Your in-depth guide to 5G

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Your in-depth guide to 5G

The eagle-eyed among us would have noticed the flurry of news coverage that has continually surrounded 5G, from conspiracy theories, trade tensions and the promises of what it will bring, there’s no denying that 5G is a hot topic. You’re not alone if you don’t have a complete understanding of why everyone is such abuzz about 5G. So, let’s deep dive into all things 5G:

What is 5G?

In a nutshell, 5G is the new global wireless standard in mobile internet connectivity, which promises download speeds potentially nearing 1,000Mbps (for reference, the fastest current 4G mobile networks offer on average around 35Mbps). The improvements in speed and latency would, in theory, allow users to consume data faster than ever before. For example, high definition movies would take less than 2 minutes to download.

The chipmaker, Qualcomm, expects real-world network speeds to be between 10 and 20 times faster than current 4G networks. Moreover, the different use of the radio spectrum would allow more devices to access the internet at the same time (which would have come in handy when network capacities became crippled at the start of the coronavirus pandemic).

What makes 5G different from previous networks?

5G is the next generation of mobile networks that will form the foundation of cross-device communication. Designed with speed, reliability and capacity in mind, 5G will connect hundreds of smart machines, devices and systems.

Whereas earlier generations introduced voice (1G and 2G), mobile data (3G) and broadband speed (4G), the new generation of network focuses on building a foundation for large scale connectivity and is set to pave the way for an era of revolutionary new devices and systems.

How does it work?

Designed on a more capable air interface, with extended capacity and new deployment models – 5G will bring together the latest network technologies to deliver higher speed, increased reliability and minimal latency. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the new network will rely heavily on investment from carriers to install new towers, masts and transmitters to successfully deliver on 5G’s promises.

Why do we need it?

With each passing day, the world becomes more mobile and users consuming masses of data – current networks are struggling to keep up with demand. 5G will become crucial for communities, systems and infrastructure in their ability to communicate with each other.

With thousands set to access the network, 5G will allow autonomous vehicles to read real-time traffic data, virtual reality to connect us in new ways and wearables to monitor real-time health emergencies without slowing.

Will my device support it?

You’ll likely need to upgrade to newer devices to see the benefits of 5G – unless you’ve upgraded to a device that unveiled within the last 18 months.

While 5G support varies between devices and manufacturers, many smartphones powered by the Snapdragon X55 or X60 Modem-RF Systems allow phones to be 5G compatible. Your best bet is to check 5G compatibility against your specific device.

How will 5G rollout and which parts of the UK already have 5G?

First and foremost, 5G won’t address areas of concern regarding lack of signal, especially in rural areas. Initially, 5G will see a noticeable improvement in urban environments, especially in densely populated areas due to its increased capacity.

Service providers are hard at work to build 4G and 5G capacity across the country, meaning that for some in regional and remote areas, connectivity may take some time to become completely reliable.

Rollout and adoption rates of 5G are much higher across the globe, compared to 4G. Especially so in the UK, with nearly all major providers having 5G offerings available. At the time of writing, EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 each deliver 5G to, on average, 50 cities and towns around the UK.

We recommend using the provider coverage checker tools to determine which provider is best for you.

EE Coverage Checker Vodafone Coverage Checker O2 Coverage Checker Three Coverage Checker
5G and the economy

Tipped to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the modern age, 5G will usher in an era of revolutionary new technology, jobs and growth in the economy.

The chipmaker, Qualcomm, published a study into the economic impacts of 5G across the globe – expected to be fully realised by 2035. The study highlighted the following figures:

    • $13.2 trillion of global economic output
    • 22.3 million new jobs supported by the 5G value chain
    • $2.1 trillion in Gross Domestic Product growth.

While still largely speculative at this stage, the sheer amount of new and emerging applications of 5G mean the true value of 5G will only be realised in the coming years.

5G and your business

The promises of connectivity, speed and reliability that come of 5G are set to change how businesses use IT. 5G will enhance business efficiency, increase precision and radicalise supply chains.

Independent reporting website, lists the benefits businesses can expect from 5G, among those some of our favourites are:

    • Productivity: speeds and reliability means business can work more quickly and efficiently
    • Remote working: in the age of COVID-19 and working from home, 5G would be set to drastically improve the reliability of remote workers.
    • Augmented Reality: With more capacity, 5G is set to better support augmented and virtual reality applications
    • Flexible Office Spaces
    • Easier Commutes: by the way of smart and automated transport supported by a faster and more stable mobile network. Meaning minimised time spent commuting and more efficient transportation.