The media pumps out a positive message for 5G. Why? It’s a killer.
The Evening Standard.
5G has the capacity to transform everything from better business communications to driverless cars.
In the not-so far away future, gone will be the days when you complain about the lack of 4G signal in London or any other place in the UK.
That’s because we will have 5G technology, the next stage in mobile technology, that is set to revolutionise our lives. From powering businesses, improving our homes and spearheading advances such as driverless cars.
This week, Samsung released its first ever 5G phone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, for sale in South Korea, marking the start of 5G smartphones.
But, what is 5G and why does it have the capacity to change so much?
What is 5G technology?
5G technology is the next generation in mobile networks. Like 3G and 4G before it, 5G is expected to be better and more powerful than what we’re used to.
The new technology will use higher frequencies than the likes of 4G, offering more speed and higher bandwidth.
If all goes well, 5G could potentially spell the end of Wi-Fi, particularly in public places, as the network will be strong enough to facilitate all the mobile internet browsing you could possibly want, from watching shows on Netflix to being able to scroll Instagram without interference.
As well, because the network will have a bigger capacity than 4G, it means that thousands of devices in a small area can be connected at the same time.
Ever been in a big crowd, say at a festival, and unable to use WhatsApp? 5G should lead to the end of those offline periods.
When is 5G coming to the UK?
The good news is that 5G will change lives. According to research by RootMetrics, only 53 per cent of UK mobile users are happy with their network speeds, with many saying they would pay more for better connectivity.
Margot James, minister for digital and creative industries, said: “We’re already investing £25 million in new test beds across the UK that will pave the way for our 5G future and our work with industry will be vital to help us achieve these ambitions.
The bad news, however, is that it’s going to take a while before 5G arrives in the UK. The UK rollout isn’t set to begin until 2020, whilst other countries such as South Korea and Japan could launch their next generation networks by the end of this year.
Why is 5G taking so long?
If 2020 is set to be the UK 5G rollout date, it could be even longer until the network receives full coverage across the UK.
It’s taking a while to get the technology developed and tested, though advances have been made in the past few months. Earlier this year, Ofcom held a 5G auction, in which the operators spent a total of £1.35 billion in order to test their services on the UK’s airwaves.
EE, 3, Telefonica (which owns O2) and Vodafone will all be testing out their 5G services.
Discussing the auction, Ofcom’s spectrum group director Philip Marnick, said: “As a nation, we’re using ever more mobile data on smartphones and mobile devices. Releasing these airwaves will make it quicker and easier to get online on the move. It will also allow companies to prepare for 5G mobile, paving the way for a range of smart, connected devices.”
O2, in particular, is testing 5G at the O2 Arena in North Greenwich. It is going to start testing the technology in small areas of the arena before rolling out to full coverage in 2020.
As Vodafone won the largest block of spectrum in the 5G auction, it is holding trials in seven different cities. This week, the company completed a live 5G test at Birmingham New Street Station, creating the UK’s first 5G train station.
USwitch’s mobile expert, Ernest Doku, said that whilst the trials are a good launchpad ahead of the full rollout, the emphasis should not focus solely on city areas.
“This announcement marks a big moment in the rollout of 5G, but looking ahead it’s up to the industry to make sure that it’s not just these urban centres that feel the benefits.
“This technology should be truly universal, not just available in the areas with the highest concentration of customers,” said Doku.
Are there any 5G phones yet?
At this year’s Mobile World Congress, every smartphone maker had some form of 5G phone on display.
Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G a week earlier, though the company was keen to show off the new device. Conor Pierce, corporate VP for Samsung UK and Ireland, told the Standard: “I think when you have common ground and reliable connection to 5G, I think that will allow us to engage in different ways – it’s the beginning of a new era for the way we live our lives.”
Chinese phone company OnePlus had a prototype of its 5G smartphone on show, whilst Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Mix 3 5G, the 5G version of its popular Mi Mix device.
Huawei is also going to be releasing a 5G phone in the form of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, which is expected at some point this year.
TAP – Microwave your own brain. Buy a weapon that will kill you, and those around you. We are putting up wallpaper that absorbs microwaves, bed canopies that reflect microwaves and buying clothing that reflects microwaves. There isn’t much time left before this attack comes in. Our wifi is being removed and replaced with ethernet. Mobile phones can switch off wifi and instead use ethernet.