for 5G mobile internet per month.
25/10/18 – Video will be the biggest consumer of 5G usage, a council of the world’s largest mobile operators have agreed. Up to 90 per cent of traffic on these future networks could be video, companies including EE, KPN, MTS, Orange, Telefonica, Telus and Vodafone said at Openwave Mobility’s Mobile Video Industry Council (a first-year event)
18/10/18 – Samsung is acquiring Spanish network analytics firm Zhilabs to enhance its 5G capabilities. Zhilabs’ work is based on artificial intelligence, which analyses traffic, classifies applications used and takes steps to improve service quality. The company will continue to operate independently, says Samsung.
11/10/18 – A report into the future media landscape predicts that 5G experiences will generate almost $1.3 trillion for media companies by 2028 – almost half of the cumulative $3 trillion wireless revenue to be generated over the next decade. The report, by Intel and Ovum, names 2025 as the ‘tipping point’ at which 5G and 5G devices will generate more than half of wireless media revenues.
9/10/18 – The City of London corporation and London boroughs are using money from the business rates retention scheme to fund investment in the city’s digital infrastructure, awarding nearly £47 million to local councils. The plans include the installation of fibrebroadband connections in strategic locations; developing an Open Data Standard for planning applications; and establishing a multi-purpose IoT platform.
5/10/18 – Following its earlier announcement this June, EE has launched a live 5G trial in London’s Canary Wharf: specifically in the high-traffic Montgomery Square. EE is using the 3.4GHz spectrum and hardware from China’s Huawei in the test, and plans to extend the work to 10 more sites in the capital this year.
3/10/18 – IBC, the group behind the annual International Broadcasting Convention, has released a whitepaper exploring future uses and challenges facing 5G. The main topic is the potential for indoor- and outdoor-only networks using sub-6GHz and mmWave technologies. The paper also displays charts showing how impediments like modern windows and foliage effect 5G signals.
1/10/18 – Verizon has turned on what it claims to be the world’s first commercial 5G network, known as Verizon 5G Home, in the USA. Built on the open 5G TF network standard, the network is live in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Of course, 5G devices are still very few and far between, which throws the necessity of the network into question. Future-proofing or marketing stunt? Let us know in the comments.
28/9/18 – Rival operators Three and O2 are working together, with SSE Enterprise Telecoms, to use fibre to connect sites in London. Much of the cabling, which will be used to provide a fast backhaul to the operators’ core networks, will be laid through sewers across the capital to save the expense and time of digging new routes.
26/9/18 – Ontix Limited has announced plans to deploy small cell nodes on street furniture (like lamp posts) around Westminster, in preparation for 5G. The new networking technology relies on these small cells due to its higher frequencies, which have higher speed but lower range than 3G or 4G. The first stage of the 10-year deal will be the launch of a trial network in Trafalgar Square this November, as well as a fast, carrier-neutral ‘Metrohaul’ network later on.
20/9/18 – Vodafone has completed a ‘holographic’ call over 5G. The hologram effects required special equipment, but the low latency of 5G made the call possible. A hologram of England and Manchester City Women’s Football captain, Steph Houghton MBE, was projected onto the stage during an event at Vodafone’s Manchester office, where she gave some footballing tips to an 11-year old fan.
17/9/18 – 5G might mean a return to carrier-locked devices, at least in the short term, says AT&T. Gordon Mansfield, VP of radio networks and device design, told PCMag that the first wave of 5G phones will not be transferrable between networks.
That is because 5G, as a launch technology, is still very fragmented, with carriers using a variety of frequencies for their signals. Unless two networks use the same frequencies, or early smartphones support multiple bands (unlikely), then customers won’t be able to leave a carrier and take up with a rival using the same device.
Thankfully, Mansfield doesn’t expect that situation to last long.
12/9/18 – EE is switching its 3G signal in more than 500 mobile towers to 4G, mainly in cities like London, Birmingham and Edinburgh. 5G sites will be built on top of the converted sites, preparing the way for the company’s launch of 5G services next year.
EE says that 3G use is falling ‘rapidly’, with customers now making more calls on 4G than 3G for the first time.
12/9/18 – Orange Poland and Huawei have launched a station in Gliwice that supports 5G technology. The station will be used for 5G tests – the first to be done in Poland outside lab conditions.
4/9/18 – The West Midlands is to host the UK’s first large-scale 5G test-bed, with connectivity hubs planned for Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton as part of the government’s Urban Connected Communities Project. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which will oversee the work along with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said that the trials will support the work of organisations in the health, construction and automotive sectors.