5G is a fundamental change in wireless connectivity, potentially as transformative as the shift to cloud computing. So will 5G remake the world or will it just make it a little faster?
It promises to deliver data 10 to 20 times faster than current 4G technology. It promises to provide low latency (time to transfer a data packet) and ultra-reliable wireless connectivity. And it promises to do this for a large number of devices, with densities in the range of 1 million connected devices per square kilometer.
Unsurprisingly, consumers, businesses, and governments expect 5G to change the way we all live and work.
As 5G becomes more widely deployed, governments are likely to be forced to make political and operational decisions that can shape this future.
The impact of the 5G wireless network remains to be seen, it has the potential to drive numerous advancements, including digital transformation across industries, providing a platform for end-to-end IoT connectivity, enabling faster connections for consumers and even providing greater profitability.
The 5G network can, for example, allow a subscriber to download an HD movie in 5 to 10 seconds, compared to 10 minutes for 4G. In fact, 5G technology could deliver speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. These speeds can also make data-intensive entertainment like virtual reality viable on mobile networks, rather than relying on a Wi-Fi connection.
5G technology can also help telcos to develop new revenue streams while helping drive the digitization of nearly every industry.
5G networks can accommodate multiple dedicated "lanes" on the same network infrastructure. Instead of having to build multiple dedicated networks for different technical requirements, a WSP can use a common network infrastructure to create multiple virtual networks.
Split-second downloads of industry-shaping video content, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and IoT connections are just a few of the use cases that 5G can enable.
5G is an evolving technology, we could say that it is a set of technologies. In the next year we will possibly see how it consolidates, we will see networks connect and billions of devices will connect through them. Whether this evolution will create revolutionary change is unclear. What is clear is that the big operators and many other companies have high hopes and are making big bets for this to happen.