The UK 5G Mobile Spectrum Auction in April 2017 meant that the available spectrum which is to be used for the roll-out of high speed 5G mobile services and to extend the 4G capabilities for some mobile networks can now be developed for use and the race to provide high speed 5G mobile network services can begin.
EE already say that they will look to start trials of 5G mobile network services by the end of 2017, with most networks in the UK looking to start offering some form of 5G service in 2018 but what does it really mean and who will be able to take advantage of 5G?
It is likely that most 5G services will be delivered using millimeter wave technology which will be great for providing the higher speeds we are all looking forwards to, but this means that distance and building penetration will be very limited, so there will be hundreds of 5G masts required, which will all communicate with each other as well as the connected devices which means that whilst deployment in built-up city locations will be relatively easy to do, the smaller towns and villages will once again be left behind in the mobile broadband revolution.
5G mobile broadband speeds are estimated to initially offer up to 1 Gigabit speeds, with further enhancements taking this up to 5 or even 10 Gigabit, but don’t forget that these services will be rolled out in large cities where there is already a glut of fibre and radio services already offering low cost, Gigabit internet services to business and there is already good coverage for 4G mobile broadband in these same cities so that you can walk down the street watching your latest Netflix series episode so who will want or need 5G mobile services?
Early development will be around provisioning of M2M / IoT Internet Of Things services and because of the fast response times provided by 5G, especially autonomous vehicle use is high on the agenda, but of course those autonomous vehicles may want to leave the city and they will then have to rely on slower 4G services and possibly even 3G in the more rural areas or ‘notspots’.
But whatever the applications and restrictions of 5G services there will be the inevitable scramble to provide 5G products and services and the leading manufacturers are already testing 5G Mobile Phones and 5G Smartphones and there is even a rush to develop 5G Routers so that when the new 5G SIM Cards are available and the 5G networks have been deployed the marketers will go to work to ensure that we all feel that we need the newest and fastest mobile services that 5G will offer, even though the maximum streaming rate of the average smartphone application is only 5 Mbps and we can only watch a film at 60 minutes per hour we will be hungry for 5G and inevitably the mobile networks will easily recoup the tens and hundreds of millions of pounds spent developing and deploying the new high speed 5G mobile broadband networks.