• 5G – A Communications Revolution?

    What will 5G bring to the business user that 4G won’t? well, speed mostly.

    The ability to work faster and more efficiently has been strived for by humans for millennia. Some herald the widespread rollout of 5G services as a revolution in connectivity, allowing the faster take up of real-time applications such as driverless cars, IoT and VR/AR.

    What is 5G?

    5G is the fifth generation of wireless networks, expected to be made available to customers from 2020. The service will bring higher capacity than the existing 4G network and is expected to increase the data rates beyond 1Gb per second. It is estimated that the peak data download rate will be up to 20Gb/s and upload at 10Gb/s. Package in low latency and low battery consumption, users will soon see the benefits of embracing this new technology.

    What are the advantages of 5G?

    *Greater speed, enough to download a movie in few seconds

    *Greater capacity (1000 times capacity of 4G), meaning more users can gain fast access in the same location

    *Reduced Latency, stop delays when downloading/uploading

    *Provide high resolution, ideal for hi-res and real-time applications

    *Lower battery consumption, increasing usable life of smartphones

    *Simultaneous connections can work together

    *Provide uninterrupted and consistent connectivity, reduces contention problems due of number of users on the network

    *Allow access to parallel multiple services

    When will it be available?

    Although the first commercial UK and EU deployments of 5G aren’t expected to get started until around 2020, the good news is that the UK Government have expressed their ambition to be a leader in 5G technology.

    Matt Hancock, UK Minister for Digital, said:

    “We want the UK to be a global leader in 5G so that we can take early advantage of the benefits that this new technology offers. The steps we are taking now are all part of our commitment to realising the potential of 5G ,and will help to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.”

    £25m has already been invested towards the Phase 1 UK 5G trials and testbeds that will start from April 2018. The Chancellor committed £160m from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) in the Autumn 2017 Budget and £10m is already being used to setup a facility to test the security of 5G networks and £5m for an initial trial of applications and deployment on roads in 2018.

    How much will it cost?

    When the service finally filters down to the everyday user, its bound to enhance the online experience. The unknowns are costs from the network operators and the availability of service, much like the initial introduction of 4G services. The good news for consumers and businesses is that competition is still fierce in this space, with the operators seeing an opportunity to differentiate their services to hook in new customers.

    We look with interest to see if 2018 lays the foundations for 5G for the following years to come.