5G – What We Know so Far

With the global usage of mobile data reaching a huge 5.7 exabytes per month (1 EB = 1000000000 GB), it was only a matter of time before the next wave of mobile technology began rolling out, introducing 5G. If existing rumours are to be believed, it’ll be fully rolled out in the year 2020. Possibly the top tech trend to keep an eye on this year?

So, what can we expect from this? Well, from testing in the US they have developed the network to be around 100X faster than the 4G. First tested in California, more recent results of 5G speeds concluded these results:

  • 3G is 384Kbps
  • 4G is 100Mbps
  • 5G is estimated at 10Gbps

To put that in perspective, the anticipated speed will allow you to download a full HD movie in less than 10 seconds.

Nokia is working on a device that will stream 8k video in 3D over a 5G connection! But this isn’t it, we’re looking at a complete transformation of cities with driverless cars which can avoid collisions and anticipate traffic; remove healthcare services; smart bins and intelligent lighting, likely to save councils £2.8 billion a year. This being only the beginning of what we can expect from this new technology.

According to Bristol University, “Technology and culture are inseparable – the Layered Realities weekend explores not only how artists might push the possibilities of 5G, but also explore how this technology might fit into the lives of people in new and transformative ways.”

The first public experience of 5G was hosted on the 17th-18th of March, right on our doorstep! Hosted by Bristol University in collaboration with Watershed and We the Curious – the city at the forefront of this exciting new network is Bristol! Having been awarded a share of £16m to develop the UK network and £5m to trial it, confirming the intention of the UK becoming a world leader in the 5th generation network.

Taking place on Millennium Square- the open event showed the public what 5G will be capable of. With virtual reality theatre performances and dances, 3D streaming experiences and viewing a real-time transmission sent from a connected autonomous vehicle parked at the venue.

However, to personally be able to use this 5G, you will need to buy a 5G capable device. Qualcomm is leading the way by implementing the Snapdragon X50 5G for release in 2019. While there is a lot of activity around 5G, not everything is set in stone yet.

The mobile operators smashed expectations by spending £1.4Bn to secure part of the 5G spectrum. Vodafone beat the likes of EE, O2 and Three to take the biggest share, the spectrum and costs are split as follows:

  • Vodafone – 50 MHz – £378m
  • EE – 40 MHz – £303m
  • O2 – 40 MHz – £318m
  • Three – 20MHz – £151m

This is good news for everyone who uses their mobile phone to access the internet 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

– Philip Marnick, spectrum group director at Ofcom

The tests are ongoing, and phones are in the making. As 2020 gets closer you’ll be hearing a lot more about 5G and how you can benefit from it.