What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of broadband cellular networks succeeding
its predecessor, 4G. On today’s mobile devices we primarily use 4G and 3G but with the soon to be released 5G, the latter will become technology of the past! 5G is set to be the fastest network yet and by a clear mile. Unlike the previous generations of mobile networks, 5G is unlikely to be defined by any single form of technology. It’s being dubbed by the media as “the network of networks” for the way it will bind together multiple existing and future standards, including current advanced LTE (4G) networks.
So, what does this mean to us? Well in the simplest of terms it will increase performance dramatically, adding superfast mobile broadband when you’re on the go. That being said, 5G doesn’t come without its concerns. Carry on reading to learn what exactly 5G is capable of, the negatives and how it will impact the world of technology as we know it.
All wireless communications carry over the air via radio frequencies or spectrum. 5G will use higher radio frequencies that are less cluttered and capable of carrying more information at a faster rate.
Although using higher bands are much quicker, they aren’t as well suited to carrying information over long distances. 5G will employ multiple input and multiple output antennae to boost signals and capacity, additionally it will rely heavily on lots of smaller transmitters stationed on buildings and street furniture rather than singular stand-alone masts. Early estimations suggest that this means 5G will support up to 1,000 more devices per metre than 4G.
The benefits of 5G
The benefits of the new 5G technology have far-reaching implications. Below, we run through the benefits that we feel will be of most interest to our readers, while the following section addresses how 5G will affect our lives. But ultimately one of the core features of 5G is having a fast, stable connection wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on your smartphone.
The main benefit of 5G is speed, pure and simple. 5G is expected to be able to reach speeds in excess of 1Gb/s (1000Mbit/s) quite comfortably in its early stages. Many experts expect that it will be able to hit speeds of 10Gb/s (10000Mbit/s) eventually – that’s around 100 times faster than standard 4G!
Benefits for business
As well as benefiting consumers 5G could also benefit businesses in big ways. Workers will be able to work remotely more easily (a big deal for us) operate machinery from afar and be more “present” without actually being present, through capabilities like 4K, AR, VR and holographic calls. In turn they’ll be able to free up more time and be more productive, as less travel will be needed, and when travel is needed 5G could speed that up too, thanks to smart and automated transport.
As noted above, 5G will enable network slicing too, which in turn will allow companies to essentially have their own private networks, tailored completely to their needs. And more jobs and processes can be automated with 5G, because it will have the speed, capacity and latency required, which will improve operational efficiency.
When is 5G coming to the UK?
The short answer is we don’t exactly know… What we do know however is that 5G will be launched in the UK sometime in 2019 by the four main mobile network operators which are EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. With that said, broad availability of 5G whereby most consumers can access it is still several years away.
The country’s biggest mobile network, EE, has announced that it will launch 5G during the summer in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, London and Manchester. The operator also plans 5G launches in a further 10 cities by the end of 2019. In Vodafone’s case, 5G will initially be coming to Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Guildford, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
For O2, the launch locations include Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.
Three has not yet to confirmed where it will roll out 5G first.
Initially, 5G coverage will be limited to the most highly populated areas in the cities listed above. Since phones capable of running 5G are expected to start selling towards the end of 2019, the whole 5G revolution will really commence in 2020. Even then, we might not see widespread 5G coverage in the UK until 2022 or later.
Will I need a new phone?
Definitely. There are no phones currently available in the UK that support 5G (as of June 2019), but you’ll be able to get one fairly soon.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is already on sale in South Korea and at the time of writing the 5G-enabled LG V50 ThinQ is about to be too. If these brands of phones aren’t for you, never fear! All the biggest phone manufacturers in the world are competing to get their 5G model phone out for release and you know that Apple will smash it out of the park when it comes to launching theirs. Just don’t drop it on any soft or hard ground…
And that is it! You’re up to date with all the latest and greatest in the world of 5G. Very little is known currently but within the coming months I’m sure we’ll see a huge influx of information being released about the all-powerful network. We’re excited, are you?